A United States in Perpetual War Should Consider a Foreign Legion as a Pragmatic Solution

The United States provided $121 billion in military aid to various foreign countries. $25 billion to train and arm in Iraq and $26 billion to train and arm in Afghanistan. However, the corrupt and incompetent government in Iraq got rid of the well trained officers for loyalists and the degraded US trained Iraqi forces ran away from the fight with ISIL (ISlamic state in Iraq and Levant).

It is now the 13th anniversary of September 11, 2001 and the US is ramping up the fighting and engagement in Iraq and Syria.

There was an academic paper in 2012 that proposed a foreign legion for the United States.

* the US used about 200,000 military contractors at the peak of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars

* federal fiscal years 2002-2010 . . . . the reported value of funds obligated for contingency contracts for equipment, supplies, and support services is at least $ 154 billion for the DoD, $ 11 billion for the Department of State, and $ 7 billion for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).” When one adds the “$ 5 billion in grants and cooperative agreements awarded by State and USAID” the total value becomes $ 177 billion. To put these figures in more comprehensible, concrete terms, the average cost per U.S. household for contractor support of contingency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan in fiscal years 2002-2010 was $ 1,505.

More than $12 billion or more was lost to fraud and more to kickbacks and bribes.

The creation of a formal U.S. Foreign Legion would address many of the issues caused by the current overreliance on PMC (private military contractors) personnel for mission-critical functions described above. Such a military unit would place the use of military-style force squarely back within the proper control of the sovereign U.S. government and would appropriately recognize the efforts of those individuals who are currently serving U.S. interests without commensurate benefits. Lastly, such a force would enhance U.S. security interests abroad–through increases in oversight and control of PMC personnel–and would help reign in fraud and waste at a time when the U.S. government can afford neither.

A low-end annual estimate for the salaries of a 150,000 strong” U.S. Foreign Legion would be anywhere from about $ 2.6 billion to $ 5.1 billion. The 7000 members of the french foreign get about $1500 per month which is the $2.7 billion figure.

A US Legion would remove the middlemen (foreign governments or companies) from the equations. Legionaires would work for the US and would not be as subject to the whims of the client governments.

There would also be continuity of training over the foreign legion. Yes the soldiers who are in it would have new recruits but you could manage it to maintain a large fraction of the officers and soldiers over years.

More background on private military services

Military services are military-specific services – such as research and analysis, technical services, operational support, and armed force – that were once undertaken by military establishments but have been outsourced to private companies.

Blackwater is no more but Dyncorp and Triple Canopy have expanded. According to the Wall Street Journal, more than 5,000 specialists have been contracted by the Iraqi government. They are currently working in the country as analysts, military trainers, security guards, translators and even cooks. Some 2,000 of them are Americans.

Private defense companies, such as Triple Canopy and Dyncorp International, have multibillion contracts in Iraq for years to come.

Washington is actively assisting the Iraqi government in fighting terrorism, supplying Baghdad with drones and is considering training some of the country’s elite military forces in neighboring Jordan.

An assault operation against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), a faction of Al-Qaeda currently occupying Fallujah, is promising to be a serious undertaking implying the use of the utmost in firepower, so Baghdad is buying $6 billion worth of military equipment from the US