Civilian Reserve Corps

This is a discussion on Civilian Reserve Corps within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Any of you former/retired/current LEOs, engineers, farmers, and so on think you might be up for this? I'm already in the "2,000 other federal volunteers ...

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Thread: Civilian Reserve Corps

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    Civilian Reserve Corps

    Any of you former/retired/current LEOs, engineers, farmers, and so on think you might be up for this? I'm already in the "2,000 other federal volunteers with language and technical skills" standing by, so I obviously support the idea. What do you guys and gals think?

    A Civilian Partner for Our Troops

    Why the U.S. Needs A Reconstruction Reserve
    By Richard G. Lugar and Condoleezza Rice, Washington Post

    It is unusual in Washington when an idea is overwhelmingly supported by the president, a bipartisan majority of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the State Department, and both the civilian and military leadership of the Pentagon. But that is the case with the proposed Civilian Reserve Corps, a volunteer cadre of civilian experts who can work with our military to perform the urgent jobs of post-conflict stabilization and reconstruction.

    Creating such an institution is essential for our national security, and the Senate should authorize the creation of the corps. Over the past decade and a half, the United States has learned that some of the greatest threats to our national security emerge not only from the armies and arsenals of hostile nations but also from the brittle institutions and failing economies of weak and poorly governed states.

    We have learned that one of the central tasks of U.S. foreign policy for the foreseeable future will be to support responsible leaders and citizens in the developing world who are working to build effective, peaceful states and free, prosperous societies.

    Responding to these challenges is a job for civilians -- those who have the expertise and the experience in the rule of law, governance, agriculture, police training, economics and finance, and other critical areas. The State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development are working heroically to meet this need.

    But the truth is, no diplomatic service in the world has within its ranks all the experts or expertise needed for this kind of work. As a result, from Somalia and Haiti to Bosnia and Kosovo, and now to Afghanistan and Iraq, our government has increasingly depended on our men and women in uniform to perform civilian responsibilities.

    The military has filled this void admirably, but it is a task that others can and should take up. The primary responsibility for post-conflict stabilization and reconstruction should not fall to our fighting men and women but to volunteer, civilian experts.

    That is why President Bush called for the establishment of a volunteer Civilian Reserve Corps in his 2007 State of the Union address. "Such a corps would function much like our military reserve," he said. "It would ease the burden of the armed forces by allowing us to hire civilians with critical skills to serve on missions abroad when America needs them." Both the State Department and the Pentagon support this initiative.

    The Senate has likewise recognized the need for a stand-alone rebuilding capacity and last year unanimously passed legislation to create a Reconstruction and Stabilization corps within the State Department. Legislation before the Senate would take further steps to establish the operational elements necessary for this work. The bill has three parts:

    First, it calls for a 250-person active-duty corps of Foreign Service professionals from State and USAID, trained with the military and ready to deploy to conflict zones.

    Second, it would establish a roster of 2,000 other federal volunteers with language and technical skills to stand by as a ready reserve.

    Third, it would create the Civilian Reserve Corps the president called for, a group of 500 Americans from around the country with expertise in such areas as engineering, medicine and policing, to be tapped for specific deployments. The corps could be deployed globally wherever America's interests lie, to help nations emerging from civil war, for instance, or to mitigate circumstances in failed states that endanger our security.

    If Congress acts soon, the administration may be able to deploy the reconstruction corps in Iraq and Afghanistan. But future conflicts are equally important. If we are to win the war on terrorism, we cannot allow states to crumble or remain incapable of governing.

    We have seen how terrorists can exploit countries afflicted by lawlessness and desperate circumstances. The United States must have the right non-military structures, personnel and resources in place when an emergency occurs. A delay in our response can mean the difference between success and failure.

    Congress has already appropriated $50 million for initial funding, and an authorization to expend these funds is required. The bill is widely supported on both sides of the aisle and could be adopted quickly.

    Yet this legislation is being blocked on the faulty premise that the task can be accomplished with existing personnel and organization. In our view, that does not square with either recent experience or the judgment of our generals and commander in chief.

    It would be penny-wise but pound-foolish to continue to overburden our military with reconstruction duties. We urge Congress to stand up for our troops by giving them the civilian help they need.

    Richard G. Lugar is a Republican senator from Indiana. Condoleezza Rice is secretary of state.
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    This already exists, and has been in play since along time ago....dating back to WWI.

    War advisors from the commercial sector have been working with and under the auspices of Uncle Sam since forever.
    Additionally these people are most commonly paid to do so and under current programmes do so via contracts vehicles such as administered by the General Services Administration.
    Vendors such as CSC, Blackwater, Halliburton and many others do exactly this providng relevant persons with expertise and skill sets.

    The only difference from what is proposed is that they are not and have not been "volunteer" status. They are compensated for their time, risk, and expertise. Why would a person volunteer to do this?
    And if they truly did want to volunteer then why not do so via the Peace Corps which JFK setup 40 yrs. ago?

    Maybe I'm missing something but I just don't understand why this proposal is of any relevance. What does the govt. stand to gain in assigning people to work 'voluntarilly' and unpaid like an intern? You normally get what you pay for and free is nothing.
    Also what would motivate a group of otherwise employable persons under as noted prior expertise for cash programs to do so for free?

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

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    Well, the contractor thing is part of it - we'd rather have them under the direct auspices of the Govt. rather then through a third party. Contractors are out to make a buck (rightly so) and don't always have the best interest of the program/government at heart. A volunteer may be "worth what we pay him," but he may actually be more valuable because he is there of his own desire to help and to do what he believes to be important work.

    As to the "who..." many retired military members (and similar) have expressed their continued willingness to serve, but they may not have the physical abilities required to run around with 20 year old grunts any longer - this would be a perfect way for them (and others like them) to contribute to the foreign policy and national security goals of the nation. As to the Peace Corps - they simply don't do many of the things that we need done in a post-conflict, stability and support environment. Also, kids just out of college, people looking for a "foot in the door" to other Govt. work, and that rarest of all creatures - the straight up do-gooder are all possible candidates.

    And the "unpaid" might sound harsh, but it's a bit of a misnomer. You get transportation, room and board, and a stipend to cover your general expenses. Certainly, you'd lose money if you had any sort of "real" job, but that's the nature of volunteering, isn't it? And of course, retirees aren't going to lose their pensions/social security benefits, so it may actually save them a few bucks while they don't have to house/feed themselves.

    In all, I think it's a great program. We pay contractors a ton of money - even if we took 10% of the contractors jobs and filled them with volunteers, we'd be saving billions over the long term. Plus, there are a few people who actually want to help simply for the sake of helping - this is a perfect outlet for that. I don't think this will ever be a huge program, but just a few of the right people at the right place and the right time can make a big difference...
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    Senior Member Array jualdeaux's Avatar
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    One problem with the right out of college people is the student loans they may have. I have $25000 that I have to pay back to the government. Would they help with that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jualdeaux View Post
    One problem with the right out of college people is the student loans they may have. I have $25000 that I have to pay back to the government. Would they help with that?
    It's very likely. Many foreign service (State department) jobs have some level of student loan repayment assistance, especially if you go to crappy and/or dangerous posts. I would think the chances of the CRC going to a place like that would be close to 100%, considering their stated mission.
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    Senior Member Array jualdeaux's Avatar
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    Another problem I see is that you will not be able to attract many people in their thirties and forties, the age where they have very valuable skills, due to the fact that this is also when they will have families that need taking care of. Volunteering is great but one also has to put food on the table for mom and junior. I also don't see people of retirement age getting into this unless they are divorced or a widow/widower. Even then they might not be able to deal the probable living conditions and stress.

    Basically, I would see this attracting the 20 somethings right out of school. Isn't this what the Peace Corp is already made up of? Why not just change the direction of that?

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    Because Peace Corps folks generally don't have the skills we want - LE, military infrastructure, civil engineering and planning, rule of law, democratic institutions, etc.

    Of course this will not be for everyone. But we don't need everyone. We need a few thousand people, tops, for most situations. They will not replace the military, State, USAID, contractors, and so on - they will supplement them. They will be on "standby" to go without the time and effort required to spin up a contract, bid it, fill it, and then train half the folks that will serve under the winning contract. If we had a few thousand of these citizens willing to give up a few months of "profit" for the good of their nation, I can't see how it would be a bad thing.
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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