Privatizing the military is a bad move, U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn said in an op-ed Friday in the Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle.
Blackburn, a Republican who is running for Bob Corker’s U.S. Senate seat, represents the 7th Congressional District, which includes Montgomery County and Fort Campbell.
The representative mentioned the death of Chief Warrant Officer 3 Taylor J. Galvin, who was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment at Fort Campbell. He died while supporting Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq. She also mentioned the ongoing threats from nations like China and North Korea.
“This is why the call to privatize the United States military is a non-starter. Our military commanders in the field are on the front line,” she wrote. “They work each day to execute their mission and the best way to support them is to be certain they have the tools and equipment they need — not take them away and hand everything over to a corporate company.”
President Donald J. Trump’s budget proposal calls for a new round of military base closures in 2021, raising questions over the future of Forts Knox and Campbell, WDRB News reported.
The plan, unveiled in May as part of the administration’s spending plan for the 2018 fiscal year to cut what the Pentagon says is 20 percent of “excess infrastructure capacity.”
The plan is called the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process. Congress blocked efforts by the Defense Department for base closures during former President Barack Obama’s administration.
Trump is increasingly venting frustration to his national security team about the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan and showing interest in an idea by Blackwater founder Erik Prince to privatize the war, Washington Monthly reported. Prince’s idea, which first came up last year, envisions replacing troops with private military contractors who would work for a special U.S. envoy for the war who would report directly to the president.
Blackburn said she has always supported Fort Campbell and its soldiers, such as during the last BRAC attempt.
“Our community honors and reveres the Screaming Eagles of the 101st Airborne, the Army’s only air assault division,” she wrote for the Leaf-Chronicle. “They provide a valuable service in our nation’s work to defend our country and preserve our freedoms. Fort Campbell also has the fifth largest military population in the Army, and the seventh largest in the Department of Defense. It is undoubtedly one of Tennessee’s greatest strengths.”