Another fantastic resource for those that are keeping track. Over the years, I have tracked these statistics and it is always interesting to see the trends or actual hard facts about the use of contractors by the US in places like Iraq or Afghanistan. Mind you, this is only for DoD related contractor personnel.

On a side note, I personally think that this reporting activity should be done based on a legal requirement, separate from the budget. That way, we can get a true picture of how many contractors are actually being used out there. It would be nice to see DoS report as well, and do something similar to what DoD is doing with these. –Matt


Report PDF here.




This report provides background information for Congress on the levels of Department of Defense (DOD) troop and contractor personnel deployed in support of prior and ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. For more information on DOD’s use of contractor personnel to support military operations, see CRS Report R43074, Department of Defense’s Use of Contractors to Support Military Operations: Background, Analysis, and Issues for Congress, by Moshe Schwartz.

The Role of Contractors in Military Operations

Throughout its history, DOD has relied on contractors to support a wide range of military operations. Operations over the past 30 years have highlighted the critical role that contractors play in supporting U.S. troops—both in terms of the number of contractors and the type of work being performed. During recent U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, contractors frequently averaged 50% or more of the total DOD presence in-country. As of March 2016, there were approximately 28,600 DOD contractor personnel in Afghanistan, compared to 8,730 U.S. troops, with contract personnel representing approximately 77% of the total DOD presence in country. Of the 28,600 DOD contractor personnel, approximately 870, or about 3%, were private security contractors. DOD ceased publicly reporting numbers of DOD contractor personnel working in Iraq in December 2013, following the conclusion of the U.S. combat mission, and the subsequent drawdown of DOD contractor personnel levels in Iraq. In late 2014, in response in part to developing operations in the region, DOD reinitiated reporting broad estimates of DOD contractor personnel deployed in Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR). As the number of DOD contractor personnel in Iraq increased over the first six months of 2015, DOD resumed reporting exact numbers and primary mission categories of OIR contractor personnel in June 2015. As of July 2016, there were approximately 2,500 DOD contractor personnel in Iraq, compared to a current force management level of 4,087 U.S. troops in Iraq, primarily deployed as part of a U.S.-led coalition advise-and-assist mission in support of the Government of Iraq. Contract personnel thus represented approximately 38% of the total estimated DOD presence in-country. From FY2007 to FY2015, DOD obligations for contracts performed in the greater Iraq and Afghanistan areas of operation were approximately $220 billion in FY2017 dollars. A number of analysts have raised questions about the reliability of the data gathered by DOD regarding the contractors it employs in theater in support of military operations. For a discussion on the reliability of the following historical data, see CRS Report R40764, Department of Defense Contractors in Afghanistan and Iraq: Background and Analysis, by Moshe Schwartz and Joyprada Swain.