actions down the chainTwo stories about the same thing.
When I was in Kuwait last year, I drove a senior NCO to a meeting at Camp Arifjan to join a discussion about a set of changes the Army wanted to make in its administration of pre-combat training for units headed north into Iraq. I sat in the corner during the meeting, which brought together a group of civilian contractors from several companies, a group of soldiers who oversaw the training, a group of civilian employees from the DOD, and an Army officer who served as a contract manager.
The proposed changes were unremarkable, but they still led to shouting and frustration, and the meeting ended without the business being done. Every change in training operations required a change in contract terms, a process with many layers and a great deal of friction. Every action echoed through the bureaucracy, bouncing from headquarters to headquarters and generating new work, new requirements, new processes. Contractors wouldn't lift a wrench until the contract was changed to say they were being paid to lift it.
I also watched, another time, as a major in the training office sent an email to a contractor, criticizing the way the contractor was doing its business on behalf of the military and trying to give directions about the execution of its contract. Again, the action had a long echo, and resolution was long in coming. Field grade officers sent nasty emails back and forth. Meetings ran long.
So here's what I wonder as I read the news these days, and it's a question that I haven't seen addressed in any of the reporting:
Given that the U.S. military effort in Iraq is supported on a foundation of contract services, and given that Gen. David Petraeus is moving toward a system of
My bet is that a small legion of majors is racing along behind the changes Petraeus is making, scrambling to fix the contracts. And I bet we see, when the numbers start bubbling out in a few months, that the costs of the war are rising sharply to pay the contractors for the changes.