Tag Archives: Private Contractors

ARE THEY IN THE US ARMY OR NOT?

Once again, the United States armed forces are looking in the direction of private contractors to handle guard duty that historically has been handled by members of the armed forces. Military authorities are examining the possibility of hiring private contractors to provide around-the-clock security at dozens of bases in Afghanistan. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has termed the use of private contractors in certain areas of Afghanistan, “vital” to the maintenance of security.

Members of our armed forces undergo extensive training to become proficient in the duties they will carry out once in combat. They are under the command of those who are trained and adhered to military regulations and procedures. We have had enough of private contractors who lack military discipline and all too frequently have wound up causing problems, if not actually killing innocent civilians. If the armed forces require more troops, it should come from the regular army, not from mercenaries. It is about time the American people provided support to those who serve, including re-institution of a draft.

As Many Contractors In Iraq As Soldiers!

For the first time in American history there are the same number of people engaged in logistical endeavors as there are troops in combat. A report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reveals there are as many private contractors functioning in Iraq as there are members of the armed forces. The report believes many problems have arisen by having such a large number of civilians including an inability to supervise logistical operations to ensure money is being well spent. The report also notes an estimated 30,000 private security personnel have been hired to protect US government civilians working in Iraq. The presence of private security companies has antagonized many members of the military since those in the armed forces ear about $160-$190 per day as contrasted with private fees that can go up to $1,222 a day.

The press has recently been filled with reports of huge cost overruns by private contractors who have been allocated at least $100 billion for projects in Iraq that, for the most part, have either not even begun or completed. It is clear if America has to fight wars it needs a draft so there are sufficient soldiers available to do the job. During World War II, the famous Seabees were famous for the quick manner in which they constructed airfields or did the jobs currently being done by private contractors at a much lower cost.

Senate Places Curbs On Private Contractors in Iraq

The Senae Armed Services Committee is writing new legislation that impacts roles played by private contractors in the Iraq war. One provision would prohibit comtract employees from performing “inherently governmental” security operations. the second prevents them from conducting interrogation of detainees during or after hostilities. Senator Carl Levin expressed the view, “We’ve seen a real problem..where some contractors are performing what are essentially governmental functions in combat areas.” The proposed legislation will also apply to private contractors working with the State Department.

It now remains unclear which body will be responsible for performing security functions in combat areas. Levin indicated the numbers entailed in this entire issue are rather small and if the military requires additional military police that issue could be addressed.

At present about 14,000 private contractors are providing security for military personnel. During prior wars, the military handled its own security and there is no reason why they cannot do so in Iraq.

Afghan Aid Money Winds Up In Corporate Hands

A report by the Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief clams too much money destined to help the people lof afghanistan is spent on foreign worker high salaries, security and their living arrangements. Since 2001, the international community has pledged $25 billion in help but has only delivered $15 billion to the people of Afghanistan. Of the $15 billion about 40% of it–some $6 billion– goes back to donor countries in corporate profits and consultant salaries. According to the report; ” A vast amount of aid is absorbed by high salaries, living, security, transport and accomodation costs for expatriates working for consulting firms or contractors. The cost of a full-time consultant working in Afghanistan is around $250,000 per year. That is about 1,000 times the salary of an Afghan civil servant who receives about $1,000 yearly.

Amy Frumin, who works with the Council on Foreign Relations, believes the criticism is unfair since it is difficult finding good people for these tasks. “You have to pay them good money to do that. They’re still having trouble finding people to fill these positions. It’s a dangerous place. Not many people are willing to risk their limbs.”

The report notes the US allocates close to half its funds to five large US contractors, and “it is clear that substantial amounts of aid continue to be absorbed in corporate profits.” In the two years following the invasion of Afghanistan, that nation recieved $57 per capita while Bosnia and East Timor received $679 and $233.

OP course NATO and US troops fight and work in Afghanistan for much lower wages than the average consultant. Perhaps, we should designate all those troops as “consultants” and pay them accordingly.

Congress Seeks Military Control Over Private Contractors

Congress is prepared to take new action ensuring the United States military exerts control over the actions of private contractors in Iraq and elsewhere. Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Service Committee, said Congress will insert such provisions in the 2008 defense spending bill. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has already moved to implement new rules for private guards which will specify how and when they can use force in carrying out their duties. However, so far, she has not accepted the desire of many members of Congress that private contractors should be placed under control of the United States military. Levin was firm in insisting new language will be inserted into the defense spending bill, “whether she likes it or not.”

The entire matter of allowing private contractors to conduct their own war activities is a first in American history. The emergence of private war activities stems from the nation’s failure to implement a draft system if it desires engaging in wars. The private contractors today do work that was performed by members of the armed forces in World War II or Korea or Vietnam. No one ever heard any tales of erratic behavior on the part of Seabees in World War II. For some reason, they didn’t go around shooting civilians.