Dead Contractors: The Un-Examined Effect of Surrogates on the Public’s Casualty Sensitivity

Dead Contractors: The Un-Examined Effect of Surrogates on the Public’s Casualty Sensitivity

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When a nation deploys ground forces, an inverse relationship exists between the number of military deaths and public support. This stark and monolithic metric, which economists call the “casualty sensitivity” effect, requires close examination today.  On the modern battlefield, contractor personnel die at rates similar to — or indeed often in excess of — soldiers, yet the U.S. public and Congress remain largely unaware of this “substitution.”  This article explains the phenomenon, identifies some of the challenges and complexities associated with quantifying and qualifying the real price of combat in a modern outsourced military, and encourages greater transparency.

 

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  1. Does the U.S. overuse private contractors? | Isenberg Institute of Strategic Satire - April 11, 2013

    […] Casualty Sensitivity,” Journal of National Security Law & Policy, April 16, 2012, http://www.jnslp.com/2012/04/16/dead-contractors-the-un-examined-effect-of-surrogates-on-the-publics-casual…. Analysts from George Washington University Law School argue that by failing to publicize […]