Rumsfeld Advisors Recommend Outsourcing Mail

As the Defense Department continues to transform its business practices, a sensitive issue hits the chopping block: military mail call.

DOD Business Advisers Tell Rumsfeld Military Mail Should Be Outsourced (, $)

A group of business advisers to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says the Pentagon should outsource the collection, processing and distribution of military mail to the maximum extent possible, according to documents and sources.

Industry officials say outsourcing the military mail system could save DOD more than $200 million per year and free up personnel for higher-priority war-related roles.

Getting mail to service members deployed overseas in a timely manner has been a major challenge for the Defense Department, one that was highlighted during the contentious 2000 Bush-Gore election when military personnel experienced problems getting their absentee ballots delivered on time.

In June, Rumsfeld asked the Defense Business Board — a group of outside executives — to study how to improve the military mail system. In a “snowflake” memo to the board, Rumsfeld wrote that DOD “continues to struggle to achieve the timely delivery of mail, which is an important part of morale for our employees serving the department overseas,” according to a source who read the letter to

One would think the DoD could get mail to the troops cheaply by utilizing the supply distribution system. For whatever reason, though, that’s not happening.

Getting mail to the troops as quickly as possible is a major morale issue and may be worth $200 million extra to achieve. If a private company can get it there just as fast or faster, though, DoD might as well save the money.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. bryan says:

    The question is: will DoD really save that much money? Or will it amount to a shell game?

  2. Scott in CA says:

    Great! Now if we can just get the federal government to remove the monopoly of the Postal Service to deliver first class mail, you might see some changes. I’m tired of being forced to subsidize junk mail.

  3. James Joyner says:

    Actually, junk mail subsidizes First Class mail, not vice versa. Getting a letter delivered to Alaska from Georgia for 37 cents is a ridiculous bargain, one that private enterprise would not offer.

  4. Anderson says:

    Why, I didn’t even know that Halliburton had a mail subsidiary! 😉

  5. DL says:

    It would be nice if we could outsource our military in this Holywar against the infidels, say hire a few million Kurds to fight the “insurgents”

  6. this is just another Job Creation ploy by the general staff.

  7. BE says:

    The DBB is made up of Government contractor CEOs and philanthropists (check their site) who can benefit from their recommendations. what research was done to arrive at a savings of $200M? Why pay for a service USPS provides for free? Mail is not in the MILAIR logistics system because mail is delivered faster than cargo and supplies. Also, wasn’t there an election in 2004…no problems I’m aware of. Why refer to ancient history?