Neoliberalism and the rise of the private military industry

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					COMING ATTRACTIONS

Aaron Ettinger


Neoliberalism
and the rise of the
private military
industry
In the early 20th century, Georges Clemenceau remarked that war was much
too serious a matter to be entrusted to the military. In the early 21st century,
it is much too profitable. This turn of history is brought into sharp relief by
the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, where US-led military operations are the
first in history to be dependent upon private military contractors. In these
conflicts, private military firms deliver a wide profile of services ranging from
the relatively banal to a
				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: Though military privatization as policy began in the 1980s, the process of rolling back the US defence bureaucracy accelerated in the early years of the first [GEORGE W. BUSH] administration. In 2001, Bush released a management agenda with a vision of government reform guided by market-based principles, "actively promoting rather than stifling innovation through competition."25 These market-based reforms applied equally to the national security apparatus. During [Donald H. Rumsfeld]'s tenure as secretary of defense, the United States embarked on an explicit program of rollback outsourcing and privatization intended to incorporate private-sector logic into the operations of the Pentagon apparatus. Public statements by the secretary of defense conveyed the new market-competitive logic and foreshadowed the massive outsourcing under LOGCAP III and IV. In a speech to Pentagon deputies delivered on 10 September 2001, Rumsfeld unambiguously impressed upon his officials the Department of Defense's new direction. With characteristic bravado, Rumsfeld emphatically criticized the Pentagon bureaucracy as a stifling "bastion of central planning" that posed a "serious threat to the security of the United States."26 In early 2002, Rumsfeld published an article in Foreign Affairs laying out his vision for the transformation of the US military. Extending the theme of transformation to the organization of the Pentagon, Rumsfeld asserted the need to "promote a more entrepreneurial approach: one that encourages people to be proactive, not reactive, and to behave less like bureaucrats and more like venture capitalists; one that does not wait for threats to emerge and be 'validated' but rather anticipates them before they appear and develops new capabilities to dissuade and deter them."27 Rumsfeld's statements read like a manifesto for the neoliberal rollback of the largest bureaucracy in the US government. His language of entrepreneurship and venture capitalism in these early declaratio
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