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NATO allies still haven’t provided all of the troops they promised to train Afghanistan’s nascent police force. When in doubt, contract it out.
Before the New Year, the Army will finally award a much-delayed $1.6 billion-with-a-b contract for a private security firm to supplement that NATO training command’s efforts to professionalize Afghan cops. That bid touched off a bureaucratic tempest between Blackwater/Xe Services and DynCorp, which held an old contract for the same job, as well as the State Department and the Army.
Want a good measurement of “NATO’s enduring commitment” to Afghanistan even after combat forces depart? The Afghan soldiers and cops NATO trains to secure the country are going to need $6 billion from international donors every year to keep operating
John Ferrari, the deputy commander for programs at NATO’s training mission, estimates that “sustainment” for the Afghan forces will cost $6 billion annually — at least. In response to a question from Danger Room on a blogger conference call Thursday, Ferrari said that those costs include “fuel, repair parts, salaries, uniforms, individual solider equipment,” as well as $300 to $400 million per year for “capital equipment.” And that’s if the Obama administration and NATO decides early next year that 300,000 soldiers and cops are enough. If not, then NATO will need more cash from Congress to fund the plus-up — and, presumably, sustainment costs will accordingly rise.
To put that number in context, the CIA estimates Afghanistan’s gross domestic product is around $27 billion. Keeping soldiers and police fed, clothed, billeted, armed and equipped, realistically, will be a job for international donors for the foreseeable future.