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Letters to the Editor: Jan. 23

Jan. 21, 2012 - 06:00AM   |  
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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.

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