Hi I’m Brian Wiklendt talking to you today from our Maitland, Florida office.
We like to keep our clients abreast of whatever information that we have from sources including world news reports, the DoD, and impartial world sources that watch where the U.S. military and then of course contractors may go next. Here’s a Contractor World Conflict Update: Afghanistan.
Contractor World Conflict Update: Afghanistan
Next I’m going to focus on Afghanistan where most, the majority of my clients right now of our clients at Garfinkel Schwartz have either been to Afghanistan or are in Afghanistan.
History of the Conflict
The United States became involved in Afghanistan originally because the Taliban refused to turn over Osama bin Laden. The U.S. found and killed bin Laden as most of you would know in 2011.
But there’s still number of forces needed to maintain a hold of Afghanistan and the U.S. still needs to maintain a presence there which will continue because of the unrest there ever since 2011.
U.S. Troops: 9,800
The U.S. currently has 9,800 troops in Afghanistan—which is what they report—don’t know if that’s true or not. President Obama has recently said there will at least be 8,400 troops remaining in Afghanistan beyond December 2016.
No one really knows what’s going to happen with the presidential election, but at least we know that there still will be troops in an attempt to control the Taliban regime in Afghanistan at least through December 2016 until the new president takes over.
Just as an aside, based on the knowledge that we’ve gathered over the years, it seems like it’s safe to say that there’s a 3-to-1 ratio generally in the number of overseas contractors vs. military troops.
So if you’re talking about 9,800 troops in Afghanistan, you’re looking pretty much at 30,000 overseas contractors that are in Afghanistan supporting the effort. The U.S. Army is reportedly to be deploying 1,400 soldiers from the 101st Airborne division to Afghanistan this fall 2016 (presently) pretty much close to soon in support of Operation Freedom to hunt Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.
3-to-1 Contractor Ratio
And these troops will add to our already existing U.S. forces and overseas contractors. A March 2016 Congressional Research Service report states that there were approximately 28,600 Department of Defense contractors in Afghanistan.
What is a Contractor?
So I guess my math is relatively pretty close 3-to-1. The Department of Defense defines a defense contractor as “any individual, firm, corporation, partnership, or other legal non-federal entity that enters into a contract directly with the DOD to furnish services, supplies, or construction.”
So that’s where they come up with their number of 28,600 which I believe there are more but it’s very difficult to actually find evidence of how many contractors are actually out there.
Are You Working in Afghanistan?
You could live in Wyoming, Maine, Arizona, Wisconsin anywhere in the U.S., and if you are going to be working anywhere near Afghanistan or the many other world conflicts on any continent, you should really have in mind what it is you will do should anything happen. How will you know?
Talk to a DBA lawyer with knowledge of the Defense Base Act law. Your call is not only confidential with any DBA lawyer, but it’s free. That’s one of the benefits of the Defense Base Act law: you never pay any legal fees.
Do you have your First Choice Doctor form completed? That’s another right of yours as a contractor of the Department of Defense, the U.S. Government or one of its contractors or subcontractors. If you don’t know before you go, you’ll be going to the doctors that the insurance company chooses for you. You don’t want that do you?
So make a list of the best doctors in the country, near your home, in another state, who you want to treat you IF you get sick or injured. Usually people choose an orthopedist, a neurologist, psychologist, physical therapist, general surgeon. You create a list and provide it to your employer. Keep a copy and bring it with you and keep it on your person. Give the list to your first point of contact person back home.
Cover yourself with what the law provides you for free just for working for the U.S. Government as an employee.
Who’s Your DBA Attorney?
Do you have a DBA attorney your family can notify? If you don’t you’ll be “helped” through medical care by an insurance company rep who will smile and tell you they’re going to help you. You should really take control of your health and your future. Everyone looks helpful when you’re sick or injured…but they’re not. They’re hoping you don’t have a plan so that you can see their doctors.
They’re going to help you with the cheapest care and the quickest hospital exit so that they can keep costs low.
You are not thinking about worst case scenario right now. Good. You should expect the best, always. And plan for the best outcome which if you’re a contractor, and you’re currently not injured, means that you should talk with a Defense Base Act attorney who knows this law.
You can have your questions answered in 100% confidentiality and free. You will never pay a DBA lawyer: the law provides legal services, medical care and compensation. Plan for the best and take care of yourself out there. Garfinkel Schwartz thanks you for your service.