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The Demographics of America’s Private Military Contractors

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Iraqi soldiers train by foreign contractors in the Besmaya military base in southern Baghdad.

The debate on privatizing the war in Afghanistan is heating up yet again, with Democratic lawmakers pledging to end so-called “forever wars.” The public is slowly recognizing the war’s hidden costs and global scale.

In 2016, one in four United States armed personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan was a private contractor. This means that the war is already being outsourced, yet scholars, the media, and the general public know almost nothing about it.

Because contractors operate in the shadows, without effective public oversight, they allow policymakers to have their cake and eat it too—by appearing to withdraw, while keeping proxy forces in theater. Who are the contractors who actually execute American policy? Are they equipped to succeed in this important task? What risks is the U.S. asking them to take?

The simple truth is that there is little reliable data about this industry. Without this data, scholars cannot ask even the most basic questions of whether using contractors works better than the alternative, namely military personnel or local forces—or, indeed, whether it works at all.



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Thanks !

Thanks for sharing this, you are awesome !