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Friday, March 04, 2011


Middlebury Political Scientist Allison Stanger was on "The Daily Show" earlier this week discussing her book about outsourcing in American foreign policy.

I just wanted to post a couple of items that suggest the issue is even bigger than she discussed on the show.

First, Stanger didn't emphasize the fact that even intelligence agencies are outsourcing their work for higher pay. Tim Shorrock in the September/October 2009 Mother Jones:
more than 70 percent of the US intelligence budget—estimated this year at more than $60 billion—is now spent on contractors. Nearly 40,000 private contractors work for intelligence agencies including the CIA and the NSA, according to Ronald Sanders, a human resources official in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence; these contractors pull in salaries that average about $207,000 a year—almost double the pay of their cubicle mates employed by the government.

At the NSA, my sources estimate that at least half the jobs are contracted out. (The agency won't disclose the official breakdown.) At the National Reconnaissance Office, the top-secret agency that manages military spy satellites, a full 95 percent of personnel actually work for contractors.
Like Stanger, Shorrock wrote a book about this problem.

Second, though it is not "privatization," it is noteworthy that the US and other affluent states essentially outsource international peacekeeping to poorer countries. James Gibney, in the July/August 2009 The Atlantic:
the top 10 payers of peacekeeping dues (rich countries like the United States, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, etc.) rely on the top 10 troop contributors (poor countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Jordan, Nepal, Ghana, etc.) to do their dirty work...
Gibney calls it a mercenary system, which is what Stanger implies when she discusses privatization.

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