The New ‘Sport-Utility’ U.S. Army


The consequence of Donald Rumsfeld’s new, light on its feet and agile
military, organized for the new challenges of the 21st century, was to
fail us in the first land war test of that epoch—the exact opposite of
what he envisioned. Thus, he has outsourced for us the traditional
American  military he destroyed.

Rumsfeldtimemag
The consequence of Donald Rumsfeld’s new, light on its feet and agile
military, organized for the new challenges of the 21st century, was to
fail us in the first land war test of that epoch—the exact opposite of
what he envisioned. Thus, he has outsourced for us the traditional
American  military he destroyed.

Aegis Defence Services, Ltd., a Brit firm is a case in point.
They’re one of the civilian outfits in Iraq, currently holding up our
military pants. According to a Walter Pincus article in the Washington Post;

Aegis
provides about 300 guards to Corps of Engineers facilities in Iraq,
along with personal security escort teams for Corps personnel and
contractors when they travel to such sites. The firm also provides the
reconstruction liaison teams that travel the country to get updates on
projects and information about local communities.

Kicking in their share, “the U.S. government will provide about 134 vehicles, primarily sport-utility vehicles.” Sport-utility
vehicles are the light pickup trucks made by Toyota that are favored by
various terrorist groups and warlord militias in Iraq.

Genericshinseki
So, at least in that narrow area, we’ll be on an equal footing with the
bad guys. Rummy’s new Army is largely made up of mercenaries and
National Guard, but hey, who knew we were going into this war
underprepared? General Shinseki knew it and had the courage to say it to
the Congress. Courage is supposed to be revered in the military, but
for Shinseki it bought Rumsfeld’s rage and a forced early retirement.

The new and improved SUV military doesn’t feed its troops any more,
doesn’t provide guards for its own engineers or convoys, nor does it
(in many cases) even drive the trucks. Pincus reports

Aegis
provides about 300 guards to Corps of Engineers facilities in Iraq,
along with personal security escort teams for Corps personnel and
contractors when they travel to such sites. The firm also provides the
reconstruction liaison teams that travel the country to get updates on
projects and information about local communities.

In 2005, the U.S. special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction
investigated the Aegis contract and found a number of shortcomings.
Among them was that Aegis did not vet all of its Iraqi employees for
security, as required.

A sample check of the personnel records of 20 of 125 Iraqi nationals
then on the payroll found no evidence of an interview for six, no
evidence of a police background check on 18 and no records at all on
two. "As a result, there is no assurance that the Iraqi national employees do not pose an internal security threat," the inspection report said.

In response, Aegis managers said Iraqi police checks were too
difficult to obtain, given the destruction of past records. The
requirement was dropped. The report also said that the company agreed
that Iraqis would be vetted through the State Department system. The
inspection report said that, as of April 2005, only 17 of the "last"
213 Iraqis hired had been vetted through that system. Aegis employees
include foreign nationals, among whom are Gurkhas from Nepal, and all
must be vetted.

Unless they’re not. Unless it’s too difficult.

Gurkhas.
Can the French Foreign Legion be far behind? Rumsfeld is gone now and
not a moment too soon, rumored as he was to be about to outsource the
Marine Corps to India.

Colwpatricklang
One of the problems is pointed out by retired Army Col. W. Patrick Lang, who said last week (WaPo)

that contracting out intelligence collection and security for Army units and their contractors "results from actual military forces being too small." He added: "I can’t remember a subordinate commander considering mercenaries as part of his forces."

When a civilian group such as Aegis or Blackwater muddies up the chain of command, there effectively is no chain of command.
These guys make a lot more dough than doughboys and can refuse a
hazardous order as well, which doesn’t go down well with the troops.
Who can blame them? Are they subject to orders or suggestions?

Under the new contract now out for bids, the winner is to monitor all convoys, maintain a Web site, provide "Iraq-wide unclassified daily reports," as well as "provide relevant and timely intel/ops reports throughout Iraq" — referring to intelligence/operations reports.

The U.S. government will provide about 134 vehicles, primarily
sport-utility vehicles, but also armored personnel carriers. The
government will also furnish weapons and ammunition, but the contractor
must identify the people to whom the weapons will be issued. Employees
will have access to government dining facilities and post exchanges, "where available," and will be entitled to "acute medical and dental services to include medical evacuation under emergency circumstances . . . at no cost" while they are "in theater."

Welcome to the SUV army of the future.

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