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Has the Privatization of National Security Gone Too Far?

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Uploaded on Nov 14, 2008

While the U.S. military has long relied on private contractors, the outsourcing of key national security functions has increased dramatically in recent years. From intelligence gathering and logistical support to personal security services, training, and operational support tasks, the efforts of contractors are now integral to the success of America's security and stabilization missions around the world. Since the beginning of the Iraq War, one dollar out of every five has been spent on private contractors and by most estimates, there are more private contractors in Iraq than uniformed military.

Yet, this increased dependence has not been matched by a commensurate effort in the Pentagon or Congress to regulate this growing virtual army of contractors. Indeed, there has been a virtual abdication of responsibilities when it comes to the management and oversight of military contracting. With a new Administration preparing to take the reins of power there is a unique opportunity to put in place a new strategy for determining the role these private actors will play in helping fight Americas wars.

The Privatization of Foreign Policy Initiative in New America Foundation's American Strategy Program has produced a report, "Changing the Culture of Pentagon Contracting" that offers policymakers in Congress, the Executive branch and uniformed military concrete recommendations for dealing with the growing challenge of integrating contractors more effectively into U.S. national security operations. Join us on November 14th for the release of this report and a discussion about the role and responsibilities of private military contractors going forward.

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