Student Researchers: Claire Apatoff, Erin Kielty, Tom Rich
Faculty Evaluator: Clarissa Peterson, Associate Professor of Political Science, DePauw University
Faculty Instructor: Kevin Howley
In 2008 it was estimated that the U.S. Government paid more than one hundred billion dollars to private contractors, half of these contractors were private mercenaries for combat and “security”. In a June 2009 interview with Bill Moyers, journalist Jermey Scahill reported that private war companies or “contractors” have risen 29% in the past three months. Today, these private contractors, which include companies like KBR, DynCorp, Halliburton and Xe (formerly Blackwater), outnumber the troops currently in Afghanistan, and will continue to outnumber them with the latest increase of President Obama’s 30,000 troops. These private contractors are hired to provide food, transportation, construction, and security. There are 104,000 private contractors that are currently being supported by the Defense Department in Afghanistan. People hired by these private contractors are often non-American citizens and well over sixty percent of the contractors are Afghan locals, leaving questions of security.
This issue is scarcely reported and the majority of U.S. citizens do not know the real number of people employed in this war. The increase of troops in Afghanistan also questions the government whether the thirty billion dollar estimate for increased troops will go towards the private contractors as well. It is estimated that the U.S. government has paid slightly less than two hundred billion dollars for contractors in Afghanistan and the number could jump to half a trillion dollars.