Contractors and the US Military Empire

By now most people understand that private military and security contractors play vital logistics and security roles in U.S. wars and other so-called “contingency operations.” But the U.S. military is not merely the most powerful lean, mean, fighting machine in the world. It is also the only global military empire, and I’m speaking in the dispassionate clinical, not a normative, sense.

And it is here where PMSC make their biggest, if not most widely appreciated, contribution. Even as the Department of Defense has downsized in the post-Cold War collapse era it has also been reconfiguring itself and that includes its nearly 1,000 overseas military bases.

To do so the Pentagon has adopted private sector procedures in order to more effectively produce its core product, i.e., “security.”

This is the subject of an article in the winter 2012 issue of the Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies. The author, 2012 J.D. candidate Matt Weyand writes in Department of Defense, Inc.: The DoD’s Use of Corporate Strategies to Manage U.S. Overseas Military Bases writes:

To economically and efficiently “manufacture” the “product” known as security, the DoD has increasingly operated like a transnational corporation: it has adopted the corporate strategies of rightsizing,10 outsourcing, and offshoring. By rightsizing, outsourcing, and offshoring, the DoD has accrued many of the same benefits as a transnational corporation: it has been able to operate more efficiently, more effectively, and more economically. But the DoD is not a transnational corporation, and operating as such risks the breakdown of cooperation, alliances, and diplomacy between the United States and nations hosting U.S. bases.

Essentially both the Pentagon and PMSC are in the same market, in Weyand’s view. They are both manufacturing “security.” For the Pentagon to better compete it must increasingly operate like a transnational corporation. To do so it has adopted the corporate strategies of rightsizing, outsourcing, and offshoring.

Where do contractors come in? They are crucial to the outsourcing part of the strategy. Outsourcing has become an integral part of modern DoD operations.

After the 9/11 attacks, the DoD turned to PMSC in a very big way. Between 2000 and 2005, the DoD’s contracting budget grew by 102.3 percent.

Read More: Huffington Post

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