Overseas Civilian Contractors

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Double-Hatting Around the Law: The Problem with Morphing Warrior, Spy and Civilian Roles

Defense, U.S. Military, U.S. Department of Defense

Peter W. Singer, Director, 21st Century Defense Initiative

Armed Forces Journal

June 01, 2010 —

Over the years, a dense code of laws has risen to divvy out the various authorities in our government. At the heart of these in national security are Title 10, which doles out the roles of manning, training and equipping the uniformed military, and Title 50, which defines various other roles, including the intelligence community. But what happens when we start to ignore those codes?
n the last few weeks, news stories have popped up that center on national security roles being “double-hatted” in some form or another. The Senate was recently asked to promote Army Gen. Keith Alexander to be commander of the new Cyber Command, which will coordinate and conduct America’s offense and defense in the emerging realm of cyberwar, as well as backstop domestic cybersecurity efforts at agencies such as the Homeland Security Department. Alexander, though, already had a job leading the National Security Agency, which conducts intelligence surveillance of that same space. This double-hatting is extending down into the service components that will support the new command such that we have a variety of serving military officers describing themselves as carrying out Title 10 and 50 roles, dependent on the exact task at that moment.By contrast, the House recently held a hearing titled “Rise of the Drones II.” Thankfully, the session wasn’t about giving George Lucas another try at ruining the “Star Wars” franchise, but on the campaign of unmanned airstrikes into Pakistan against al-Qaida, the Taliban and other militant leaders. More than 120 airstrikes have been carried out by Predator and Reaper aircraft. This massive air war is not being conducted by the Air Force, but instead is being run not-so-covertly by the CIA.

And then there is the continual spate of private contractors popping up in unexpected (and traditionally governmental) national security roles. At the CIA, for instance, officials were upset to learn about a Defense Department official who retasked a strategic communication contract (originally meant to understand local tribal politics in Afghanistan) into a network of clandestine contractors who were working as spies on both side of the Afghan-Pakistan border. By contrast, the military was unhappy to learn about the huge private contractor role in operating and supporting the CIA’s own fleet of unmanned combat aircraft (including firms that are part of the Blackwater-Xe network). This, though, is the pot calling the kettle black, since as much as 75 percent of the field support to the Air Force’s Predators is outsourced, while the Army has a unit of drones that is Orwellianly described as “government owned-contractor operated.”  Original Here

June 1, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, CIA, Civilian Contractors, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment