David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Criminal Justice Ethics 31 (3):287-301 (2012)
Abstract Private security contractors are just the tip of an outsourcing iceberg. Across the three Ds of defense, diplomacy, and development, American foreign policy has been privatized. The Obama administration inherited a government that had been hollowed out to an unprecedented extent, and in many realms it had and has no choice but to depend on contractors to conduct what used to be state business. This essay examines the reasons for and unintended negative consequences of this outsourcing of American power. It argues that turning the clock back and returning everything to in-house assignments is both undesirable and impossible. Instead, government must pursue contracting in ways that do not undermine the public interest. It can do this by identifying the things that should never be outsourced and ensuring that the letter and spirit of the Federal Funding Transparency and Accountability Act is upheld. Greater transparency in contractor?government relations will foster private security contractor compliance with ethical norms while bolstering our capacity for self-government. Transparency is thus both an end in itself and a means to sustainable democratic deliberation. While tension can exist between national security and open government, that tension is often overestimated.
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