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Private Intelligence Contracting in Syria: Can the Department of Defense Outsource Intelligence Analysis?


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Private Intelligence Contracting in Syria:  Can the Department of Defense Outsource Intelligence Analysis?

Janet Franklin*

By allowing contractors to perform intelligence gathering and analysis, is the Department of Defense outsourcing “inherently governmental functions” in violation of the Federal Activities Inventory Reform (FAIR) Act of 1998?  This has long been a subject of debate.  Keric D. Clanahan, Wielding a “Very Long, People-Intensive Spear”:  Inherently Governmental Functions and the Role of Contractors in U.S. Department of Defense Unmanned Aircraft Systems Missions, 70 A.F. L. Rev. 119, 173 (2013).  Compare Walter Pincus, Increase in Contracting Intelligence Jobs Raises Concerns, Wash. Post (Mar. 20, 2006), http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/19/AR2006031900978.html (criticizing the outsourcing of intelligence and interrogation activities to private contractors), with Daniel Gouré, Washington Post Series Criticizing Intelligence Contractors Is Short on Evidence, Lexington Inst. (July 20, 2010), http://lexingtoninstitute.org/washington-post-series-criticizing-intelligence-contractors-is-short-on-evidence (arguing that outsourcing intelligence activities is both cost-effective and legal).  With the Department of Defense’s July 2016 announcement that it has awarded a contract to Six3 Intelligence Solutions, Inc. for intelligence analysis services in Syria, this debate will likely be rekindled.  See U.S. Dep’t of Def., Release No. CR-143-16 (July 27, 2016), http://www.defense.gov/News/Contracts/Contract-View/Article/873473; David Choi, The US Is Hiring Military Contractors for Operations in Syria, Bus. Insider (Aug. 9, 2016, 9:03 PM), http://www.businessinsider.com/us-military-contractors-operations-syria-2016-8.  May contractors perform intelligence analysis, and if so, what limitations apply?

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