Simulating, marketing, and playing war: US–Jordanian military collaboration and the politics of commercial security

The King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center (KASOTC) was financed and established by the US Department of Defense, is operated by a US private business, and is owned by the Jordanian army. It not only offers a base for the training of international Special Forces and Jordanian border guards, but also for military adventure holidays, corporate leadership programs, and stunt training for actors. This article provides an analysis of the processes and technologies involved in US–Jordanian military collaboration by investigating some of the ways in which war is simulated, marketed, and played at KASOTC. Particular focus is paid to the stark biopolitical judgments about the different worth of human subjects and their role in intersecting processes of militarization and commercialization. The article argues that US–Jordanian military collaboration at KASOTC is marked by the simultaneous blurring and reinforcement of boundaries, as commercial security is moralized and imagined moral hierarchies marketized. While war at KASOTC is an interactive and consumable event for some, it engenders deadly realities for others. The article is an empirically-grounded contribution to critical security studies based on interviews and observations made during a visit to KASOTC in early 2013.

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