PMC’s Return to Iraq

US contractors in Iraq

Behind the president’s directive to ‘accelerate’ the counter-ISIS campaign came a surge in the number of contractors assisting in the campaign against ISIS.

The number of private contractors working for the U.S. Defense Department in Iraq grew eight-fold over the past year, a rate that far outpaces the growing number of American troops training and advising Iraqi soldiers battling Islamic State militants.

The sharp increase, disclosed in a recent Pentagon report to Congress, underscores the military’s reliance on civilians even for missions with relatively small troop presence.

“If you look at the size and the composition of the forces that have been deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, that’s changed markedly in the past year,” said Rick Brennan, a senior political scientist at the RAND Corp. and a retired Army officer.

As of January, 2,028 contractors were in Iraq, up from just 250 one year earlier, according to the Pentagon’s data. There are roughly 3,700 American troops there now, compared to 2,300 in January 2015.

 That number of military contractors represents just a fraction of the contractors employed by the U.S. in Iraq. In addition to the 2,028 Pentagon contractors, another 5,800 are employed by other agencies, including the State Department.

In the 1980s, the U.S. military decided to hire contractors to work in support roles that had historically been done by troops. That includes jobs like food services, maintaining housing units, water purification and “all those those other things that go with maintaining troops in the field for a long time,” Brennan said. The plus-up in Iraq is likely for contractors in those types of roles.

“What’s occurred then is as you deploy more forces to theater, you have to provide increased total number of contractors,” Brennan said.

During the Iraq War, there was a little bit more than one-to-one ratio of contractors to soldiers, he said. Now in Iraq, more than 30 percent (618) of the contractors are working in maintenance and logistics jobs. Nearly 20 percent (381) are translators and 13 percent (263) are in base support positions, according to the data. Contractors are also working in security, transportation, construction, communication support, training, management and administrative roles.

Nearly 70 percent of the contractors are American citizens, 20 percent are third-country nationals and the remaining are local Iraqis. The number of contractors the Pentagon can employ in Iraq is not capped, according to Col. Steve Warren, spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve.

Many of the contractors in Iraq and neighboring countries are from well known warzone companies like KBR, DynCorp, and Fluor Corporation, the three firms hired by the Army’s Logistics Civil Augmentation Program, or LogCap. The Pentagon awards individual “task order” deals to these each time it needs to support troops overseas.

“It makes tailoring a unit much more responsive to the needs of the commander because you don’t have to try to rip people [with a trade specialty] from other installations,” Brennan said.

KBR, in a November presentation to investors, said its LogCap services work in Iraq “grew in the period with further growth possible.”

Besides the LogCap contractors, the Pentagon can award independent contracts, according to Andrew Hunter, a former Pentagon official who now director of the Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, in Washington. In some instances, the Pentagon hires contractors already working for the government in order to speed up the process.

Even though U.S. troops withdrew fully from Iraq in 2011, many contractors stayed behind working at the American embassy or in logistical roles maintaining Iraq’s military equipment.

Congress ordered the Pentagon to provide detailed information about battlefield contractors following an incident in which private military contractors working for Blackwater USA killed 17 Iraqi civilians in Nisour Square in Baghdad in September 2007.

Not all contractors in the warzone are base guards, laundry workers or chefs. The CIA and other intelligence agencies still use contractors like the former Blackwater or $2.2 billion firm DynCorp and other for paramilitary services. The number of those contractors, some who are closer to the battlefield than the military advisors, is classified and unknown to the public.

U.S. Central Command, which oversees military operations in the Middle East, has sent Congress regular updates about the number of contractors being employed in Iraq and Afghanistan since August 2008. In July 2008, just following the 2007 troop surge, there were 162,428 Pentagon-funded contractors in Iraq, according to the data.

Read the Original Article at Defense One

More Training, Less Talking

 

I had a guy email me recently asking me:  “Is it really that bad that we need to own all these weapons and train to protect ourselves every weekend?” “Our parents did not do this stuff, why are we?” “Are we getting duped into thinking that this TERRIBLE EVENT everybody is talking about is going to happen to us at any minute, so we better be ready and spend hard earned money on training and weapons that could be going into an IRA or our Kid’s vacation fund??..WTF???!”

It was an intriguing question, I must admit. It was intriguing to me personally, because honestly, I have never thought about it… it has always been my lifestyle to train….yeah at first it was a hobby, then it became my career, then it became a way of life; And that my friends is the rub I think. Thats the key to really understanding the mentality behind this sub-culture of “tactically minded civilians”…it has to become a lifestyle, if it is anything else, you will lack the drive and fortitude to continue with it….you will become a “tactical tourist” a “tactical golfer”…one of those guys that is a member of every cool “Warrior” forum out there, that attends every tactical/how to shoot a gun/how to be a mall ninja class imaginable..one of those guys that likes to argue why one instructor is better than another or why one instructor’s platform is superior….blah, blah blah…..you see, you started down the right path, the path to becoming a true warrior, but you slipped off and started following a trail very similar, a trail that petted your ego alot and made you feel good, but in the end was a waste of time and money. It is a sad tale with many victims.

OK, so you know when you make a statement like this there is one finger pointing at you and three back at me….The bottom line is you have to STOP talking and START Training..YOU have to develop goals of what you want to learn, find QUALITY people to teach you and GET TO WORK! Get off the tactical forums and get out of the “cult of personality” circus that many trainer’s fall into.  When I first started, I had no ideal of what I needed to learn, so I learned a little of everyhting…modern technique, point shooting, krav-maga, sambo, filipino knife, combative knife, systema, tomahawk fighting, how to pick a lock, how to bypass a siphon block, etc…and as time went on, I developed COURSES OF FIRE for each weapon system..of course your skill sets need to be all encompassing, not just weapon oriented, but FIGHT oriented. Your dry to live fire ratio should be like 70/30. This is something that can be done anywhere, so jot down a quick run thru and do it 10x a day. Your drills should change frequently,”Never get stale or satisfied” was a motto I once read on a gym wall, and I try to remember it frequently. Adapt your training to what your enemy is doing..for example, in the military, if VBIEDS (Vehicle Born IED’s) are on the rise, then “How to Assault a moving or static vehicle” becomes priority on the training calendar…we need to do the same, if Active Shooter or Home Invasions are on the rise, we need to hit that head on with REAL WORLD type drills.

So bottom line guys, let’s stop arguing about the best way to do something and just find what works for us and go with it. Develop your own courses of fire and stick to a live/dry fire program religously. Stay away from Forums except for good information and even then, filter it through the bullshit strainer. Monitor the time you spend arguing about a topic and the time you spend actually training on that topic.

 

Stay Dangerous.