Research Topic: U.S. security contractors future roles overseas.
Predictive Research Question: Why does the U.S. government need to use private contractors as an alternative to deploying military troops to engage in U.S. conflicts.
Hypothesis: Due to globalization of threats, private contractors will be a viable political and economical alternative to deploying conventional troops in particular conflicts.
Dependent Variable: Utilizing contractors as para-military assets to engage in U.S. conflicts rather than conventional military forces.
Independent Variables: Politics, economics, efficiency compared to conventional forces.
I began my process my identifying research material that would validate my own research topic. My initial focus was on information from the DoD and DoS such as statistics and the amount of money allocated to contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Next, I looked for material that would explain the basic concepts of security contracting so the reader can better understand how the enterprise operates. Last, I sought out research that illustrate the political and social affects that contacting has and also, the same affects that military deployments have to establish a logical decision between the two courses of actions.
The main portion of research I have utilized has been from government record that is public domain. The remainder of my information has come from articles with references from military or government officials. Also, I was able to find similar articles from contracting officials also.
Finding information on federal spending has been fairly easy but sorting out particularly how much of that money went specifically to security contracting companies hasnt been as easy to determine. Also since security contracting has been a fluid concept, especially during the war, it has been difficult to determine exactly how many contractors have been in theatre, how many have died in theatre, and the cost that are associated with equipping these personnel.