by David Phinney
Sunday June 16th 2019

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Contractors on the Battlefield Here to Stay

Using civilian contractors to support and accompany US military actions is “here to stay,” according to a new study unveiled yesterday by the Lexington Institute:

“There is no going back: they are now part of force deployment and, as such, must be included at all levels of pre-contingency planning and training…Contractors are now an integral and permanent part of battlefield logistics and support. …The issue is how to manage this presence to the greatest benefit, with the greatest safety.

THAT’S THE PARADIGM on which the study is founded.
Don’t expect any mention about theold way of doing things by returning support services to uniformed personnel. Contractors on the Battlefield has all the makings of a position paper for the neo-con proposal to establish a Civilian Reserve Corps being promoted by President Bush for wartime surge. And some may argue that the idea would further imbed contractors with decisionmakers at the Pentagon and on congressional appropriations committees.


There is very little discussion about cost-containment, the efficiency of government versus private sector or theft and fraud. The Lexington study largely casts a blind eye on those debates, claiming: “The work done by contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan is absolutely essential to the prosecution of those two efforts.”
LOOKING AT IT A DIFFERENT WAY: Some critics of the war might conclude that without the use of contractors, there would be no war in Iraq or Afghanistan.
AND SO: The report recommends a six-point plan to “reflect and sustain this new reality” of contractors working alongside the military on the battlefield:
#1) Establish a mutual, collaborative relationships between the Defense Department and contractors. (Contractors don’t have that already?
#2) Include contractors in contingency planning, e.g. strategic planning sessions, war games, mission training
plans and mission readiness exercises. (That’s a good idea, seeing as KBR was woefully unprepared for sustaining the military invasion and occupation.)
#3) Provide combatant Commanders with flexible contracts to meet the changing logistics requirements of the theater.
#4) Provide proper training to DoD oversight personnel; deploy and keep experienced personnel
in the field (No holing up in the relative safety of the Green Zone making phone calls to the contractors to ask how the job is going?)
#5) Establish a doctrine for contractors regarding force protection,
security. (And investigate and prosecute indiscriminate shootings by private security personnel?)
#6) Develop and implement a consistent communications doctrine between contractors and Combatant Commanders.

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