In an article breaking down the Department of Defense budget cuts being proposed by Secretary Gates is this item:
— The amount spent on contractors, as part of the total Defense Department workforce cost, has grown from 26 percent in 2000 to 39 percent last year. Now the Pentagon will reduce funding for support contractors by 10 percent per year for the next three years.
— The department will immediately reduce by 10 percent funding for advisory and assistance contractors in the intelligence field.”
For a more complete breakdown see http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/gallery/2010/08/15/GA2010081503268.html?sid=ST2010081503399
What this means is that military people will take on the tasks that have been carried out by contractors. However one feels about the performance of contractors, this action puts more intelligence activity in the Department of Defense rather than civilian agencies. This is not healthy for the country and we should be removing those functions to the civilian agencies, save for those clearly required for battlefield operations. As the military is empowered, it becomes able to act outside and inside the country on its own and one need not probe history to find that to have been a recipe for loss of civilian control.
Does Gates or did Rumsfeld want to control the country over the civilian authorities? I don’t believe so but I have less confidence in those who hold their jobs in the future or the generals who may not want to respond to their secretaries of defense.