In This Review

Empire’s Labor: The Global Army That Supports U.S. Wars
Empire’s Labor: The Global Army That Supports U.S. Wars
By Adam Moore
264 pp, Cornell University Press, 2019
Purchase

Coverage of U.S. military operations often focuses on the flashier areas of combat and technology, ignoring the extraordinary logistical efforts required to sustain these operations. Moore avoids this trap in this useful survey of the army of workers who support the U.S. military. Private contractors maintain a global network of bases. In some cases, more foreign workers than U.S. military personnel are engaged in servicing U.S. military campaigns—four times as many in the later stages of the war in Afghanistan. Although mercenaries tend to be the focus of research on private contractors, only a relatively small number of these contractors serve in armed roles. Still, logistical work can be hazardous and deadly. Moore has undertaken detailed research, including interviews with workers, to explore the labor force buttressing the U.S. military. He traces patterns of recruitment (especially in Bosnia and the Philippines), finds evidence of exploitative and discriminatory labor practices, and explores how the military’s recruitment of legions of workers affects their countries of origin.