Contractors Outnumber U.S. Soldiers in Afghanistan

Friday, December 18, 2009
Shawn Pine, killed by a roadside bomb while working for security contractor MPRI in Afghanistan

Even with the expected surge of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, contractors will continue to outnumber military personnel in the war effort. According to a new report by the Congressional Research Service, the U.S. will expand its contractor force with as many as 56,000 more privately-employed workers, bringing the grand total to a peak of 160,000. The total of American troops in Afghanistan is expected to top out at around 100,000. According to Pentagon figures, as of September 2009, contractors in Afghanistan outnumbered troops 104,101 to 63,950. Three quarters of the contractors are Afghan nationals

The CRS report does not tell what exactly all these contractors are doing in Afghanistan, because the Defense Department hasn’t revealed that information to congressional researchers. The Pentagon promises to do so in the next quarter.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Department of Defense Contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan: Background and Analysis (by Moshe Schwartz, Congressional Research Service) (pdf)
The Other Afghanistan Surge: Contractors (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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