By Gerry Schumacher, Steve Gansen
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Extra resources for A Bloody Business: America's War Zone Contractors and the Occupation of Iraq
They are actively engaged in dangerous counter-drug operations. Some political activists and media personalities have alleged that these contractors are conducting counterinsurgency operations. When pilots, crew chiefs, or maintenance personnel are never heard from again, the famously less-than-candid contracting firms don’t exactly hand deliver telegrams to the victims’ relatives. Individual contractors understand the dangers and have no expectations for flags to fly at half mast for the ultimate sacrifice.
This thinking ignores the realities of insurgent warfare, the requirements of nation building, the complexities of battlefield technologies, and the willingness of volunteers to join a downsized military in the absence of a national draft. Some people might be surprised to know just how many civilian contractors are out there working in the shadows, performing high-risk jobs in training, equipping, and developing foreign troops, and who are influencing battle plans in dozens of countries throughout the world.
S. armed forces get an adequate return on their investment. The military has the option of increasing the time requirements remaining after schooling is complete, or improving the pay and working conditions for highly skilled personnel. Perhaps it isn’t a bad thing that the Department of Defense is faced with some healthy competition. S. Air Force, in particular, has had a tough time through the years retaining pilots who might be lured out of the service for much higher paying jobs flying commercial airliners.