Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry

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Cornell University Press, 2008 - History - 348 pages
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Some have claimed that "War is too important to be left to the generals," but P. W. Singer asks "What about the business executives?" Breaking out of the guns-for-hire mold of traditional mercenaries, corporations now sell skills and services that until recently only state militaries possessed. Their products range from trained commando teams to strategic advice from generals. This new "Privatized Military Industry" encompasses hundreds of companies, thousands of employees, and billions of dollars in revenue. Whether as proxies or suppliers, such firms have participated in wars in Africa, Asia, the Balkans, and Latin America. More recently, they have become a key element in U.S. military operations. Private corporations working for profit now sway the course of national and international conflict, but the consequences have been little explored.

In Corporate Warriors, Singer provides the first account of the military services industry and its broader implications. Corporate Warriors includes a description of how the business works, as well as portraits of each of the basic types of companies: military providers that offer troops for tactical operations; military consultants that supply expert advice and training; and military support companies that sell logistics, intelligence, and engineering.

This updated edition of Singer's already classic account of the military services industry and its broader implications describes the continuing importance of that industry in the Iraq War. This conflict has amply borne out Singer's argument that the privatization of warfare allows startling new capabilities and efficiencies in the ways that war is carried out. At the same time, however, Singer finds that the introduction of the profit motive onto the battlefield raises troubling questions—for democracy, for ethics, for management, for human rights, and for national security.

 

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Corporate warriors: the rise of the privatized military industry

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Large-scale wars may still be the sole provenance of sovereign governments, but many countries are now quietly outsourcing smaller-scale functions to privatized military firms (PMFs), which do not ... Read full review

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Contents

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About the author (2008)

Peter Warren Singer graduated with a BA from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and earned his Ph.D. in Government at Harvard University. Previous career experiences include working for the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University, the Balkans Task Force in the U.S. Department of Defense, and the International Peace Academy. He also served as the Defense Policy Task Force coordinator for Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign. Singer is the Director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative at the Brookings Institution and was the youngest scholar named a Senior Fellow by the Institution. He has written the following books about contemporary warfare: Corporate Warriors, Children at War, and Wired for War. Corporate Warriors, about private companies providing services to the military, was named best book of the year by the American Political Science Association. Children at War, which examines the role of child soldiers, was recognized as the 2006 Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Book of the Year Award. Wired for War became a New York Times bestseller in the first week of its release and focuses on current technologies being used in warfare, including robotics. Singer is a frequent consultant and commentator and has written numerous articles for major publications including the Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, and World Policy Journal, as well as spoken on the radio and appeared on television.

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