Growing Reliance on Contractors in Military Operations Demands Greater Control by Commanders
NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPT
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The American military faces a turning point in its conduct of warfare but has failed to recognize this reality. It is now highly dependent on contractors to perform a myriad of functions in support of deployed forces with the trend indicating even greater reliance in the future. In spite of this, the American military does not fully understand the level of its reliance and has not planned to mitigate the risk of contractor non-performance. This paper demonstrates this fact as well as the need for the American military to come to grips with the ramifications of its sourcing decisions and the possible loss of organic mission capabilities as back ups in instances where contractors fail to perform. It will include a list of recommendations for joint force commanders to mitigate the risk posed by reliance on contractors. The most significant recommendations contained herein are that joint force commanders must have a single point of contact for all contractors to ensure visibility and accountability, they must also have complete visibility of all contractor personnel supporting the mission and they must exercise caution when deciding to outsource functions to contractors due to the long lead time necessary to regenerate those functions in the military once they are lost. Finally, commanders must include all aspects of contracts and contractors in the planning process from the very start.
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics