More Contractors than Troops Killed in Iraq and Afghanistan This Year

Friday, September 24, 2010
Douglas Mills, a KBR employee, was killed in Iraq July 23, 2010, at age 54, one month after becoming a grandfather
The biggest sacrifice the U.S. can make in Afghanistan is no longer being borne by the military. With contractors by the thousands operating in the war effort, private security are now dying in greater numbers than soldiers in the fight against the Taliban and insurgents.
Data compiled by George Washington University Law School shows contractor fatalities in the first half of 2010 topped those of American troops, 232 to 195.
Contractor deaths in Iraq already have been outpacing that of soldiers in Iraq since the beginning of 2009 (204 to 188).
Officially, far more soldiers than private security have died in the two wars since 2001 (5,531 troops to 2,008 contractors). However, the authors of the GWU report say that the actual number of contractor deaths is probably higher because the Department of Defense, the State Department and other federal agencies didn’t begin keeping careful track of contractor casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan until 2008, after Congress ordered them to do so.
The companies that have seen the most deaths are L-3 Communications, Supreme Group and KBR.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Contractors and the Ultimate Sacrifice (by Steven L. Schooner and Collin D. Swan, George Washington University Law School) (pdf)
More Contractors Than Troops Killed during Past Year in Iraq and Afghanistan (by Katherine McIntire Peters, Government Executive)


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