Murphy's Law: October 9, 2000


Some forty years ago, the military began to outsource jobs that soldiers had long performed. At first it was things like KP (Kitchen Police, spending a few days a month working in the kitchen) for troops in technical jobs. Soon that practice spread. Then civilians were hired for another onerous job, guard duty. Rather than have the troops spend a few nights a month playing night watchman. The most recent outsourcing is that of "adversary pilots." Civilian instructors are already be used for part of military flight training. But with so many pilots getting out, the navy and air force can no longer afford to provide military pilots to play the role of the bad guys in "Top Gun" type exercises. Former military pilots are now being hired to play the bad guys. All if this is nothing new, armies have used civilian contractors for all manner of mundane or critical and dangerous, jobs. The first artillerymen were civilian contractors. Often, combat engineers were civilians. But in the last century or so, the custom was to put everyone into a uniform. But fashion is now swinging the other way.


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