Next job for contractors in Iraq: 'Deprogramming' detainees
The Pentagon is looking for experts in psychology, religion and education to aid its efforts on "the battlefield of the mind," as the military struggles to reform roughly 25,000 Iraqi prisoners in custody across the country the US invaded nearly five years ago.
The Washington Post's Walter Pincus reports on a proposal from the Joint Contracting Command for a team of private contractors including "teachers, religious and behavioral science counselors" who will be charged with running a program that "effectively reintegrates detainees, particularly those disposed to violent, radical ideology."
The program will cost the Pentagon between $5 million and $210 million, Pincus reports.
"Part of the program will involve small detainee groups, possibly led by an Iraqi cleric and a behavioral scientist, 'undergoing enlightenment, deprogramming and de-radicalization sessions' for six weeks," Pincus reports.
Marine Maj. Gen. Douglas M. Stone oversees the Iraqi prison population. He announced last month that he is segregating extremists from the rest of Iraqi prisoners captured by US troops, and he has started voluntary educational, training and religion programs for detainees, Pincus reports.
Now the general is calling for backup from the private sector. The proposal he put out for bid earlier this month looks to create a private group of Americans, Iraqis and other foreigners to run and expand the program he's created.
"The team is to provide reports and advice to Stone's aides about 'relevant ideological, religious, cultural and education conditions of adult and juvenile detainees,' along with 'comprehensive individual assessments' that would 'enable prudent decision-making on release or continued detention of detainees,'" according to Pincus. "One stated goal for the program is creating 'a refined program of instruction' that would be something the Iraqi government could 'adopt and implement within its detention facilities.'"