Privatizing Military Logistics

Authored by: Mark Erbel , Christopher Kinsey

Routledge Handbook of Private Security Studies

Print publication date:  October  2015
Online publication date:  October  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415729352
eBook ISBN: 9781315850986
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter sets out to explain why governments are privatizing military logistics, and what implications such a trend has for the supply of war into the future. It takes a broad approach, examining a variety of drivers behind military outsourcing and the problems that outsourcing creates politically and for military commanders who are responsible for utilizing force. Our main objective is to show that logistics outsourcing is possibly the most representative and important (yet neglected) aspect of the wider phenomenon of military outsourcing. It most comprehensively encapsulates the drivers of contracting in general, involves the largest number of the contractor workforce and expenditure, and is exemplary of the future of military outsourcing. Moreover, not only is it highly relevant to foreign and defence policy, but governments have also become heavily dependent on logistics contractors for the long term whereas they could – political will provided – always replace private security contractors with regular troops. This should cause us to reconsider the overwhelming focus the literature places on the outsourcing of various security functions to armed contractors.

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