Now Playing: Stop Military Industrial spending / policy abuse and crooked contarctor no bid projects
Blackwater is just the tip of the iceberg
President Bush opened the floodgates for outsourcing government jobs, and we're still reeling from the effects.Blackwater (now known as Xe), Halliburton, DynCorp, KBR, and Triple Canopy are just some of the multitude of private, for-profit corporations that became integral parts of the American war machine during the simultaneous Iraq and Afghanistan wars.There is already legislation that has been introduced to tackle some of this problem. The Stop Outsourcing Security Act would prohibit the American government from using mercenaries to fight our wars.But military contractors are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to reckless government outsourcing.
We have an opportunity to change direction. The Obama administration is seeking public comments on the definition of "inherently governmental" functions, which sets the parameters government-wide for what can and cannot be outsourced.Submit a public comment to the Office of Federal Procurement Policy.
It's vital that we speak out to make sure the federal government steps back from the Bush-era practice of dismantling our government and giving free rein to Blackwater and companies like it.The role of Blackwater in Iraq and Afghanistan offers a clear picture of the rot that infects our government when we outsource important functions to private entities that only care about their own bottom lines.When we use private contractors, we sacrifice even the insufficient transparency and accountability we have over our military.
Meanwhile, our reliance on greedy and shameless entities magnifies both the human and monetary cost of war.
In 2007, Erik Prince, the former head of Blackwater, testified before Congress that over 90 percent of Blackwater's contracts were with the federal government (and publicly available data shows over 2/3 of those government contracts were awarded as no-bid contracts).Weeks before Prince's testimony, Blackwater mercenaries needlessly slaughtered 17 civilians in Nisour Square in Baghdad while guarding American State Department officials. Despite massive and widespread outrage in Iraq and elsewhere, the State Department still has a contract with Blackwater to provide protection for its personnel.
There's no justifiable reason why our government ought to outsource the decision to pull the trigger and take another life in our name. And what's true for shooting a gun and taking a life is also true for a whole host of broad areas where our of government should act directly, not through a company looking to squeeze a buck out of the process. Speak out and submit a public comment about the definition of "inherently governmental" functions.
This issue is, of course, about more than Blackwater, and it's about more than military contractors. The lack of clarity about what can and cannot be outsourced and the willingness of the American government to outsource as much as possible has allowed the role of federal contractors to metastasize and transform in horrific ways.It's even gotten to the point that we cannot adequately oversee contracts and have contractors evaluating the performance of other contractors on behalf of the American government.
We can no longer allow the government to abdicate responsibility of core government functions based upon the unfounded hope that the profit motive will somehow ensure everything will turn out okay.We need to speak out.
There are some things that only the government should do. This outsourcing craze needs to come to an end. Submit your public comment about "inherently governmental" functions today!
I am very concerned about the outsourcing of government jobs to private contractors. I think the proposed OFPP policy letter should reflect a definition of "inherently governmental" that specifically incorporates all "critical" and "closely associated with inherently governmental" functions, and should explicitly reject the notion that a federal agency should presume to outsource any function not reserved for federal employees.
I am especially, although not exclusively, concerned with the use of private security contracts. As we have seen with the reliance on private military contractors in Afghanistan and Iraq, the performance of mission critical security functions by profit-driven contractors is at a minimum counterproductive and can be immoral and criminal.
OFPP, through its proposed policy letter, should add to its list of inherently governmental functions the following physical security activities: guard services, convoy security services, pass and identification services, plant protection services, the operation of prison or detention facilities, and any security operations that might reasonably require the use of deadly force.
Additionally, the proposed OFPP policy letter should specifically exclude contractors from performing the following: support of intelligence activities (including covert operations), interrogation, military and police training, and the repair and maintenance of weapon systems.
Given the resistance of contractors to effective oversight, and the costs and controversies associated with the contracting out of these functions, the government must in-source these services to provide the proper oversight and accountability.
Therefore, the list of "inherently governmental" functions ought to include these activities explicitly.
I furthermore urge that OFPP incorporate the new definition and compliance guidance into the Federal Acquisition Regulation.
To send your own letter click here: