Why Contractor Fatalities Matter
Parameters, Vol. 38, No. 3, p. 78, Autumn 2008
15 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2008
Date Written: November 17, 2008
At the end of July 2008, the media reported that 4,600 service members have died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. But reporting only military fatalities understates the human cost of America's engagements in these regions by nearly a fourth. On the modern, outsourced battlefield, the U.S. government increasingly has delegated to the private sector the responsibility to stand in harm's way and, if required, die for America. As of 30 June 2008, more than 1,350 civilian contractor personnel had died in Iraq and Afghanistan, while another 29,000 contractors have been injured; more than 8,300 seriously. Nonetheless, contractor fatalities (and injuries) remain generally outside the public's consciousness. This article asserts that, in a representative democracy, public awareness of the human cost of our nation's security and foreign policies is critical.
Keywords: contractor fatalities, defense acquisition, government contracts, Iraq, Afghanistan, outsourcing, private security, representative democracy
JEL Classification: H11, H42, H56, H57, J28, J45, K12, K23, L33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation