The United States needs to end its over-reliance on private, for-profit contractors. We have reached a dangerous point where our military and intelligence community literally could not function without these private corporations. At times, the Pentagon had more contract personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan than it had uniformed troops.
I am one of the few members of Congress who has focused particularly on the tens of thousands of private security contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan who work for companies like the infamous Blackwater. These men and women are not part of the U.S. military or government. They do not wear the uniform of the United States, though their behavior has, on numerous occasions, severely damaged the credibility and security of our military and harmed our relationship with other governments. To date, they have literally been able to get away with murder. Contractors are not subject to the same rigorous standards of behavior and conduct as are members of our armed forces, and they operate outside the traditional military chain of command, answering to a corporation, not a uniformed commander.
Despite this sordid history of abuse, instead of reducing our reliance on security contractors, the bi-partisan Commission on Wartime Contracting found that contractors have, in fact, become the "default option" in Iraq and Afghanistan. I support legislation to phase out the use of private security contractors for military, security, law enforcement, intelligence, and armed rescue functions.
More on Military Contracting
EVANSTON – Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, a Senior Chief Deputy Whip and Chair of the House Energy and Commerce’s Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee, joined a bipartisan letter to the White House today, seeking answers on the Biden Administration’s plans to evacuate U.S. citizens, Afghan allies and their families, women, NGO employees, journalists, and others from Afghanistan.
I asked Defense Department officials about the use of private contractors and highlighted how much could be saved by reigning in the practice of using private military contractors.
WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, a Senior Chief Deputy Whip, released the following statement after voting against the Conference Report on H.R. 6395, the William M. Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021:
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House passed two amendments offered by Representative Schakowsky to be included in H.R.6395, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021.
“I am pleased that the House voted to include two of my amendments in the FY 2021 National Defense Authorization Act that will increase oversight of the Department of Defense (DOD) and its contractors.