From the catering staff dishing out food in mess halls to cyber-technology specialists, the US Department of Defence has seen the number of civilian workers rise by nearly one-fifth over the last decade, compared to just 3.4 per cent for military employees.
However, the combination of the drive to both cut costs and recruit specialist external expertise, particularly in the IT sector where Alexis worked, has raised concerns that the growth of out-sourcing has now run out of control.
Russell Rumbaugh, a former defence analyst on the Senate budget committee now with the Washington-based Stimson Centre, said the expanded use of contractors had begun in the 1990s to give more flexibility, and that vetting procedures should be the same for both civilian and military employees of equal clearance levels.
He added that the fact that Alexis was a contractor might not be as important as the breach in vetting procedures that should have applied to him equally, whether or not he was civilian or military.
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