Click on charts to expand.
In addition to increased reliance on drones and other mechanical weapons systems, the US military has increasingly turned to private contractors to help fight their wars.
Based on open sources from the department of defense - which certainly do not include special forces - there are currently 384,926 personnel actively engaged in supporting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
111,700 – Troops Deployed in and around Afghanistan (June 2011)
93,118 – Department of Defense (DoD) Contractors (July 2011)
15,305 – DoD Private Security – does not include USAID and State(July 2011)
Total - 220,123
91,700 – Troops deployed in and around Iraq (June 2011)
62,689 – DoD Contractor Personnel
10,414 - DoD Private Security – does not include USAID and State(July 2011)
Total - 164,803
Contractor Support of U.S. Operations in USCENTCOM AOR
DoD Personnel Statistics (30 June 2011)
Two articles on the implications for Afghanistan and Iraq.
IRAQ: Of "Instructors" and Interests in Iraq
“The Obama administration repeatedly declares that it is “on track” to withdraw all US military forces from Iraq by the end of 2011, in keeping with candidate Barack Obama’s signature promise to “end the war in Iraq.” But, even as the White House avows this intention, policymakers in Washington repeatedly express their hope that the Iraqi government will ask some US troops to stay, perhaps 10,000 or more, past December. In an ideal world, US strategists would like the Iraqis to decide to extend the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) signed in late 2008, which provides legal cover for the US military presence in post-invasion Iraq. A series of summertime developments in Iraq have now made it clear that no such straightforward extension is forthcoming.”
Full article by Reider Visser: Click here.
AFGHANISTAN: America in Afghanistan Until 2024?
"The Daily Telegraph reports that the status of forces agreement that the United States and Afghanistan are negotiating may allow a U.S. military presence in the country until 2024 . That’s a full 10 years beyond the deadline for withdrawal of U.S. combat troops and handing over security responsibilities to Afghan forces.
The negotiations are being conducted under a veil of security, and we have no way of knowing, at this point at least, if the two sides are really talking about U.S. troops in the country for that long. (The very fact that a decade after U.S. troops entered the country there is no formal agreement spelling out the terms of their deployment is in itself remarkable)"
Full article by Sanjeen Miglani: Click here.