Profits Soar As Pentagon Leans On Private Corporations For Special Ops

New research shows how US Special Operations Command is outsourcing many of its most sensitive information activities, including interrogation, drone and psychological operations
By @jonqueally |
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    Private military contractors are reaping billions of dollars in profitable rewards from the U.S. government’s global network of clandestine counter-terrorism and other overseas operations, according to a new report that examines the high-levels of integration between for-profit corporations and the Pentagon’s global military and surveillance apparatus.

    The new report—titled US Special Operations Command Contracting: Data-Mining the Public Recordwritten by researcher Crofton Black and commissioned by the U.K.-based Remote Control Project, shows that “corporations are integrated into some of the most sensitive aspects” of operations conducted by the U.S. Special Operations Command (or  USSOCOM). Those activities, according to the report include: flying drones and overseeing target acquisition, facilitating communications between forward operating locations and central command hubs, interrogating prisoners, translating captured material, and managing the flow of information between regional populations and the US military.

    “[USSOCOM] is outsourcing many of its most sensitive information activities, including interrogation, drone and psychological operations,” explained Black in a statement. “Remote warfare is increasingly being shaped by the private sector.”

    And Caroline Donnellan, manager of the Remote Control project, said, “This report is distinctive in that it mines data from the generally classified world of US special operations. It reveals the extent to which remote control activity is expanding in all its facets, with corporations becoming more and more integrated into very sensitive elements of warfare. The report’s findings are of concern given the challenges remote warfare poses for effective investigation, transparency, accountability and oversight. This highlights the difficulties in assessing the impact and consequences of remote control activity.”

    Reviewing its contents for The Intercept on Monday, journalist Ryan Gallagher observed how the unprecedented research documents troubling ways in which these private corporations have engaged in  overseas operations.  Describing it as a “corporate bonanza” for these contractor, Gallagher reports:

    USSOCOM tendered a $1.5 billion contract that required support with “Psychological Operations related to intelligence and information operations.” Prospective contractors were told they would have to provide “military and civilian persuasive communications planning, produce commercial quality products for unlimited foreign public broadcast, and develop lines of persuasion, themes, and designs for multi-media products.” The contract suggested that aim of these “persuasion” operations was to “engage local populations and counter nefarious influences” in parts of Europe and Africa.

    A separate document related to the same contract noted that one purpose of the effort was to conduct “market research” of al-Qaida and its affiliates in Libya, Tunisia, Mali, Northern Nigeria, and Somalia. Four American companies eventually won the $1.5 billion contract: Tennessee-based Jacobs Technology and Virginia-based Booz Allen Hamilton, CACI-WGI, and SRA International.

    Notably, while some 3,000 contractors provided service in some capacity to USSOCOM, just eight of the contractors earned more than 50 percent of the $13 billion total identified in Black’s report. Those were: Lockheed Martin, L-3 Communications, Boeing, Harris Corporation, Jacobs Engineering Group, MA Federal, Raytheon, and ITT Corporation.


    Read the executive summary of the report here. Read the full report here.

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    • Sickofwar

      I guess the government should reinstate the draft. Then they wouldn’t have to outsource. NOT!

    • wawa29

      Everything they do today against others will be done onto them tomorrow. Karma is a bitch.

    • Ralph M Bosworth

      Someone please forward this to Hannity and Rush

    • The Shocking TRUTH folks

      Dictionary definition of terrorism: ‘The use of violence against civilians for political ends’ … OK … now for a REALITY CHECK folks – who has bombed/killed/injured the greatest amount of civilians (by far) worldwide since WWII? Duh’oh! It’s Uncle Sam the Pentagon Man. Before the denial kicks in see if you can take a breath and actually think RATIONALLY & LOGICALLY for a moment … glimpse this truth: According to the DICTIONARY DEFINITION of TERRORISM the USA is the greatest terrorist on earth. That is how it is. Now for the hypocritical excuses and bull-sh!t to deny this sad sick reality … !!

    • L O U

      That’s great Mint Press News, now that ISIS, Iran, the Russians, and every son of a B itch that already hates the U.S. and its Allies, now can start working on and abusing contractors. You know and I know, if contractors are not working along side with the Military or within supporting contracts with other US Agencies, we’re left out to hang dry !! The US Dept. of State won’t assist us contractors because idiot folks still call us ‘Mercs’ when we’re not !! Bottom line, we do what the Military can not, will not or don’t have the resources to do, so we contractors are the expendables to do so !

    • John Epperson

      It is about time. We here in the US have hundreds of unemployed or under employed ex-service member that need jobs. Also these Contractors are not limited by the militaries rules of engagement so they can take care of problems faster.

    • mikecbushey

      This is what happens when you cut back on the military, it forces them to outsource, and that always cost more.
      But then, our idiots in washington know this, this is just another payback for contributions .

    • Charles Martel

      That contract is 4 years old and covers a lot of other things besides Psychological Operations (as the underlying report says). Sure SOCOM contracts a lot out. If you don’t like that, recruit/train/develop more Soldiers or decide the security threats the military doesn’t need to address.

    • Nicko Thime

      The word is MERCENARY, not contractor.

      • John Epperson

        Mercenaries was the term used back in the 1960’s durning the Congo War, also mercenaries have no loyal to anyone but Contractors do. The Contractors are hired to fix a problem , just like you hire a plumber to fix your sink. It is sad to see people , like you Nicko, use words without checking into them first.

        • Nicko Thime

          ” also mercenaries have no loyal to anyone but Contractors do”
          Bullshit. They have no more loyalty than ANY corporation.

          Mercenary it is.

      • L O U

        Nicko Thime – It seems to me you are talking from experience. Were you or are you a Merc !? If and only if you were not a Merc, shut the hell up and crawl back into the rock you came from. You can call me or any other contractor a merc all you want, but in the end game, we’re making money ‘LEGALY’ for our family by which we pay plenty of taxes on. Like it or not, we ‘Contractors’ are NOT ‘mercenaries’ as you would love to have others believe, we are intelligent US citizens doing our part by which the US Govt could not. Enough said, shut your pie hole and suck your thumb like a good girl !!

        • Nicko Thime