Journal: MILNET Flags Afghanistan Contractors Outnumber Troops

02 Diplomacy, 10 Security, Military

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Despite Surge in U.S. Deployments, More Civilians Are Posted in War Zone; Reliance Echoes the Controversy in Iraq

Wall Street Journal, August 22, 2009, Pg. 6, By August Cole

Even as U.S. troops surge to new highs in Afghanistan they are outnumbered by military contractors working alongside them, according to a Defense Departm! ent census due to be distributed to Congress — illustrating how hard it is for the U.S. to wean itself from the large numbers of war-zone contractors that proved controversial in Iraq.

The number of military contractors in Afghanistan rose to almost 74,000 by June 30, far outnumbering the roughly 58,000 U.S. soldiers on the ground at that point. As the military force in Afghanistan grows further, to a planned 68,000 by the end of the year, the Defense Department expects the ranks of contractors to increase more.

The military requires contractors for essential functions ranging from supplying food and laundry services to guarding convoys and even military bases — functions that were once performed by military personnel but have been outsourced so a slimmed-down military can focus more on battle-related tasks.

Phi Beta Iota Editorial Comment: As Ralph Peters says, we’ve outsourced our honor, to which we would add, and sacrificed both our integrity and our competence.