On 2 May 2011, Navy SEALs arrived via helicopter at a remote district in Pakistan. After a short and intense firefight, Osama bin Laden was dead. Later that day, he was buried at sea from the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70). Bin Laden defined the back story for my generation of officers, and parts of his legacy will be important for us to remember. Others we would do well to bury with him.
The war against terrorism has changed our force in operations as well as institutions. One institutional legacy has been our dependence on supplemental or special funding. We had the former because this war was supposed to be fast and inexpensive. Such notions should be the first thing we bury with bin Laden.
While the budget grave is open, let’s bury the growth of contractors performing what used to be inherently military functions. We need to return to making the business of warfighting the sole domain of military services. Contractors may be budget-effective, but using them is bad for us as a nation.