Privatization Is a National Security Issue–And Not Just because of Edward Snowden


Central to the current controversy about Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks is the fact that Snowden was a “private contractor.” In fact, over this past weekend, various commentators have asserted that 30% to 70% of the national security personnel are now “private contractors”: that is, employees of corporations—and typically multinational corporations—and not of the federal government. Whatever the percentage actually is, it is unarguably high and raises security issues that make the Soviet penetration of our nuclear-weapons development and even the current accusations of Chinese hacking of our cybersecurity seem relatively straightforward and containable issues.

That much of the massive spending on Homeland Security in the decade since the September 11 attacks has gone to corporations is not surprising, but what will surprise most Americans is that not just the production of security tools but a great deal of the actual security work has been contracted to corporations.

The situation is…

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About martinkich

I am a Professor of English at Wright State University's Lake Campus, where I have been a faculty member for more than 25 years. I have now served multiple terms as the President of the WSU chapter of AAUP, which now includes all full-time instructional faculty, and as the Vice-President of the Ohio Conference of AAUP. I have also served several terms as an at-large member of the Executive Committee of AAUP's Collective Bargaining Congress. In addition to serving as co-editor of the Academe blog, I am also a member of the editorial board of Academe and have been a guest editor for an issue of the magazine on collective bargaining strategies. As co-chair of the Ohio Conference's Communication Committee, I began to do much more overtly political writing during the campaign to repeal Ohio's Senate Bill 5, which would have eliminated the right of faculty to be unionized. I have sustained that activism, and at the risk of stating the obvious, I have very much enjoyed contributing to the Academe Blog and to our chapter blog. I also maintain several other blogs to which I have re-posted, by topic, my posts to the Academe blog, as well as some other items.

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