02/10/2011 05:34 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Known and Unknown Contractor

It is not a secret that as Secretary of Defense during the presidency of George W. Bush Donald Rumsfeld was sympathetic to using private military contractors. In 2003, he said that as many as 320,000 jobs filled by military personnel could be turned over to civilians.

Ironically, long before Abu Ghraib, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld was preaching the virtues of using contractors in prisons. The secretary said at a town hall meeting in August 2003 that the Army pays $20,000 to $40,000 to hold a prisoner each year, whereas it costs Kansas only $14,000 per year. "I don't think of running a prison as a core competency of the United States military," he said

In September 2004 he told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he had identified more than 50,000 positions now filled by uniformed personnel "doing what are essentially nonmilitary jobs." At the same time, he said, the Army was so short-handed it had to call up tens of thousands of reservists to fight in Iraq. Rumsfeld said he intended to assign the troops to military jobs and hire civilian workers or contractors to take the non-military jobs. "We plan to carry this conversion out at a rate of about 10,000 positions per year," Rumsfeld told the committee

Now, thanks to his just published memoir, "Known and Unknown" we have a few more examples of his view on contractors.

As part of the book's promotional effort for the book Rumsfled created a website, where he has posted hundreds of documents from his files. If you search them using the "contractor" keyword you get things like the following

25. 2004-03-30 to (no recipient) re (no subject)
Category: George W Bush Secretary of Defense (21) - 2004 - Snowflakes
New pay schedules, so that US SOF don't get enticed out to the CIA or to private contractors at much higher salaries than we are currently able to pay them.

One might recall that PMC advocates have claimed that this was an overblown concern but evidently it was serious enough to get Rumsfeld's attention

Then, there was this, which is actually pretty sensible and uncontroversial.

TO: Honorable Andrew Card
FROM: Donald Rumsfeld
SUBJECT: Military Detailees
March 28, 200l lo:28

Andy, are you going to take a look sometime at the way the demand for members of the armed services in the total White House complex has ballooned'? 1 am told it has gone from 1,400 to 2,100. 1 don't know from when, or whether that figure is accurate, but it is worth checking.
We might want to think about ways that that number can be cut down and possibly ways more could be reimbursable, rather than non-reimbursable.
Also, it may make sense to replace some functions now performed by uniformed military personnel with contract employees, as WC are doing at the Pentagon. For example, mess attendants for U.S. forces in Bosnia are provided by an outside contractor, not by soldiers.
Let me know what you think.
Thanks. I
03270 l-24

And, proving that Eisenhower's famed military-industrial complex is now more properly accurately described as a military-industrial-congressional complex, is this:

2001-02-22 Re Ethics Laws
Category: George W Bush Secretary of Defense (21) - 2001 - Snowflakes
... of the new Congressional ethics laws that apply to the Executive Branch is that the contractor community has to be very careful about dealing with the Executive Branch, but they ...

February 22, 2001 9:08 PM
SUBJECT: Ethics Laws
One of the side effects of the new Congressional ethics laws that apply to the
Executive Branch is that the contractor community has to be very careful about dealing with the Executive Branch, but they don't have to be careful about dealing with the Congress. As a result, since I was last here, there has been a process taking place that has knitted the defense contractor community to the Congress with an unfortunate effect on the defense establishment.

Finally, there was this. If Rumsfeld has bothered to look at how this training has actually turned out he is probably feeling embarrassed. Contractors such as DynCorp and others have been heavily involved in this and have received loads of criticism for their efforts.

2. 2002-04-23 to Gen Franks re Contractors
Category: George W Bush Secretary of Defense (21) - 2002 - Snowflakes
... 2002-04-23 to Gen Franks re Contractors ...

April 23, 2002 6:30 PM

TO: Gen. Franks
CC: Gen. Myers
FROM: Donald Rumsfeld
SUBJECT: Contractors

Have you thought of using contractors to train the Afghan army?