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Is Army culture vanishing with contractors?

February 01, 2010 | Major John Pratt

Deploy down range today and you'll see a number of contractors working alongside the military doing a number of tasks. Estimates now say that there are approximately 7 to 1 ratio of civlian to military in combat. That is a significant amount. Why has the military and specifically from an Army perspective that there are so many civlilans in Iraq or Afghanistan? Has the Army lost it's ability to do our mission by ourselves? We have either downsized or consolidated specialized tasks that we no longer are grooming and develping the expertise to maintain those missions. Blame it on funding, OPTEMPO, or attrition of our military due to multiple deployments, the Army has lost it's technical expertise and loyalty. Sure we're all soldier's first and our MOS is secondary. Just as mercenaries are for hire, do we see an entire Army to include all the support required for hire as well? Have lost the loyalty, discipline, and patriotism required for a National Army? We are an Army that is contracted out and what is required for a mission is based on the flavor of the day. Sure, contractors bring a set of skills that we may or maynot have organic to the Army. And it's nice to have the expertise right here right now. However, what we don't get is the internal loyalty of the Army. Specifically, our ability to maintain a specialized culture in the Army that is unique and understood as part of a military organization. What you lose in a contractor is the lack of discipline and military bearing required for major military operations. These are just some of the things to consider and looking at the big picture. The cost-benefit analysis of contractors would indicate that contractors are essential to today's Army. However, it would be interesting to see how the amount of contractors on the battlefield has impacted the discipline and Army culture that cannot be captured on black and white.


  • dave
    2/1/2010 8:18 PM
    having contractors only shows the lack of fiscal and financial control rampant in our government. it is tantamount to mercenary recruitment..and creates a looming discourse especially with political allegiance...god help us if we ever have a coup..that is the fear
  • Jack Moman
    2/3/2010 12:12 PM
    Having 10 years of military service, late 50's through early 60's , I've wondered recently how the American GI felt about his pay compared to the contractor working alongside. I have several personal explanations, but will not share at this time. It just doesn't seem right to me. Somebody is making tons of money off taxpayers.

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