Tuesday, February 19, 2008
At the Fourth International Conference on Contracts, Jennifer S. Martin (University of Pittsburgh) presented a very interesting paper, Contracting for Wartime Actors: The Limits of the Contract Paradigm. Here is the abstract from SSRN:
Much can be (and has been) said about the war in Iraq. This essay explores the role of contract in wartime and (particularly) reconstruction. First, it considers the use of government contracts to privatize numerous government functions during the reconstruction and conflict in Iraq. Second, it considers the private ordering by contract done by government contractors to obtain security and related services from third parties. Both types of contracting raise complicated issues including: the proper use of force; to what extent the contracts should have government oversight; to what extent contractors should be accountable for crimes; and whether contractors qualify as noncombatants in case of capture. The special issues of contracting in a warzone are not best addressed primarily by common law doctrine. Additional rules and regulations are necessary to address the special issues of non-state actors who contract with the U.S. government.
The presentation was interesting despite the often insurmountable hurdle of being part of the very last panel of a long conference!
[Meredith R. Mller]