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overwhelmed system and

expand educational benefits

for veterans and their

families, we must take care

to ensure that these veterans

are supported in the years to


How does a nation go

to war without building

a larger military through

costly recruitment measures

or creating an unpopular

draft? Civilian contractors.

At the height of activities

in Iraq and Afghanistan,

there were more civilian

contractors with “boots on

the ground” than military

personnel. While far from

being a flawless institution,

the military is subject to

public, legislative, and media

scrutiny of its policies,

procedures, and costs

associated with operating a

mission. Private contractors,

citing proprietary business

practices, are not subject

to such oversight. Civilian

contractors, among other

problems, can also be a

detriment to troop morale

and mission performance.

Civilian contractors can earn

higher salaries than service

members for completing the

same type of work and are

able to quit their jobs without

the risk of being absent

without leave.

How might war reach

beyond the military to

the U.S. public? Cyber

war and its companions,

cyber espionage and cyber

“hacktivism.” The broad-

sweeping implications,

such as massive personnel

data security breaches, the

ability to bring banking in

a country to a standstill,

and the possibility of

hacking into U.S. weapon

systems, were almost too

frightening for the students

to contemplate.

Finally, having developed

a healthy respect for their

favorite scholar from the

semester’s materials—

Andrew Bacevich, former

Army officer and professor

of International Relations

and History at Boston

University—the students

overwhelmingly called for the

need to develop diplomatic

rather than militaristic

interventions to international

crises. According to Bacevich,

since 1980 the United States

has “invaded, occupied,

garrisoned, bombed, or

raided” 19 different countries

in the Islamic world alone,

sometimes within the same

time frame. To what extent

can we keep up such a pace

in terms of a war chest,

strain on an all-volunteer

military force, and the costs

to the civilians living in and

emigrating from war-torn


ran care, and cyberwar

As we listen in the

coming months to the

wide field of candidates in

this presidential primary

season, all of us, like our

students, need to consider

the complexities facing

the armed forces as one of

several key issues presidential

candidates will need to


How might war

reach beyond the

military to the

U.S. public?

Susan M. Ross, Ph.D., professor

of Sociology. Her areas of

sociological interest include

military, family and law.