Private Sector, Public Wars

By Bartels, Elizabeth | Stability Operations, September/October 2008 | Go to article overview

Private Sector, Public Wars

Bartels, Elizabeth, Stability Operations

An Interview with Dr. James Jay Carafano

JAMES Jay Carafano is a leading expert in defense and homeland security at The Heritage Foundation. Recognising that the war against terrorism will be a protracted conflict, Carafano 's research focuses on developing the national security that the nation needs to secure the longterm interests of the United States -protecting its citizens, providing for economic growth, and pnserving civil liberties. ?? accomplished historian and teacher, Carafano was an Assistant Professor at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., and served as Director of Military Studies at the Army's Center of Military History. He also taught at Mount Saint Mary College in New York and served as a Fleet Professor at the U.S. Naval War College. He is a Visiting Professor at the National Defense University and Georgetown University. Carafano is the author of several military books, history books and studies. His latest is Private Sector/ Public Wars: Contracting in Combat-Iraq, Afghanistan and Future Conflicts, a rigorous study of the role of contractors on the battlefield and their impact on military effectiveness and civil society.

JIPO: What drew you to contracting as a research subject, given your focus on defense and military history?

Carafano: Hentage is a nonprofit, nonpartisan foundation that has worked on national security issues since it was created 30 years ago. After the outbreak of the Iraq War, one of the issues that there was a lot of concern and discussion on was the role of contractors. We spent a good amount of time investigating and decided that defense contracting was not this massive problem that people popularly perceive, or has been portrayed in the press.

But, as a military historian, I found the issue quite fascinating because what I saw happening had much larger imports beyond Iraq. I think this is reflective of a much, much larger trend, which is a fundamentally different way of conducting warfare. If you look with a truly long term view, particularly in the Western way of war, I think you can argue that since the fall of the Roman empire there have been only three different ways we fight wars, marked by shifts in the sharing of responsibility between the public sphere and the private sphere.

From the fall of the Roman Empire to the 17th century, warfare was essentially a private activity. Governments were very weak. They had very little power to tax people and they had very little authority or control compared to modern nation states. If somebody wanted to go to war they had to get money and hire people, and most of them came from the private sector. Over the course of hundreds of years, coinciding with the rise of the modern nation state there is a shift in the balance, making the public sector in war very large. Not that the private sector disappeared, but the public sector had much more respon- sibility in terms of fielding military capacities, directing those capabilities, raising money to pay for them, and driving the research and development. That trend really culminated in the middle of the 20th century in the Cold War, where the public sector was huge and the private sector was a much smaller. But beginning in the 1970s as the world started to globalize, the great increases in global wealth have really been in the private sector, and that's resulted in an explosion of capabilities. The private sector can do things now that 50 years ago only a government could do. So now the private sector role in warfare has gotten much, much larger, and the ability of the public sector to drive that has gotten smaller.

I think that this is a world-historic shift in how warfare is going to be fought in the 21st century. I think Iraq and Afghanistan are wakeup calls for people to recognize what has really been happening for decades. This is not some kind of anomaly, but just a reflection of a growing trend that we've all been ignoring.

JIPO: In your book you state ? …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Private Sector, Public Wars


Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

    New feature

    It is estimated that 1 in 10 people have dyslexia, and in an effort to make Questia easier to use for those people, we have added a new choice of font to the Reader. That font is called OpenDyslexic, and has been designed to help with some of the symptoms of dyslexia. For more information on this font, please visit

    To use OpenDyslexic, choose it from the Typeface list in Font settings.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search


    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.