March 08, 2012

Manchin Continues Commonsense Push to Reduce Expensive Overseas Military Contractors and Strengthen Uniformed Service Members

In Senate Armed Services Committee hearing today, Senator Manchin urges the Army to cut contractors instead of active duty soldiers

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) questioned Army Secretary John McHugh and General Ray Odierno about the Army’s reliance on security and service contractors in the face of possible budget cuts and troop reductions.

Senator Manchin pointed out to Secretary McHugh and General Odierno that the United States has 90,000 service members deployed in Afghanistan, but they are outnumbered by more than 113,000 contractors the government employs. Many of the overseas contractors earn up to three times the amount that service members earn – for the same work. In the meantime, the Army is talking about reducing the size of the force by more than 80,000 men and women over the next five years.

“Especially in West Virginia, we have a hard time understanding why we would be cutting back the military men and women in uniform and not cutting back the contractors….I can’t figure that out,” Senator Manchin said. “I believe that we could cut back drastically – even if sequestration kicked in – from the contracting services and still strengthen our military and give it the support it needs.”

In several hearings throughout the past month about the Department of Defense budget, Senator Manchin has extensively questioned the nation’s military leaders on their overreliance on expensive overseas security and service contractors when the men and women in uniform could perform the same job.

General Odierno also agreed to work with the Senator and his bipartisan Veterans Jobs Caucus to expand hiring of service members in the Senate and on Main Street. General Odierno and the Senator discussed creating a one-stop job search source for veterans returning to the private sector.