Putting aide the fact, as I have noted previously noted, that the “the best supported and supplied in history” line is one of Mr. Brook’s ubiquitous, and best known, sound bites, and it is not always true, there are a couple of problems with his statement.
But first, let’s acknowledge that he has a point. For far too many years private contractors have been reviled, castigated, demonized, and depicted as heartless, run amuck, money grubbing, mercenaries, subject to no rules or accountability. This is grossly defamatory, not to mention unjust.
That said when it comes to news coverage the media always focuses on problems first. That is its function. While it also reports on good things that are done the negative always gets top billing. That is just the way it is. If private contractors are often in the news in the context of something wrong happening perhaps it is because something wrong is happening. To ask the media to do otherwise is to ask the press to make an except for PMC that nobody else gets. Or, to paraphrase as Dana Carvey, portraying the Church Lady on Saturday Night Live, aren’t PMC special?
If IPOA or various PMC take issue with the facts in a GAO or SIGIR or SIGAR, or DoD IG report they should; just like anyone else can, but don’t ask to be treated like saints because you are doing the job you are being paid for.
Mr. Brooks is on better ground when he writes, “Being a ‘fall guy’ for the government comes with being a contractor. This reality been demonstrated time and again in investigations by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, CWC and other bodies who have revealed numerous examples of poor government planning, overwhelmed contract oversight capabilities and chaotic and sloppy contract management. Contractors err as well of course, but properly attributing blame is problematic at best when companies themselves refuse to point the finger at the real culprits — for good reason.”
The use of “fall guys” is interesting, as it suggests that PMC are just regular guys and gals being unfairly scapegoated. If Mr. Brooks wants to see real fall guys he should try talking with some of the people who used to work for ArmorGroup, one of IPOA’s member companies by the way, who tried complaining about the drunken party antics and security deficiencies on the part of those guarding the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, that came to light last year
Still, as he noted in the beginning of his article: