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Thread: Create a U.S. Foreign Legion

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    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Create a U.S. Foreign Legion

    By Max Boot and Michael O'Hanlon at the Armed Forces Journal - Create a U.S. Foreign Legion.

    America is a land of immigrants. Their spirit of resolve, adventure, hard work and devotion to an idea bigger than themselves has made this country great. Whatever one thinks of the immigration debate today, particularly the problem of illegal immigrants, foreigners have played a central role in the building of America. Many have done so as soldiers, among them Baron von Steuben and the Marquis de Lafayette in the War of Independence.

    Now is the time to consider a new chapter in the annals of American immigration. By inviting foreigners to join the U.S. armed forces in exchange for a promise of citizenship after a four-year tour of duty, we could continue to attract some of the world's most enterprising, selfless and talented individuals. We could provide a new path toward assimilation for undocumented immigrants who are already here but lack the prerequisite for enlistment: a green card. And we could solve the No. 1 problem facing the Army and Marine Corps: the fact that these services need to grow to meet current commitments yet cannot easily do so (absent a draft) given the current recruiting environment.

    Not only would immigrants provide a valuable influx of highly motivated soldiers, they would also address one of America's key deficiencies in the battle against Islamist extremists: our lack of knowledge of the languages and mores in the lands where terrorists reside. Newly arrived Americans can help us avoid trampling on local sensitivities and thereby creating more enemies than we eliminate.

    Skeptics might point out that in the just-concluded fiscal year, the military met most of its recruiting and retention goals. But this was done only by relaxing age and aptitude restrictions, allowing in more individuals with criminal records, and greatly increasing the number of recruiters and advertising dollars. Although we generally support what has been done to date, the logic of these measures cannot be pushed much further...

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    Default Boot and O'Hanlon behind the power curve

    Under E.O. 13269 issued by President Bush in 2002 US immigration policy is alredy ahead of where Boot and O'Hnalon advocate. Any non-citizen US soldier is eligible for immediate naturalization - not after 4 years - nor 3 as was previous practice - but now.

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    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default Good Idea, and already in Place

    Hi John !
    100 percent correct ))

    Expedited Naturalization of Aliens and Noncitizen Nationals Serving in An Active-Duty Status During the War on Terrorism

    By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including section 329 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1440) (the "Act"), and solely in order to provide expedited naturalization for aliens and noncitizen nationals serving in an active-duty status in the Armed Forces of the United States during the period of the war against terrorists of global reach, it is hereby ordered as follows:

    For the purpose of determining qualification for the exception from the usual requirements for naturalization, I designate as a period in which the Armed Forces of the United States were engaged in armed conflict with a hostile foreign force the period beginning on September 11, 2001. Such period will be deemed to terminate on a date designated by future Executive Order. Those persons serving honorably in active-duty status in the Armed Forces of the United States, during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, and terminating on the date to be so designated, are eligible for naturalization in accordance with the statutory exception to the naturalization requirements, as provided in section 329 of the Act. Nothing contained in this order is intended to affect, nor does it affect, any other power, right, or obligation of the United States, its agencies, officers, employees, or any other person under Federal law or the law of nations.

    [signed:] George W. Bush

    THE WHITE HOUSE,

    July 3, 2002.

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    Default Hi Stan

    I thought when I read the item that the authors had forgotten about the old 3 year requirement v. 5 years. So I Googled naturalization requirements and found the EO report.

    Cheers

    John

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    three quick points. 1) while expedited naturalization is offered it isn't having the effect you'd think. The standards for the ASVAB (armed services vocational apptitude battery) the basic test all applicants for enlistment take have not changed. Without a solid grasp of written English the eligible legal aliens struggle with this test. And the key here is eligible legal aliens. Illegals are strictly verboten. Imagine the political flak 'US enlists illegals to fight Iraqi Insurgents' or 'US recruiters at border crossings enlist illegals because real Americans dont want to fight' or 'foriegners lives are less valuable than Americans'---no thanks.

    2) This quote is wrong, sorry Army the price of business I guess, it only applies to you, the Marine Corps has not reduced standards at this time. --" Skeptics might point out that in the just-concluded fiscal year, the military met most of its recruiting and retention goals. But this was done only by relaxing age and aptitude restrictions, allowing in more individuals with criminal records, "

    3) the second part of the quote is about more recruiters on the street. Ok sure we aren't stupid, if you need to increase the size of the force you need to increase the number of recruiters, duh.

    Anyway the idea of a 'Foriegn Legion' fighting in the place of Americans, doing jobs American don't want to do, its bad business. If Americans don't want to do it then WHY are we fighting the fight in the first place? It would make us appear more cold and distant perhaps evil to the world at large a true Media nightmare for the U.S.

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    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default The standards for the ASVAB vs USA Foreign Legion

    Hi Footslogger

    I agree and like your approach. Yes the Army's ASFAB was fairly low for years, and in the 80's went from the DC standards to (God knows where, but higher HS standards). That meant most had to take the test again. We got rid of tons of Bravo Sierra then and rightfully so.

    Why can't people who believe in our system first fight for our system ? Seems fair to me. I have gone on several missions where I am. Nobody seemed overly stressed about it

    When the POTUS was here, he made it clear to all. Not a lot of bitchin' and as a matter of fact, most were for the idea.

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    Council Member RTK's Avatar
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    Who wants to join my new militia?

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    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Ryan,
    I'm ready

    But I get to drive the Bradley

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RTK View Post
    Who wants to join my new militia?
    I do, but I want a Stryker. They didn't have anything like that when I was in. Needs a few NASCAR stickers and a better paint job

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    Council Member bismark17's Avatar
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    Yea, me too. It will give me a chance to break out the new SOCOM rifle I just bought.

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    - 30 yrs late and a dollar short yet again, damn . I suppose I could send some beef jerky and kool aid packs when you get where you're going. I would be hell on wheels in a supply truck though.....I ain't slowed any in that respect

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    Default The Disadvantage

    Anyway the idea of a 'Foriegn Legion' fighting in the place of Americans, doing jobs American don't want to do, its bad business. If Americans don't want to do it then WHY are we fighting the fight in the first place?
    The Brits had a similar system, and for the same reasons the French did, which was to protect their colonies. While there are several advantages to having a multi-cultural force composed of U.S. citizens I don't see any advanatages to recruiting non-U.S. citizens to do our bidding. If we can't recruit from our pool of citizens, then the war isn't worth fighting. We obviously don't have enough political will to carry on the fight anyway if that is the case.
    Last edited by Bill Moore; 04-01-2007 at 04:46 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore
    If we can't recruit from our pool of citizens, then the war isn't worth fighting. We obviously don't have enough political will to carry on the fight anyway if that is the case.
    Well said.

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    Council Member bismark17's Avatar
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    Ultimately, it seems like our whole Federal government is being outsourced. There was an interesting article on that in the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal on how much of our Federal Government depends on contractors. It's going to bite us some day.

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    As someone who works on a high level staff that is chock full with contractors, it's already a problem. They don't have decision making authority for the most part, so they attend meetings and report back to "green suiters" who have to make a decision. I'd rather have military personnel who can attend meetings and make decisions based on their own judegement than bog down the decision making process even more.

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    Default Need a study

    Interested points, and while I have many friends who are contractors, I still have my concerns. Most are retired military (in my world), and while they are loyal to the unit they work with, there must be a friction between loyalty to the unit and to their contracting company at times? We're also putting ourselves in a position (probably already have) where a contracting (outsourcing company) like Brown and Root will have significant leverage in determining how we implement a particular strategy (no guys, we can't, or we don't want, to support that course of action, but if you buy our services for OEF-P, then we'll see what we can do). That said I don't think we can afford to go back to the old ways. There are some advantages for having contractors also. First you can hire experience (retired military), and second you hire continuity, the guy/gal can stay there for five years or so. That is value added in many cases.

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    Default Some things are inherently governmental...

    Some are not. Running a mess hall is in the "not" category; B&R (now KBR) does that really well. Doing and MTT for the entire Croatian army or an Iraqi unit is inherently a government job. I worked for Jim Steele in Panama and saw him in action in both Panama and El Salvador. While I would hire COL Steele to train the Iraqis in a heartbeat, I would not hire Mr Steele or any other retired officer as a contractor to do the same. There is too much capacity to commit the USG in that role.
    When I was on active duty in SOUTHCOM and supervising a contract the limits were clear. The contractor had to produce a substative deliverable. While I was a civilian at NDU, I saw contractors constantly producing what I would call personal services even though our contractor went out of his way to try to keep the deliverables substantive. He failed in that, but others were not even trying and DOD simply winked.

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    Council Member 120mm's Avatar
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    As a military contractor, I can tell you there is both good and bad. We have some hardworking overachievers and some fat-cats just sucking the teat. The current group of "green" officers working at our training center are good guys, but lack depth and breadth of experience. The better contractors provide them sound advice and "gravitas" to make them more effective, should they choose to listen.

    Our biggest problem is not the "teat-suckers", it is officers on the "green" side that do not understand how to manage contractors. On one hand, they consistently ask for things that are not a part of the "substantive" contract, and result in the "personal services" part that John speaks of, above. One of the most critical part of my job is ensuring "slide color" is correct. (Ironically, this was the part of my job I detest when I'm wearing the green suit.)

    On the other hand, contractors are often not supervised correctly and the green suiters really don't understand the contract, resulting in green suiters doing work the contractors are being paid for. We installed a bunch of facilities on LSA Anaconda, which my SGM later found out were part of a contract, which the contractor collected money for.

    Contractors, like horses, have their care issues and limitations. If the Army wants to use them, they need to train all their folks in basic contractor husbandry to make them efffective and to know their limits.

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    Default "Some of my best friends..." & I been one...

    Well said 120! I neglected to say in the earlier post that I have been on both sides of the fence, at the time a function of being a reservist on long tours of active duty punctuated by a different civilian career. As one of my early military bosses put it while referring to General officers' "horse holders," their care and feeding is up to you. This is especially true of contractors. The problem, as I see it, is with the government in choosing to outsource things that should not be outsourced. This is a very short sighted approach based on perceived near term economic benefits that, I expect, will not hold up over the long term. Some near term solutions that I would consider are: (1) calling members of the retired reserve back to active duty to either carry out functions that should not be contracted out or to supervise the contracts; (2) hiring retirees from the military, state, and other government agencies as excepted service DOD civilians to carry out key functions; (3) formally change the rules on "personal service" contracts so that it is easier to both do business and hold the contractor accountable under the terms of the contract rather than under such potentially draconian measures as putting contractors under UCMJ (a complaint of one of my best friends - a contractor).

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    Default The good, the bad, and the rest of us

    Been a contractor off and on, including a "rolodex" contractor.

    While John's proposed solutions are attractive, I don't see them happening.

    There are a lot of things that need to stay private -- grounds maintenenace, garrison support functions, etc. But John is also right when he says that there are some things that should stay military. Maybe the personnel laws need to be changed to allow what he suggests.

    As it stands now, when the Army hires me through a company, they rent my skills based on 30 years of experience in very diverse areas. Extensive experience in the joint, interagency and international arena are hard to replicate with active duty folks because by the time you amass all that experience, you get thrown out. When I am not working, I am sitting around without pay, without benefits, just waiting for the phone to ring, like some kinda ...

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