Last week the Commission on Wartime Contracting held another hearing focusing this time on the lack of Governmental oversight over the contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. This got us to wondering just how many contractor personnel were over there. We dug around a little bit and found a report from the Department of Defense showing that information. The data is from May of this year. Here are a few facts to help put things in perspective.
There were 207,553 contractor personnel operating in Iraq and Afghanistan. Of this amount only 53,421 (about 20%) were U.S. Citizens. (that's about 14,000 fewer than attended the Seattle Seahawks win over the San Diego Chargers yesterday). The remaining 80 percent were local/host country nationals and third country nationals. Of that 53 thousand, only 1,150 are armed private security contractors we hear so much about. Most of these contractor personnel are involved in base support activities, logistics, maintenance, construction and transportation.
By the way, before you consider submitting a bid for a potential lucrative contract in Iraq or Afghanistan, consider risks. So far in 2010, contractor deaths have exceeded military deaths (254 vs 235). Maybe the reason that we don't hear much about that fact is that most of these contractor deaths involved local/host country nationals or third country nationals; from places like India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and the Philippines. These workers, it is reported, earn about $20 per day for a 12-hour shift.