Friday, February 09, 2007

Private contractors, war and Iraq

Some interesting things today:

Vanity Fair's article, Washington's $8 Billion Shadow is about a company we probably never heard of (I'm sure I haven't): SAIC (for Science Applications International Corporation).
This company, headquartered in San Diego but with a huge Washington component, made $8 billion last year --- nearly all from the federal government. According to the article, by renowned investigative journalists Bartlett and Steele, the company the size of a full-fledged government agency—in fact, it is larger than the departments of Labor, Energy, and Housing and Urban Development combined.
...If "contract backlog" is any measure—that is, contracts negotiated and pending—the future seems assured. The backlog stands at $13.6 billion. That's one and a half times more than the backlog at KBR Inc., a subsidiary of the far better known government contractor once run by Vice President Dick Cheney, the Halliburton Company.
It is a simple fact of life these days that, owing to a deliberate decision to downsize government, Washington can operate only by paying private companies to perform a wide range of functions. To get some idea of the scale: contractors absorb the taxes paid by everyone in America with incomes under $100,000. In other words, more than 90 percent of all taxpayers might as well remit everything they owe directly to SAIC or some other contractor rather than to the IRS.
...There isn't a politically correct way to put it, but this is what needs to be said: 9/11 was a personal tragedy for thousands of families and a national tragedy for all of America, but it was very, very good for SAIC.
...SAIC executives have been involved at every stage of the life cycle of the war in Iraq. SAIC personnel were instrumental in pressing the case that weapons of mass destruction existed in Iraq in the first place, and that war was the only way to get rid of them. Then, as war became inevitable, SAIC secured contracts for a broad range of operations in soon-to-be-occupied Iraq. When no weapons of mass destruction were found, SAIC personnel staffed the commission that was set up to investigate how American intelligence could have been so disastrously wrong.

On that note, a new website based in the UK,, offers information an links for companies specializing in providing private military and security support around the world. The site offers corporate profiles, research papers, news, information on NGOs, think tanks and other organizations, maps and equipment info, a job search, links to sites supporting contractors in Iraq, and more. (Note one link is to an American Contractors in Iraq group holding a convention in Knoxville tomorrow.)

From the Council on Foreign Relations, a new publication: After the Surge: The Case for U.S. Military Disengagement from Iraq. Fulltext can be downloaded.
(Via Resourceshelf and Docuticker.)



  • Just a quick correction, has been online since 1999 and is hosted in the US.

    By Blogger PrivateMilitary, at 5:19 PM  

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