Supporting the Troops

Military Contracting in the United States

Authored by: Martha Lizabeth Phelps

The Routledge Research Companion to Security Outsourcing in the Twenty-first Century

Print publication date:  June  2016
Online publication date:  June  2016

Print ISBN: 9781472426833
eBook ISBN: 9781315613376
Adobe ISBN: 9781317042228


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Historical accounts of the United States’ use of military contractors and private security companies (PSCs) often start at the end of the Cold War. An example of this trend can be seen in German activist and scholar Rolf Uesseler’s work, which explains how Western military contracting grew out of four main factors, each intrinsically linked to the end of the Cold War:

the worldwide reduction in national defense budgets; the expansion of national security policies beyond mere national defense; the sudden increase of international, national, and local areas of conflict; and the increasing reluctance, especially among industrialized nations, to take part in peacekeeping missions.

(Uesseler 2008, 113) Narratives focusing on the Cold War have merit, but fail to account for the United States’ long history of supply and logistics contracting.

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