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Moore, Adam

Empire’s Labor

The Global Army That Supports U.S. Wars

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    November 2019
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    Aims and Scope

    In a dramatic unveiling of the little-known world of contracted military logistics, Adam Moore examines the lives of the global army of laborers who support US overseas wars. Empire's Labor brings us the experience of the hundreds of thousands of men and women who perform jobs such as truck drivers and administrative assistants at bases located in warzones in the Middle East and Africa. He highlights the changes the US military has undergone since the Vietnam War, when the ratio of contractors to uniformed personnel was roughly 1:6. In Afghanistan it has been as high as 4:1. This growth in logistics contracting represents a fundamental change in how the US fights wars, with the military now dependent on a huge pool of contractors recruited from around the world. It also, Moore demonstrates, has social, economic, and political implications that extend well beyond the battlefields.

    Focusing on workers from the Philippines and Bosnia, two major sources of "third country national" (TCN) military labor, Moore explains the rise of large-scale logistics outsourcing since the end of the Cold War; describes the networks, infrastructures, and practices that span the spaces through which people, information, and goods circulate; and reveals the experiences of foreign workers, from the hidden dynamics of labor activism on bases, to the economic and social impacts these jobs have on their families and the communities they hail from. Through his extensive fieldwork and interviews, Moore gives voice to the agency and aspirations of the many thousands of foreigners who labor for the US military.


    258 pages
    3 b&w halftones, 6 maps, 3 charts 6 Fig. 3 Tables
    Iraq, Afghanistan, military contractors, US military policy, foreign workers

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    Adam Moore is an Associate Professor at UCLA, with a joint appointment between the Department of Geography and the International Institute, where he teaches courses ranging from introduction to international studies to graduate seminars on qualitative methods. His research concerns the political and geographical dynamics of war and peace, including ethnic conflict, civil war, peacebuilding interventions, military contracting and labor, Southeast European politics and the militarization of U.S. foreign policy. Professor Moore’s previous book with Cornell University Press, Peacebuilding in Practice, examined uneven postwar peacebuilding processes in Bosnia.


    Catherine Lutz, Brown University, author of Homefront and An Empire of Bases:

    "Based in intensive on-the-ground research, this rich and remarkable book gives us a new way to understand the current everywhere war through the lens of the contract labor and migrations from poor countries that makes it possible.  Acutely analyzed and strong empiric, Moore's book will be a foundational text for understanding contemporary war and providing insight into labor's pushback."

    David Vine, Professor of Anthropology, American University, author of Base Nation:

    "Empire's Labor is a beautifully written, essential book exposing the labor and labor exploitation underpinning the military industrial complex, U.S. empire, and the corporations fueling permanent war."

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