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  • Privatization of the US Military

    The entire war in Iraq brings up an interesting question. Have we gone too far in privatizing war in the United States?

    I think most Americans are not aware that three pools of labor exist in the military: military personel, Department of Defense Civilians, and contractors. We use to conduct wars with only military and DoD civilians. The influx of contractors has gone from a trickle in the Vietnam war to a flood in the Bush Administration.

    This process of privatizing war has gone on for a long time. For example, MacArthur really worked for the Philipine President during the inter-war years. The Flying Tigers were a private group working with the Chinese government. During the Vietnam War, the CIA was running their own airforce (Air America) with the pilots being contractors.

    Lately, there has been a push to keep the size of the military and civilian force down. If you went to any base, I think you would find contractors doing jobs that you would normally consider governmental. If you went to Iraq, you would find soldiers that don't serve under the Military Code of Justice, intelligence types that don't obey any laws, and private armies running around without supervision.

    My question: Have we gone to far in privatizing war in the United States?

  • #2
    Well, the cost of war has certainly gone up. You can't pay contractors a sergeants rate even with hazardous duty and all the other combat-related 'bonuses'. I understand what Rummy is trying to do; getting soldiers to carry guns is what the military is all about, but the cost of paying civilians to do military work in war zones is astronomical. I'm not sure of the non-warfare training costs associated with non-combat MOSs, but it can't be more expensive than $80,000/yr truckers and $95,000 engineers. Force increases are 'cheaper' on the personnel expense side, but then you have all the infrastructure costs that go up (if any was spent on infrastructure anyway).
    If voting could really change things, it would be illegal.

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    • #3
      There has always been a very legitimate place for contractors supporting the military since revolutionary days. Historically these have mostly been in the transport and supply areas, but as point out there have been cases of contracting out more direct combat function although I cannot, off hand think of an instance of contracting into to US service direct combat or field craft related intelligence functions (at least not since George Washington paid for intelligence functions out of his personal funds)

      There could be some argument to contracting certain security functions similar to same gate guards, federal building security personnel etc.

      Contracting for direct combat, which I have not head of, (although paying for the services of northern warlords in Afghanistan may come close in some peoples minds.) and contracting for direct field craft intelligence functions ( under which heading I would include prisoner interogation) seems to me to be a serious error.

      The bigger question here may be what should happen if it is found that private contractors were involved in attrocities? They are clearly not under the UCMJ. Normally that would put them under the local host authority. Should they be turned over, extradicting out of US if necessary, to the local Iraqui authorities to be tried in Iraqui courts and, if determined to be guilty, put into Iraqui jails under Iraqui suppervision. Under international law that would seem to be the right answer. It seems to me if we don't do it we are no better than the East India Company nabobs in India and we will then clearly be an occupying force not a liberating force.
      Boston Strong!

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      • #4
        Previous posters are right, IMHO. By and large there is a shell game going on, where Congress has mandated a certain sized military which is insufficient for the tasks it is given. Due to this, the military (I am most familiar with the Army, but believe the other services to be doing the same thing or something similar) is identifying jobs that don't involve firing a weapon, and then passing them off to contractors. Many of these are highly qualified -- some require senior staff schools or certain positions must have been held to qualify for the job.

        Of course, not all of these support the US military -- MPRI is famous for having assisted the Croats prepare for their Operation Storm offensive in 1995 that put the Serbs on the ropes thus ending the fighting in Bosnia and Croatia.

        KBR makes a ton of money, no question about it, but they also provide a high quality service in places where people without guns do not want to be. Clearly what we pay them is not unreasonable.

        I think COBs (Contractors on the Battlefield) will be with us for a long time to come.

        JS
        Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
        Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


        "Never pet a burning dog."

        RECOMMENDED WEBSITES:
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        http://www.sca.org
        http://www.scv.org/
        http://www.scouting.org/

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        • #5
          Some other points

          Our top official in Iraq has contractor security. I know of at least one case of a contractor killing an Iraqi civilian in US custody. I heard another story of a contractor using ammunition in a fire fight that may be against the rules of war. When asked what the US military does when faced with witnessing a crime by a civilian contractor, the answer was that we do nothing. They are not under the UCMJ.

          That brings me to point #1. If we are going to fight a war, shouldn't we fight the war with the US military? Do we really want to hire our fighting done for us?

          Iraq is not the first war fought by the US government with contractors. Contractors fulfil many important functions in the military. However, we have more and more contractors on what are called Body Shop contracts. These are contractors that basically perform government jobs. For example, I would say 70% of the people working on formulating doctrine for the US Army are contractors.

          Are there some jobs that shouldn't be rented out? Isn't forming military doctrine a job that should be done by the US military?

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          • #6
            Re: Some other points

            Originally posted by Gepard
            Our top official in Iraq has contractor security. I know of at least one case of a contractor killing an Iraqi civilian in US custody. I heard another story of a contractor using ammunition in a fire fight that may be against the rules of war. When asked what the US military does when faced with witnessing a crime by a civilian contractor, the answer was that we do nothing. They are not under the UCMJ.
            "Our top official" is an employee of the State Department. State Department agencies throughout the world (disregarding Marines at US embassies) are protected by State Department Security. The same is true, BTW, for the senior UK official in Iraq.
            We use contractors for security across the country, just as various entities around the world have security guards. They protect convoys and governmental offices here. When they are attacked, they defend themselves, just as a security guard anywhere else in the world would. Many of them (I am not saying all) are highly trained -- former SF and Gurkhas.
            For example, I would say 70% of the people working on formulating doctrine for the US Army are contractors.
            These are the guys I was talking about in my post. It does not take a uniformed person to write doctrine. They are supervised by uniformed people, but a contractor who is a retired colonel (I know dozens) probably has a pretty good idea what has to be done in writing any kind of document. These guys are not college kids on their first job -- they are highly qualified.
            Are there some jobs that shouldn't be rented out? Isn't forming military doctrine a job that should be done by the US military?
            Apples and oranges. Before you said writing, now you say forming. As above, these are highly skilled people -- they don't move from job to job every year like active military do -- they write doctine under the close supervision of US military personnel.
            JS
            Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
            Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


            "Never pet a burning dog."

            RECOMMENDED WEBSITES:
            http://www.mormon.org
            http://www.sca.org
            http://www.scv.org/
            http://www.scouting.org/

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            • #7
              I have recently applied with Blackwater (They are the ones who provide security for Paul Bremer) and have been accepted. If you have prior special forces training I would highly recommend them as an employer.

              Semper Fi

              http://www.blackwaterusa.com

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              • #8
                Yeah, Ghurkas guarded the Singapore American School and the American Club in Singapore while I was there.

                So, it was contracted security after 9/11 cause we couldn't have our troops wandering the streets of another friendly country uninvited, could we?

                Also, my godfather is a defense-contractor in the Pentagon.

                He has military types around him continually, so it's not him and a few other civilians designing new...things (classified, im afraid)

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Marines
                  I have recently applied with Blackwater (They are the ones who provide security for Paul Bremer) and have been accepted. If you have prior special forces training I would highly recommend them as an employer.

                  Semper Fi

                  http://www.blackwaterusa.com
                  Congratulations. That says a lot about you.
                  Blackwater only takes the best and they have done very well over here.
                  :thumb:
                  JS
                  Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
                  Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


                  "Never pet a burning dog."

                  RECOMMENDED WEBSITES:
                  http://www.mormon.org
                  http://www.sca.org
                  http://www.scv.org/
                  http://www.scouting.org/

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The thing that blew me away is that I have no special forces background and they accepted me. I was a artillery cannoneer (0811)

                    Semper Fi

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                    • #11
                      One reason they may have accepted me is the following.

                      Resume:

                      I have deleted several entries for obvious reasons.

                      OBJECTIVE:

                      To obtain a position in Security where my skills and abilities learned in the United States Marine Corps will be fully utilized in a challenging environment.

                      QUALIFICATIONS:

                      ·Four years of honorable Marine Corps service and professional
                      training.

                      ·Ability to work in stressful situations.

                      ·Ability to work with diverse groups.

                      EXPERIENCE:

                      United States Marine Corps: HQ’s Battery 2nd Battalion 10th Marines 2nd Marine Division Camp Lejeune, NC. 28542
                      Supervisor: Captain Scott E. #######, Commanding Officer Headquarters Battery. Phone number: (###) ###-####
                      Job title: (0811) Corporal/E-4, Field Artillery Cannoneer. Service dates 10/99-10/03 (Extension)

                      ·Trained in various types of weapons to include: M16A2 service rifle, Beretta 92F pistol, Mossberg 590 shotgun, Manadnock baton, Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) as well as various types of crew served weapons.

                      ·Trained in Close Quarters combat tactics.

                      ·Trained in non-lethal and riot control tactics

                      ·Provided physical security for government equipment, installations and assets vital to national security.

                      ·Trained and Certified as a tan belt in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP).

                      ·Personally supervised 5 to 10 personnel on a daily basis. Assigned various duties and responsibilities and ensured follow up action was completed.

                      ·Instructed and provided on the job training to new personnel on various tasks.

                      ·Familiar with computers and software programs to include: Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Database, Windows NT 2000, 95/98 and XP.

                      WORK HISTORY:

                      United States Marine Corps-various duty stations 1999-2003
                      Field Artillery Cannoneer
                      Fire Team Leader
                      Squad Leader

                      EDUCATION AND TRAINING:

                      Marine Corps Institute: Quantico, VA. 2000-2003
                      Anti Terrorism Force Protection
                      Fundamentals of Leadership

                      Marine Corps Field Artillery School: Fort Sill, OK. 2000
                      School of Infantry: Camp Pendleton CA. 2000
                      Marine Corps Basic Training: MCRD San Diego, CA. 2000
                      Grapevine High School: Diploma, Grapevine TX. 1999


                      ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND AWARDS:

                      Meritoriously promoted to the rank of Corporal on 9/2/02 by Major General John F. Sattler Commanding Officer 2nd Marine Division Camp Lejeune.

                      Awarded the Good Conduct Medal on 10/31/02 for conducting myself in a creditable manner having never received a Non-Judicial Punishment (NJP) or a Court Martial (CM).

                      Military ribbons and medals awarded: NATO ribbon/medal, Kosovo Champaign ribbon/medal, Marine Corps Good Conduct ribbon/medal, National Defense Service ribbon/medal, Sea Service Deployment ribbon, Meritorious Unit Commendation ribbon and the Navy Unit Commendation ribbon.

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