On August 13, 2016 I shared a few quick thoughts on the “outsourcing of war” via Twitter. I felt the need to archive these tweets here in case I need them in the future. I hope you find them useful.
– There have been a few books & articles recently published regarding the U.S. use of Contractors in places like Iraq & Afghanistan.
– These articles are often critical of this practice.
– I recently had a senior military officer tell me that he thought “If it’s important enough to do, it should be done by the U.S. military.”
– I look at this from a standpoint of Capability vs Symbolism.
– Capabilities-wise, above all else, I want the U.S. military to be able to deter near-peer Competitors & defeat them if necessary.
– To me, if I take a U.S. Military Member & send them overseas to do things that a Contractor could do it hurts U.S. military capability.
– 1st, the U.S. Military Member, instead of training to defeat a near-peer Competitor, is doing something else, & his skills are atrophying.
– 2nd, U.S. Military units aren’t as available to conduct the kind of training necessary to be prepared to defeat a near-peer Competitor.
– And their unit skills are atrophying.
– Thus the U.S. Military should use Contractors whenever possible as a way to ensure their near-peer competitor defeat skills don’t atrophy.
– To make a bad analogy, why take a Surgeon away from his surgery duties at a major nationwide hospital chain when a part-time EMT will do?
– Now let’s talk about Symbolism.
– In U.S. politics Contractors aren’t “Boots on the Ground” so conflicts can enlarge while maintaining soundbites that make voters smile.
– Externally, the rest of the world may view the U.S. using Contractors vice U.S. Military Members as an indication of lack of commitment.
– Another bad analogy, other countries may look at the U.S. Military like a Hallmark commercial “When You Care Enough to Send the Very Best.”
– Contractors are critical & the U.S. can’t go to contingency without them. However, there is no perfect answer & everything is a tradeoff.
– Tweet series complete.