Rick Perry talked about moving troops back into Iraq, if elected. The question I would ask, is with what Army? Rick Perry’s plans would result in the U.S. Army being unable to support troops in Iraq.
Let me start by briefly explaining what the U.S. did in order to field troops in Iraq and in Afghanistan.
- First, troops require food. Food in Iraq and Afghanistan needs to be contracted for, monitored, and provided. This is done by government contractors. Contracts are written and monitored by civilians. Folks from contracting agencies, mainly overseas contingency contracting, DCMA, and others write and manage the contracts. These contracts also needed to be audited by several organizations consisting of more civilians. It takes several years for a government employee to be trained to manage contracts, several years to be trained to audit, several years to be trained to manage contracts.
- Second, the troops need body armor, helmets, personal gear. These are produced by the private sector, but require a large number of civilian government workers to oversea testing, set testing requirements and procedures, determine requirements, and to adjust the gear based on changing conditions. Body armor is a great example. A soldier needs armor resistant to armor piercing weapons, and that is tested against — not only current and projected future threats, but that is updated as these threats change. This requires constant testing, constant management. And has saved lives.
- Of course, there are a whole host of base services: Security, energy, waste management, port-a-johns, gravel, etc that need to be built. And again, these are built by private companies managed by and contracted to by government civilian contractors.
- At the same time government civilians in the CIA, DII, and even in DOD and other agencies play important roles in any war effort gathering intelligence, planing, organizing, etc. The Iraq Green zone was filled with a literally a city of U.S. Federal civilian government workers, along with military and contractors.
- I could actually go on for hours, but the point here is that to manage a war, you actually need civilian federal government workers.
What is Rick Perry’s plan? Well, he plans to freeze the salaries of these workers — the ones who were in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the ones we would need for any military action or war. For how long? Until the budget is balanced. In other words, Perry plans to tell a critical component of our military that he plans to never provide them with a cost-of-living adjustment to balance inflation.
What would be the result? These folks would leave government. DOD has already reported that it is facing trouble retaining the talent it needs due to the current salary freeze. Should the freeze continue, DOD would eventually no longer be able to function.
There are times when everyone needs to take a hit. Reagan froze federal pay for 1 year to help with that. However, Perry wants to take things to the point where it would destroy our military, and put our freedom at risk.
It takes advanced degrees and years of experience to be able to conduct body armor testing, and the key folks doing this are already at the top of the legal allowed salaries; do we want to lose them? There are not many civilians willing to risk their lives — and spend 2 – 5 years away from their families to review contracts overseas. Do went want to lose them? I could go on, but what Perry is proposing would destroy our Military.