Leadership: Rules for Contractors On The Battlefield


December 29, 2005: A few months before the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, the U.S. Army issued FM 3-100.21 (a field manual called " Contractors On The Battlefield"). As the title implies, this FM lets military commanders know what they can, and cannot, do with civilian contractors in combat zones, and how to go about it. This is not the first FM on the subject. This edition updates one issued in 2000. Since then, the military has often discovered that civilians and military officials have different attitudes toward just how army regulations (which an FM describes) are interpreted. For many civilian managers, the FMs are considered a guideline, and something that can be bent or gotten around. Military commanders tend to take regulations as something to be strictly interpreted. This is resulting in litigation, as families of contractors killed in a combat zone, or by contractors who believe their pay or welfare were not attended to in accordance with the regulations, sue the U.S. government. The army is caught in the middle, as they expect the contractors to play by the rules.


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