Posts Tagged CRS

Publications: CRS On Contracting–Learning From The Past And Preparing For The Future, By Moshe Schwartz

This is a great little document, just because Moshe Schwartz has been in the middle of this contracting reporting game for a long time, and has come up with some great lessons learned. He also works for the congressional research service and has authored several reports on the war that I have commented on in the past.

Some stuff that jumped out at me was the idea of teaching ‘how to manage contractors’ in the military academies and schools. To actually have mock contractors on exercises with the military, so officers and NCO’s have some experience working with this group. Especially since we make up over ‘half’ of the forces in the war–it kind of makes sense that the military should learn to how to work with and manage this force. So bravo to Moshe for pointing this out and I hope the military continues to pursue this and professionalize contractor management.

This leads me to another thought. I think the best group to set up mock contracting scenarios during exercises, would be contractors themselves. So perhaps this would be a niche that a company can provide to the military? There are numerous companies that provide mock villages and cultural training to the military to better prepare the troops before they deploy. The same concept could be applied to training the military on how best to work with and manage contractors.

One of the mantras of the military is to train as you fight and fight as you train. Given the extent to which contractors may be relied upon in future operations, conducting exercises without contractors could be akin to training without half of the force present. A number of analysts have called for incorporating contractors and contractor scenarios into appropriate military exercises to better prepare military planners and operational commanders for future operations. -pg. 7-8

Another way to look at this is that contractors, much like Iraqis or Afghans, are a group that you must understand ‘culturally’ in order to best work with them. I say culturally, because strangely enough, not all contractors are prior service. And not all contractors come from the US. So you have a lot of factors that the military command has to deal with, if they want those contractors to be assets to the mission and not liabilities.

Which brings me to the next point of interest. Moshe mentioned that as the wars wind down, and troops and budgets get cut, the military will be looking for ways of saving money and expanding the usefulness of the manpower they have. So to do that would require a smarter use of contractors to support the programs they have. The British mentioned this as well in their drive to save money and stay operational.

To what extent will potential budget cuts or force structure changes impact DoD reliance on contractors?
As discussed in this report, post-Cold War budget cuts resulted in an increased reliance on contractors. According to reports, budget cuts and plans to restructure the military in Britain will result in an increased reliance on contractors to provide operational contract support. Further budget cuts to the US military could have similar result. One question for Congress is to what extent budget cuts, the imposition of personnel caps, or a restructuring of the force will lead to an increased reliance on contractors? -pg. 12

Not only that, but if you remember the paper written by Bruce Stanley as to the relationship between the cycles of war and contractor use, it makes even more sense why we should remember these lessons so we can be prepared for future conflict.

This study argues that when political leaders choose to reduce their nation’s military force structure, they may face conflicts beyond their anticipated scope and duration. Such decision-makers are left with no choice but to legalize and legitimize the use of PMCs resulting in the increased use of PMCs as a deliberate tool of foreign policy.

Or how I interpret this is that a nation wants to enjoy the peace dividend when the war ends, so they cut budgets and reduce the force to make everyone happy and recover economically. But then another war happens several years down the road, and you go to war with army you have and not the one you wish you had. So we play catch up and we use contractors to fill the gaps or assist in support–which is what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan post Cold War.

Contractors are pretty vital to that game of catch up, which is of strategic importance to this nation. So yeah, learning from past mistakes and preparing for the future is something we need to do here, and bravo to Moshe and others for making that point.  -Matt

 

Operational Contract Support: Learning From The Past And Preparing For The Future, By Moshe Schwartz

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Quotes: PSC Usage In Afghanistan Is Highest Recorded Number In US History

What I wanted to do here is to highlight some very important and historical statistics of this CRS report I posted a couple of weeks back. This gives a very clear picture as to how significant private security contractors are to the war effort in Afghanistan, and the sacrifice of PSC’s. Especially the sacrifice of local national PSC’s, which account for most of the deaths of this group.

Although I must emphasize ‘recorded’ here, because no one recorded the amount of US PSC use during our very early wars.  I personally think that privateer usage was one of the highest number of PSC’s used by the US during times of war. Although a strong argument could also be made that the expansion of the west in the US would be the most impressive number of PSC’s used during time of war.

Pioneers, investors, the military, the railroads, cattle companies, shipping companies, banks, law enforcement etc. were all highly dependent upon on private security in all of it’s forms to protect lives and investments against Indian combatants and criminals. During this time period, there were 8 contractors awarded the Medal of Honor as well.

And of course this expansion of the west and resulting Indian Wars and land wars covered a very long time period of conflict in the US. For that reason, I would estimate that this time period would be the highest use of PSC’s by the US. It just wasn’t recorded by any government accounting office. Although Buffalo Bill did a pretty good job of bringing some attention to the matter with his Wild West Show. (which ran from 1883- 1913, a 30 year long show!)-Matt

Number of Private Security Contractors in Afghanistan
Since December 2009, the number of PSC personnel in Afghanistan has exceeded the number of PSC personnel in Iraq. According to DOD, as of March 2011, there were 18,971 private security contractor personnel in Afghanistan. This represents the highest recorded number of private security contractor personnel used by DOD in any conflict in the history of the United States. Local nationals made up 95% of all security personnel.
According to DOD, for the 15-month period of September 2007 to December 2008, the number of security contractors in Afghanistan increased by 16%, from 3,152 to 3,689. However, from December 2008 to March 2011, the number of security contractors increased from 3,689 to 18,971, an increase of over 400%. DOD has attributed the increase in contractors to increased operational tempo and efforts to stabilize and develop new and existing forward operating bases.
Security Contractors Compared to Total Contractor and Troop Levels
From December 2008 to March 2011, the number of U.S. troops and DOD contractor personnel in Afghanistan increased. However, the number of security contractors increased at a much faster rate (414%) than total contractors (26%) or troop levels (207%). As of March 2011, security contractor personnel made up 21% of all DOD contractors and was equal to 19% of the size of total U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan.
Casualty Rates of PSC Personnel vs. Uniformed Personnel
According to DOD, from June 2009 to November 2010, 319 private security contractor personnel working for DOD have been killed in action in Afghanistan, compared to 626 U.S. troops killed in action over the same period.28 Adjusting for the difference in the number of PSC personnel compared to troops, a PSC employee working for DOD in Afghanistan is 2.75 times more likely to be killed in action than uniformed personnel.  More contractor security personnel were killed in action providing mobile security (233 people or 73% of fatalities) than static security, even though those providing mobile security are only 25%- 30% of the total PSC workforce.
Nationality of Contractors
According to DOD, since September 2007, local nationals have made up 90% or more of all security contractors in Afghanistan.
Link to report here.

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Publications: CRS Report-DoD Use Of PSC’s In Iraq And Afghanistan, February 2011

CRS Report–The Department of Defense’s Use of Private Security Contractors in Afghanistan and Iraq: Backgr…

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Afghanistan: Up To 56,000 More Contractors Likely For Afghanistan, CRS Says

   This is a continuation from yesterday’s post about the CRS report.  You don’t hear this figure in all the crazy surge talk, but you sure do hear a lot about the troop surge or civilian surge.  I guess we are not surge-worthy? lol

   What I thought was interesting in the report, is that they don’t know how many security contractors there are in Afghanistan, but the report promises that this data will be in the next report.  Hmmmm.  Suspicious.

   There used to be data for this. They have the numbers for Iraq at about 12,684 security contractors at this time. -Matt

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Up to 56,000 more contractors likely for Afghanistan, congressional agency says

By Walter PincusWednesday, December 16, 2009

The surge of 30,000 U.S. troops into Afghanistan could be accompanied by a surge of up to 56,000 contractors, vastly expanding the presence of personnel from the U.S. private sector in a war zone, according to a study by the Congressional Research Service.

CRS, which provides background information to members of Congress on a bipartisan basis, said it expects an additional 26,000 to 56,000 contractors to be sent to Afghanistan. That would bring the number of contractors in the country to anywhere from 130,000 to 160,000.

The tally “could increase further if the new [administration] strategy includes a more robust construction and nation building effort,” according to the report, which was released Monday and first disclosed on the Web site Talking Points Memo.

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Publications: CRS Contractors Study, as of December 2009

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