Saturday, September 3, 2011

Thomas C. Bruneau's "Patriots for Profit"

Thomas Bruneau is a Distinguished Professor of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, where he was chairman of the department from1989 to 1995. He is co-editor of Who Guards the Guardians and How: Democratic Civil-Military Relations.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, Patriots for Profit: Contractors and the Military in U.S. National Security, and reported the following:
On page 99 of my book I discuss the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ project on “Smart Power” as one of four defense reform initiatives (out of 21) since the last successful initiative, the Goldwater-Nichols Defense Reorganization Act of 1986. I demonstrate in the five initiatives, from 1986 until the present with the Project on National Security Reform, that democratic civilian control, the focus of virtually all of the academic literature on U.S. civil-military relations, is not an issue; effectiveness, however, of the armed forces and the U.S. national security system is very much the focus in all of these initiatives. The book seeks to demonstrate that the academic literature on U.S. civil-military relations is not well focused and is virtually useless to decision-makers. I then propose my own framework, that I developed during the past fifteen years in conducting seminars on civil-military relations with the Center for Civil-Military Relations all over the world. In it I define civil-military relations as a trinity consisting of democratic civilian control, effectiveness in achieving roles and missions, and efficiency in the use of resources.

As there are as many private contractors as uniformed military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan, I then apply the framework to a specific sub-group of these contractors, the private security contractors, PSC, who are armed. I rely heavily on U.S. Government documents, mainly from Government Accountability Office and the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, and from interviews I conducted in Washington, D.C. during six research trips in 2009 and 2010. I demonstrate that, in terms of the framework, efficiency is not an issue, since there are extensive oversight mechanisms. On the other hand, both control and effectiveness are serious problems that are unlikely to be resolved given the nature of U.S. politics, in which lobbying by the PSC industry is forceful, and the inability of the U.S. Government to retain sufficient military and civilian contracting officers to supervise the contractors.
Learn more about Patriots for Profit at the Stanford University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue