sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Contractors


Do you like the AK 47 Mini Draco Shorty with the 75 round drum magazine (right)? Way too heavy for practical use, BUT as a spray and pray weapon in close quarters or in a jungle environment where you want to cut brush, the Mini Draco is an interesting option.

In my comings and goings, I recently ran into some Russian mercenaries carrying Mini Dracos, which they called pistols, and I guess that they are.

Whether or not the next president is a nasty, old crone with a handler close at hand with the diazepam in the likely event that she goes into one of those famous seizures --- or the nation selects Donald Trump, one thing is certain and that is another land war in the Middle East. The other certainty is the use of mercenaries to fight that war, at least in part. In the United States, we don't call them by that name. We use the term, "contractor". 

I do not suggest that the words "contractor" or "mercenary" are bad or that the use of civilians to replace soldiers is always a bad idea. Civilians can do things outside of the bounds of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. It screws up your military service record, but it's not all that uncommon that small groups of special forces types are 'separated from service', perform a task and then are 'sheep-dipped' back into their particular branch -- say, the US Navy, for example. What they did as civilians is unspoken. I could give examples, but I'd end up like one of Hillary's advisors - shooting myself in the back seven times in an act of suicide. So it's all hypothetical here on the blog.

Private military contractors perform tasks once thought to be inherently governmental, such as raising foreign armies, conducting intelligence analysis and trigger-pulling. During the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the trigger-pullers constituted about 15 percent of all contractors. Special Forces types are lured to that sort of job because you leave the service and do the same job the next day, pulling the same trigger, for three times the pay or more. 
Contractors also encourage mission creep, because contractors don't count as "boots on the ground." Congress does not consider them to be troops, and therefore contractors do not count again troop-level caps in places like Iraq. The U.S. government does not track contractor numbers in war zones. As a result, the government can put more people on the ground than it reports to the American people, encouraging mission creep and rendering contractors virtually invisible.
For decades now, the centrality of contracting in American warfare—both on the battlefield and in support of those on the battlefield—has been growing. During World War II, about 10 percent of America’s armed forces were contracted. During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, that proportion leapt to 50 percent.  Today, America can no longer go to war without the private sector. Today, 75 percent of U.S. forces in Afghanistan are contracted. Only about 10 percent of these contractors are armed, but that isn't the point. America is waging a war largely via contractors, and U.S. combat forces would be impotent without them. If this trend continues, we might see 80 or 90 percent of the force contracted in future wars.

The Russians are not dependent on contractors because of the nature of the social structure in that nation. Most independent Russians find employment on the national stage, outside of Russia. The exception to that is in places like Ukraine, where the presence of Russian soldiers fighting along side the pro-Russian rebels and operating sophisticated weapons systems could be embarrassing. So the Russians are no different from ourselves to that extent.

The French instituted the French Foreign Legion to serve its interest where the loss of French soldiers would be a problem back home and it's been a noteworthy success since 1831. It started out as a way to get foreigners sponging off the system on the streets of French cities both gainful employment, a pathway to French citizenship and out of France to fight. Legionnaires swear an oath to the Legion, not to France. They are led by French officers. Is that where the US is headed? Maybe. I've heard it bandied about.


12 comments:

  1. Interesting -- a return to mercenary armies.

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    1. When I wrote this, I reflected on the use of Swiss pikemen as mercenaries.

      Nearly all of the French infantry at The Battle of Crécy were Genoese crossbowmen. There were French men-at-arms (dismounted armored men) as well, but their numbers were no more than 20% of the Genoese contingent. The mounted knights and nobles were French, naturally.

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  2. I like the musing here, and it's very plausible. Sometimes, I think about the weird possibilities that nobody sees coming. For example, when blogger Solaratov was in Rhodesia, which was a lovely country, I don't think he ever thought it would go completely tits up like it did.

    So, my highly unlikely prediction is that the American redoubt will ultimately be defended by Canadian Amazon women mercenaries trained by 3%ers to counter the vast army of invading Salvadorans, Somalis, border Mexicans and Sudanese that Barack has brought in from the south. No one could foresee these brave Kurd-like warrior gals, wearing their signature Sarah Palin glasses and blowing away the wide-eyed invaders with their trusty moose cannons.

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    1. You see, that's why YOU are the rocket scientist. You have that vision and the rest of us do not...

      However an American Legion, made of of wetbacks/illegal aliens/undocumented guests was discussed as a pathway to citizenship.

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  3. That Draco shorty almost looks like that fictitious Vulcan-like weapon that the black guy in 'Predator' used to chop down half the jungle when he thought he saw something.

    You know, as Jesse once said, 'I don't got time to bleed.'

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    1. You mean "Ole' Painless".

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    2. I know the guy that they went to to build that prop. It "fires" propane. He made a lot of special purpose equipment for the SPECOPS community.

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  4. Grunt gave me a good chuckle. I learned a lot here. I had no idea the contractor/merc count was so high.
    Be safe and God bless.

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    1. So, you don't take my Canadian Amazon Mercenary prediction seriously? I was completely sober when I wrote that, too.

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    2. Linda may have had a crisis of faith, but I don't, Mr. Grunt. Though I always thought that the Canadian Amazons were actually tooth fairies in disguise.

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  5. Did you see the new handheld 5.56mm microgun?

    And my daughter just accepted a job offer from a contract firm. She'll be leaving the Army by November then reporting to Ft. Bragg and doing the same thing - teaching sigint. She's got over eight years in the military and has had enough. Mom and I are so relieved ... she may still get sent overseas but only on a short term basis to give training for special missions.

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    1. I'm happy to hear that she separated from the service and that she's doing something that she enjoys. She's a very smart, attractive, ambitious lady, who will go far in this life.

      I haven't seen the 5.56 microgun, but I'm sure that I'd like it.

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