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With President Obama addressing the nation tonight about a new escalation in Afghanistan, a perennially underexamined topic is once again receiving short shrift: the huge force of contractors, which as of June outnumbered the size of the U.S. troop presence itself, is likely to swell. The Administration seemingly hasn't addressed the issue, and the word "contractor" doesn't appear much in media coverage -- for example, in the Times and Post stories on the escalation today. But David Berteau, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, tells TPM that as Obama increases troop levels to at least 100,000, "there will definitely be an increase in the number of contractors."
The number of contractors in Afghanistan as of June was 73,968, compared with 55,107 troops. Of the total contractors, about 10,000 are Americans, 51,000 are locals, and roughly 12,000 are third-country nationals. Take a look at this graph from the study:
Originally posted by TeslaandLyne
That is what you call supporting the troops.
But that is a lot of cooks and fort help.