Soldiers gone, but contractors remain in Iraq. U.S. relies heavily on civilians, with even more in Afghanistan.
State Department officials have said they expect that 5,000 security contractors will be needed in Iraq next year to protect U.S. diplomats.
A “life support” team of an additional 4,500 contractors will cook, clean and provide transportation and other services.
In Afghanistan, 105,000 U.S. troops are supported by about 101,000 civilian contractors.
Only 23,000 of those contractors are U.S. citizens. About 50,000 are Afghans, and 27,900 come from other countries.
“The U.S. military can't move, fight or sustain itself without contractor support today,” said Steven Schooner, a law professor at George Washington University who has studied contractor fatalities.
According to a report released in August by the congressionally chartered Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, at least $31 billion — and possibly as much as $60 billion — has been lost to contract waste and fraud. It concluded that the government was relying too much on contractors and that major reforms were needed.
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