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While the new manual contains detailed instructions on how deployed commanders should use contractors – from force protection measures to what kind of shoes contract employees should bring – it makes no mention of intelligence gathering or restrictions on contractor roles.
In a December 2000 memo, previously posted by the Center, Assistant Secretary of the Army Patrick Henry sharply restricted the use of private companies in intelligence work, stating that the tactical intelligence gathering could not be contracted because it was "integral to the application of combat power." At the strategic level, he wrote, contracting out intelligence work posed unacceptable risks to national security.
His memo concludes: "Field Manual 100-21, Contractors on the Battlefield (March 2000) should be modified and clarified to reflect these determinations."
Despite the directive from Henry, the prohibition on contractors performing intelligence work never made it into the Army's official contracting doctrine. In recent months, reports on the use of contractors in Iraq have disclosed that private-sector employees have been performing sensitive intelligence work in and around combat zones. A report by Major General Antonio Taguba on the alleged abuse of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib Prison noted the involvement of civilian contractors at the Baghdad facility.