Courage Services, Inv. (as in, Invisible)

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The outsourcing of what used to be thought of as vital governmental functions continues. Public Intelligence posted this last week on its website. It’s basically a 2009 intelligence report done for the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity by an outfit calling itself Courage Services, Inc. Its nifty corporate logo appears on the report’s cover, as well as on maps appearing throughout the study.

This is what happens when you have too much money: you contract out the work that can’t be done in-house.

It allows the government – in this case, the Marine Corps — to keep its body count down. But what’s distressing is the fact that it is so difficult to determine just who, or what, runs Courage Services, Inc. It’s a subsidiary of Centra Technology, whose parentage and people are just as elusive. Their websites are scant on such details, and a search of public databases reveals little about them.

But Centra and its constellation of subsidiaries apparently are quite busy, according to its self-published list of clients:

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

Department of Defense, including:

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)

Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD)

US Air Force

US Army

US Marine Corps

Office of Naval Research (ONR)

Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO)

Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA)

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Department of Energy (DOE)

National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

Federally Funded Research and Development Centers

Major Defense Contractors

State and Local Government Agencies

Private-Sector Clients

It appears to be one of those companies with a long list of unnamed retired U.S. military and civilian personnel that it can hire to work on specific contracts:

Our staff of over 560 professionals includes specialists with backgrounds in national security analysis, the military, homeland security, engineering, research and development, and many areas of the social sciences and humanities. Our managers have run large-scale programs advising US Government agencies on what the future may hold, including programs examining a host of transnational issues, homeland security, the long view of global security affairs, and the “science of surprise” as revealed in the emerging analytic methodologies of the past decade.

A top official of Courage Services, for example, is is the one-time chief analyst of U.S. Central Command’s “human terrain analysis branch.” Given how well things have gone in Afghanistan, some may think it makes sense to keep her outfit on the government payroll.

But even the CIA posts a roster of those in charge. This growing trend of hiring opaque organizations with public funds is bad policy, for American citizens, war-fighters and taxpayers.