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Thread: Feds: Blackwater Saves Taxpayers Money

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    Feds: Blackwater Saves Taxpayers Money

    The GAO has come out with a report that says Blackwater, and other private contractors, save the taxpayers almost a billion dollars per year.

    The government's use of private security contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan has been blasted as costly to the image of the U.S., and to the country's bottom line, because a company like Blackwater can charge as much as $1222 a day for a hired gun.

    But a new government report says they may actually have saved U.S. taxpayers money. The State Department saves roughly $900 million a year using private firms to protect American diplomats in Iraq rather than relying on U.S. government employees, according to a recently published review by the non partisan Government Accounting Office.
    I have some observations to make about this:

    1) It goes to show you how wasteful our government is, if $1,200.00 or more per day for a mercenary saves us money.

    2) If we are going to use mercenaries, then in order to keep them disciplined, instead of running around and toasting innocent civilians, we need to put them under the military chain of command, and make them responsible for their actions, just as regular soldiers are.

    3) Finally, it is not the money that is most important, but our reputation, which many mercenaries have managed to drag into the ditch. When we lose our reputation, we lose everything. Better to pay more money for better professionals, who wont give America a black eye. Who are these better professionals? Why they are our own soldiers, of course.

    Here is my own proposal - If we hire private contractors to do some of our gun slinging for us, then make them subject to the military chain of command. Create a division for them, separate from the Army, but let them be just as subject to the UCMJ as any soldier. If they go off the reservation, then make them subject to courts martial, just as if they were in the military, and if they deserve it, send them to Leavenworth. I am willing to bet dollars to donuts that their going off the reservation would become a rare event, if they knew that there would be consequences for doing so.

    Discussion?

    Article is here.
    Last edited by danarhea; 03-12-10 at 05:14 PM.
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    Re: Feds: Blackwater Saves Taxpayers Money

    From your source:

    The state department did not have to pay overtime or provide benefits or vacation time to the contractors.
    When did our military start getting overtime?

    I would really like to see this report for more details, because I have some real questions about some aspects of it. For example, you are paying benefits and vacation time for soldiers, no matter what they do, so is this really a savings?
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    Re: Feds: Blackwater Saves Taxpayers Money

    Quote Originally Posted by danarhea View Post
    I have some observations to make about this:

    1) It goes to show you how wasteful our government is, if $1,200.00 or more per day for a mercenary saves us money.
    It's much more reflective of how much it costs to train our military and develop the sort of skills necessary to be an effective fighting force.

    Our insistence on a voluntary fighting force creates a great demand for able and talented recruits and high-tech, automated equipment that requires fewer operators and less training.

    Ex-military "mercenaries" possess extremely valuable skillsets and most likely devoted a lot of time serving their country for pennies in order to obtain them.

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    Re: Feds: Blackwater Saves Taxpayers Money

    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor View Post
    It's much more reflective of how much it costs to train our military and develop the sort of skills necessary to be an effective fighting force.

    Our insistence on a voluntary fighting force creates a great demand for able and talented recruits and high-tech, automated equipment that requires fewer operators and less training.

    Ex-military "mercenaries" possess extremely valuable skillsets and most likely devoted a lot of time serving their country for pennies in order to obtain them.
    That is not at all what the article says. Which is part of why I would like to see the actual report. Either the article is way off on what the report says, or the report itself is screwy.
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    Re: Feds: Blackwater Saves Taxpayers Money

    Quote Originally Posted by danarhea View Post
    The GAO has come out with a report that says Blackwater, and other private contractors, save the taxpayers almost a billion dollars per year.
    I have no doubt this is true. These types of contractors are treated as if they are "too good to let go", no matter what they do. I think it's more a reflection of the rate of turnover and burnout in our military than of the quality of the military's training. They are also tasked with jobs that our military can't or won't do. It's a huge Catch-22 type situation.
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    Re: Feds: Blackwater Saves Taxpayers Money

    Quote Originally Posted by Redress View Post
    From your source:



    When did our military start getting overtime?

    I would really like to see this report for more details, because I have some real questions about some aspects of it. For example, you are paying benefits and vacation time for soldiers, no matter what they do, so is this really a savings?
    It doesn't look like it's just referring to military, but rather to state department employees/guards as well. Based on the article, it looks like where the State Department doesn't use blackwater contracts, they have to hire and train their own guards which is more costly.
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    Re: Feds: Blackwater Saves Taxpayers Money

    Quote Originally Posted by Redress View Post
    That is not at all what the article says. Which is part of why I would like to see the actual report. Either the article is way off on what the report says, or the report itself is screwy.
    I had commented on dan's comments w/o reading the article. I don't think what I said conflicts with the article, but perhaps applies mostly to the 8% who aren't foreign nationals.

    The point about having manpower issues is very real though. We pay for training, overtime and all that because we don't have enough enlisted personnel and need to hire (and often train) civilian contractors to perform military duties (often more cost-effective anyway).

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    Re: Feds: Blackwater Saves Taxpayers Money

    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor View Post
    We pay for training, overtime and all that because we don't have enough enlisted personnel and need to hire (and often train) civilian contractors to perform military duties (often more cost-effective anyway).
    Hard to believe with what these mercenaries get paid. And in any case, mercenaries are a sorry substitute for soldiers anyway, as the bottom line to them is a paycheck, whereas the bottom line to a solider is service to one's country.
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    Re: Feds: Blackwater Saves Taxpayers Money

    Quote Originally Posted by faminedynasty View Post
    Hard to believe with what these mercenaries get paid.
    But that's exactly what this report concludes. I think you're underestimating the costs involved in recruiting and training a soldier to the point that they're capable of performing the services of these employees.


    And in any case, mercenaries are a sorry substitute for soldiers anyway, as the bottom line to them is a paycheck, whereas the bottom line to a solider is service to one's country.
    And what does that matter in terms of their ability to stand guard at the gate of an embassy? Do you need some particularly strong love for your country to perform what is essentially a security guard function?
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    Re: Feds: Blackwater Saves Taxpayers Money

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    But that's exactly what this report concludes. I think you're underestimating the costs involved in recruiting and training a soldier to the point that they're capable of performing the services of these employees.

    And what does that matter in terms of their ability to stand guard at the gate of an embassy? Do you need some particularly strong love for your country to perform what is essentially a security guard function?
    The average Soldier or Marine doesn't even have the necessary training or security clearance to guard VIPs or sensitive installations. Most of the mercenaries are former special forces, which makes the petty insinuations about their love of money over country quite comical. Some people think they just woke up one day and decided to join Black Water...

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