Editor’s note: MWI senior nonresident fellow Max Brooks wrote the following as part of the New York Times‘ Op-Eds From the Future series.
The United States Army is on strike. It’s difficult to believe that America’s contracted defenders have simply walked off the job—especially at a time like this. As contract negotiations lumber into their third, fruitless month, the world seems to be coming apart at the seams.
In Arabia, the fractured Saudi Principalities continue their bloody power struggles. In North Korea, the coup that took down the Kim dynasty has degenerated into all-out civil war, with a looming threat of nuclear action. To our north, the Sino-Russian peacekeeper divisions have openly refused to withdraw from Quebec. This last crisis puts at least four confirmed I-mech battalions and possibly one full cyclone brigade within hyperswarm range of Washington, DC. All the while, our bases remained shuttered, our ships docked, our aircraft grounded, and even our joint cyberspace network—the core of our national defense—continues to be “temporarily unavailable” while its operators sit at home waiting to hear about their new pay raise, working hours, vacation days, and, as stateless citizens, immunity from not only war crimes but all crimes under US law.
In the old days of the Army, this would have been a mutiny. But “mutiny” implies the revolt of government troops, not private contractors. And that is who’ve we’ve entrusted to our security. Mercenaries.
Max Brooks is the author of World War Z and the forthcoming Devolution. He is also a senior nonresident fellow at the Modern War Institute at West Point. The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the United States Military Academy, Department of the Army, or Department of Defense.
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