Business at war

Steve LeSueur

Gulf War II is imminent but, as I write this column, it has not yet begun. President Bush told Iraqi President Saddam Hussein that he and his sons must leave Iraq or face war. Hussein rejected the ultimatum. The world braces for conflict.

Government contractors have long played an important role in supporting the U.S. military, but recent years have seen them become increasingly "embedded" in military planning and operations. Much of this has occurred as weapons and communications systems have become more sophisticated and require an expertise beyond that possessed by the services.

"The role of contractors has increased dramatically as the role of information technology has increased," one industry official told us. Another said the military is "drawing us in as participants. They want to use our intellectual property."

To get an idea of how the role of the contractor has expanded, Washington Technology editors and staff spoke with industry executives whose companies are playing integral roles in the war effort. Staff Writer Patience Wait wrote the cover story looking at the business of war for the IT community.

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