Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Defense Contractors in Afghanistan

Monday, December 21, 2009

Defense Contractors in Afghanistan

Number of Contractors
As of September 2009, there were 104,101 DOD contractors in
Afghanistan, compared to approximately 64,000 uniformed personnel. Contractors made up 62%
of DOD’s workforce in Afghanistan (see Figure 7). In December 2008, contractors represented
69% of DOD’s workforce in Afghanistan, which apparently represented the highest recorded
percentage of contractors used by DOD in any conflict in the history of the United States.

Figure 7. DOD Contractors in Afghanistan vs. Troop Levels

DOD Contractors in Afghanistan vs. Troop Levels
Source: CENTCOM Quarterly Census Reports; Troop Levels in the Afghan and Iraq Wars, FY2001-FY2012: Cost
and Other Potential Issues, by Amy Belasco; Joint Staff, Joint Chiefs of Staff, “Boots on the Ground” monthly
reports to Congress; CRS estimate of troops in Afghanistan for September, 2009.

Some analysts and DOD officials believe that the higher percentage of contractors in Afghanistan
is partially a result two factors: contractors providing some services to the more than 30,000
international forces that are part of the International Security Assistance Force29 and DOD’s
expansion of facilities to support the anticipated military surge in Afghanistan.

On December 1, 2009, President Obama announced that the United States will be deploying an
additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, bringing the total number of U.S. troops there to
approximately 100,000. Such a troop increase will likely require an increase in the number of
contractors in Afghanistan. According to DOD officials, contractors are expected to make up
approximately 50%-55% of the total workforce in Afghanistan in the future, although such an
estimate could change if conditions in Afghanistan change.30

Over the last seven quarters, contractors have made up between 55% and 69% of DOD’s
workforce in Afghanistan, averaging 62% of the workforce during that period (with a mode of
57%). Assuming that going forward contractors will continue to make up a similar percentage of
DOD’s workforce, deploying 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan could require an additional
26,000 to 56,000 contractors, for a total of between 130,000 to 160,000 contractors (see Table 3).
The contractor footprint in Afghanistan could increase further if the new strategy includes a more
robust construction and nation building effort.

Table 3. Number of Contractors Required

Troop Level Contractors as % of
Total Workforce
Additional Contractors
Required
Total Number of
Contractors
100,000 55% 16,000 120,000
100,000 57% 26,000 130,000
100,000 62% 56,000 160,000

Source: CRS analysis of DOD data.
Notes: Over the last seven quarters (March 2008 to September 2009), contractors have represented 65%, 55%,
67%, 69%, 57%, 57%, and 62% of the total DOD workforce, respectively. The data points listed in the table were
chosen because they represent the lowest contractor/workforce ratio (55%), the mode (57%), and the mean
(average)(62%).

Type of Work Performed by Contractors
DOD does not report the breakdown of services that contractors provide in Afghanistan, with the
exception of data on private security contractors. Nevertheless, the types of services provided by
contractors in Afghanistan are similar to those conducted in Iraq, including logistics, construction,
linguistic services, and transportation; however, the percentage of contractors providing each
service are likely different. DOD officials stated that they will start providing data on the
breakdown of services in Afghanistan in the next quarterly census.

Profile of Contractors
As of September 2009, of the approximately 104,000 contractors in Afghanistan, 9,300 were U.S.
citizens, 16,000 were third-country nationals, and 78,500 were local nationals (see Table 4).
Local nationals made up 75% of contractor personnel.

Table 4. DOD Contractor Personnel in Afghanistan
(as of September 2009)

Total Contractors U.S. Citizens Third-Country Nationals Local Nationals
Number 104,101 9,322 16,349 78,430
Percent of Total 100% 9% 16% 75%

Source: CENTCOM 4th Quarter Contractor Census Report.

DOD uses significantly more local nationals in Afghanistan than U.S. citizens and third-country
nationals combined. There also appears to be an inverse relationship between the percentage of
troops and local national contractors in Afghanistan (see Figure 8), although there is not enough
data to draw significant conclusions with statistical reliability. Understanding such data could
help DOD plan more effectively for contractor requirements in future operations.

Figure 8. Breakdown of DOD Contractor Workforce in Afghanistan

Breakdown of DOD Contractor Workforce in Afghanistan
Source: CENTCOM Quarterly Contractor Census Reports; CRS Report R40682, Troop Levels in the Afghan and
Iraq Wars, FY2001-FY2012: Cost and Other Potential Issues, by Amy Belasco; Joint Staff, Joint Chiefs of Staff, “Boots
on the Ground” monthly reports to Congress; CRS estimate of troops in Afghanistan for September, 2009.

Endnotes

29 See ISAF “Placemat.”

30 Based on discussions with DOD officials, December 8, and December 11, 2009.

December 22, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. These are key people that need to be hired at these positions.

    Comment by Defense Contractors | November 8, 2010 | Reply


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