Area chart and statistics of contractors deployed by the US in Afghanistan. End of September 2009, the total workforce reached  168,051, of which 104,101 contractors and 63,950 uniformed forces. The upgrading of military strength to the 100,000 level announced by the US President in December 2009 will bring contractor presence to 130,000 or 160,000, raising the total US forces in Afghanistan to 230,000 or 260,000.

The US increasingly rely on contractors to complement the operational muscle of their uniformed personnel. As of September 2009, there were 104,101 contractors for 63,950 uniformed forces in Afghanistan. The upgrading of military strength to the 100,000 level announced by the US President in December 2009 will bring contractor presence to 130,000 or 160,000, raising the total US forces in the country to around 250,000. Analysts believe that the US are now unable to successfully execute large missions without contractor support.

Privatisation of the war is costly. According to CBO (Congressional Budget Office) estimates, DOD (Department of Defence) obligated approximately $30 billion on contractors for the conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan for 2007 and first half of 2008. But it also builds other less obvious costs:
» Losing in-house skills and capabilities by the US military.
» Delaying or even preventing troops from receiving needed support.
» Wasteful spending.
» Abuses and crimes committed by certain contractors against local nationals, thus undermining US counterinsurgency efforts.
Similar data is not provided by the other NATO coalition members (see also Afghanistan war casualties).

 

Build-Up of US Contractor Forces in Afghanistan

Afghanistan only

Contractors

Troops

Total US Workforce

Ratio Contractor/Total Workforce

Actuals as of September 2009104,10163,950168,05162%
Estimate Low ¹120,000100,000 ²220,00055%
Estimate Mode ¹130,000100,000 ²230,00057%
Estimate Mean ¹160,000100,000 ²260,00062%
¹ Representing the lowest contractor/total workforce ratio (55%), the mode (57%), and the mean (62%) over the last seven quarters, Mar 08 - Sep 09, for which data are available.
² Troops "surge" announced by US President in December 2009.

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Sources: see CRS Reports (CRS estimates from public laws, congressional appropriations reports & DoD data).

 

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