Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Should we care if a contractor dies in the war zones?

“I’ll say it, because it’s true. If a few contractors get killed nobody seems to care,” he said. “We’ve over-relied on contractors because they’re, like, free.”   Christopher Shays April 25, 2011

Acquisitive Mind at Federal Computer Week

By Matthew Weigelt

How vital are contractors to U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan?

A former senior Defense Department official said April 25 contractor employees, who encompass half of the workers overseas, are at least worth a notice from the government when they are killed during their work in contingency operations.

DOD sends out multiple notices each day about military casualties, particularly in war zones in southwest Asia. The announcements note the soldier’s age, hometown, rank and battalion. They also say in very general terms how the solider died.

Meanwhile, contractors are seen as expendable or of little consequence, although they are vital to fulfilling operations, said Jacques Gansler, formerly undersecretary of defense for acquisition, logistics and technology. He made the comment to the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan. DOD operations wouldn’t succeed without contractors, he said..

“Last week by coincidence I talked with the Department of Defense person who publishes the weekly listing of people killed, and I insisted that they also list the contractors,” he said, adding that more contractors have died often times than people in uniform.

Contractors are critical to the government’s success in contingency operations yet they’re undervalued despite being half of the total workforce and the crutch on which the government rests.

Gansler, who led the Commission on Army Acquisition and Program Management in Expeditionary Operations and is now with the University of Maryland’s Center for Public Policy and Private Enterprise, said language matters in how contractors are described in publications and reports — or the lack of any mention — from the government.

If contractors are depicted only as the default option, they will continue to be cast in the same light, he said.

Christopher Shays, co-chairman of the commission and former House member, agreed with that view of contractors.

“I’ll say it, because it’s true. If a few contractors get killed nobody seems to care,” he said. “We’ve over-relied on contractors because they’re, like, free.”

Does the government — particularly DOD — need to give more attention to the deaths of contractors in combat zones? What do you think?  Please go to the original post and leave your comments

April 25, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contingency Contracting, Contractor Casualties, Department of Defense, Government Contractor, Iraq, Wartime Contracting | , , , | Leave a comment

For U.S., managing foreign media is a no-win proposition

By Walter Pincus at the Washington Post  April 25, 2011

When is the Defense Department going to quit trying to manage other countries’ media?

This month, the United States Forces-Afghanistan is back in the market for a contractor to assist the command’s deputy chief of staff of communications in carrying out “proactively” public affairs activities and countering “misinformation in the media,” according to a solicitation notice.

It carries the same old slogans: “The information domain is a battle space and it is one in which [the U.S. Afghan command] must take aggressive actions to win the important battle of perception.”

This not the first of these multimillion-dollar Pentagon PR contracts. Nor is it the first one that potentially could run for five years. By the way, that would it expires in 2016, two years after our combat troops are scheduled to have left.

Face it. The overall U.S. record of influencing media in a foreign country — particularly those where U.S. troops have fought — is not very good, and recent attempts by U.S. military units have been even worse.

Take Iraq, for example……

April 25, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Department of Defense, Government Contractor, Journalists, Propaganda | , , , , | 1 Comment

ArmorGroups Danny Fitzsimons was facing racially motivated assault charges

Murderer was facing race attack charges in UK before killing in Iraq

Daily Gazette  April 25, 2011

A DOUBLE murderer who served with the Army in Colchester was due to stand trial for racially aggravated assault in the UK before he killed two contractors in Iraq.

Former paratrooper Danny Fitzsimons, 31, was sentenced to at least 20 years in an Iraqi prison earlier this year.

But his violent tendencies had already surfaced with Fitzsimons facing an assault charge at Bolton Crown Court, according to the Manchester Evening News.

See Tuesday’s Gazette for the full story.  See original at The Daily Gazette

April 25, 2011 Posted by | ArmorGroup, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Iraq, Legal Jurisdictions, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , | Leave a comment