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Title: Contractors and defence policy-making : examining the drivers, process, and future of military outsourcing
Author: Erbel, Mark Nadim
ISNI:       0000 0004 8505 1754
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2015
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The outsourcing of military responsibilities to private contractors is most comprehensively encapsulated not in armed security contracting, which dominates the literature, but in the supply of the armed forces. Military logistics, broadly conceived, stretches back the furthest in history and involves among the largest manpower and sums of money expended by defence enterprises. Drawing on the United States of America (USA) and the United Kingdom (UK) since the end of the Second World War, this dissertation develops a holistic understanding of why states outsource military capability, the politics and processes which produce the decisions (not) to acquire military services from the market, and the longer-term impact and trajectory of defence services acquisition as a result of the way states use private contractors in their defence enterprises. Most fundamental to understanding why states outsource military capability is an appreciation of the dominant ideas and norms that guide policy-makers and constrain decision-making. In defence these are, in particular, a state's defence strategy and posture, strategic culture, and political economy. These factors strongly determine the type, size, and shape of the armed forces, the weapon systems and services required for their supply, and the sources of these products and services. Together with the formal and informal political structures of the state, these factors also heavily determine who participates in the defence policy process. In the case of the USA and the UK, the general tendencies to espouse global defence postures, draw on private enterprise for the supply of goods and services, and rely on highly sophisticated, hi-tech weaponry in the conduct of war clashed with a lack of resources which were - under these influences - sought to be overcome by relying on private providers. The policy processes are similarly biased towards business ideas, solutions, and providers while exhibiting a remarkable lack of veto-points and veto-players. "More of the same", i.e. the increasingly routineised use of private contractors in the generating of military capability, is therefore the unsurprising outcome of the past decades which witnessed the growing reliance on private service providers in the defence enterprise. Outsourcing is not only "here to stay", as authors often conclude; the USA and the UK are formally and doctrinally integrating their military and contractor workforces into joint logistics forces that will support and supply their armies for decades to come, and concomitantly transferring knowledge and assets out of the military and into the private sector for the long term. Being improbable from within, change in the USA and the UK would only come about as a result of strategic, economic, or ideational "shocks" to this otherwise very stable ecosystem. Put in more general terms, changes in the fundamental structural forces of defence strategy, economics, and technology, as well as in the formal and informal structures of the policy process are most likely to yield significant change in the way states draw (or do not draw) on private contractors in the running of their defence enterprises.
Supervisor: Kinsey, Christopher Paul Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available