Corporate privatization of security has generated a neoliberal iteration of an old profession: the private military contractor. This development has revolutionized security policies across the globe while reviving old patterns of inequality. Following neoliberal logic, outsourcing fosters two types of employment: the exploitative and the exclusive. The first refers to low-status individuals hired en masse to perform menial labor; the second refers to experts who perform functions central to the employer’s mission. We contribute to this discussion by focusing on the qualifications of a different subsample of this industry: American contractors who died while performing military and security functions in Iraq. We assert that such American employees directly engaged in mission-essential combat and security functions better fit the employment category of an exclusive, expert sector at the core of the private military industry.
- civil–military relations
- expert workforce
- precarious employment
- private military and security contractors