Wrong on contractors
Regarding "Experts: DoD could slash 150K jobs" [Dec. 5 issue] and the quote from Bernard Rostker at Rand Corp.: "Contractors do not operate for the good of the government. They operate for the good of themselves."
This frustrating and anger-provoking quote is a stereotypical comment that I find offensive and, for the most part, flat wrong.
Like many in the defense contractor community, I had a government career, retiring as an Army Senior Executive Service member. The organizations I was a part of or led were the silent hero types that worked long days in support of the war fighter. When I moved to industry, I found the same ethos of patriotism and support to the war fighter.
I have been part of two large consulting firms and both have had two major goals: Operate as a productive, profitable business (founding concept of a capitalistic country); and ensure our support is oriented on the war fighter. My peers in other companies have the same view: that we do this is to help fix problems that existed when we served in government — and that still exist today.
Now, to Rand and Rostker. Working for the Army, I had the capability to task Rand with projects. Rand is a Federally Funded Research and Development Center and a "nonprofit" entity. That said, its motivations are not necessarily different than other businesses — it still must have revenues for maintaining staff and executing its mission. Rostker's opinion is just that — an opinion.
The fact that Federal Times didn't offer another view that counters his opinion is surprising. I also cannot understand what his quote has to do with the article's focus on internal government cuts.
— Ronald L. Treusdell, Churchville, Md.
Wrong on pensions
[Regarding John O. King's commentary, "Pension should be personal, not government, responsibility," Dec. 5 issue:]
I agree pension should be a personal, not a government, responsibility. However, saying that someone who receives government retirement benefits is part of our deterioration in social and moral values is ludicrous. Government benefits arise in response to a public need.
The suggestion of a 401(k) private-sector plan is ill-advised. Many investors don't have the skill to make wise investment choices, which is why government pensions are necessary.
— Richard B. Silbert, Walnut Creek, Calif.