The conflict environment of the new century demands a new way of thinking about the relationships between government employees, non-government organizations, and private contractors. Given the evolving nature of conflict in the 21st century and national decisions regarding the size of the U.S. armed forces, private contractors now play a larger role than ever before in helping the U.S. government in overseas operations.
Because it is likely that the role of private contractors will continue to increase in this era of persistent irregular conflict, it is essential that the United States carefully consider the changes in law, regulation, and the protocols governing the public-private partnerships required in order to provide proper oversight. The CNAS project “Contracting in Conflicts” investigates the role of private contractors in past and current operations and suggests changes to improve accountability, performance, and protection of private contractors in these conflicts. The goal of the project is to provide concrete and constructive recommendations, based on empirical facts and objective analysis, on the appropriate roles for and proper oversight of private contractors in the conflict environment.