Pentagon Has No Idea What 108,000 Contractors Are Doing

Photo: AP Photo/Gervasio Sanchez
By DAVID FRANCIS, The Fiscal Times June 3, 2013

The number of contractors working in Afghanistan now vastly outnumbers American troops stationed there, according to a Congressional Research Service report. CRS, along with the Government Accountability Office, also determined that the Pentagon is unable to properly document the work these contractors are doing. And the information DOD is receiving is often unreliable and inaccurate.

According to CRS, there are now 108,000 private workers in Afghanistan, a workforce that dwarfs the 65,700 American troops still stationed there. That means there are 1.6 contractors for every American soldier in Afghanistan. This is an increase from last month, when The Fiscal Times reported that there were 1.4 contractors per American soldier.

Given the size of the private forces, it’s not surprising that CRS found that in recent years, the Defense Department spent more than any other agency to support contractor work.

“Over the last six fiscal years, DOD obligations for contracts performed in the Iraq and Afghanistan areas of operation were approximately $160 billion and exceeded total contract obligations of any other U.S. federal agency,” CRS found. Continue reading “Pentagon Has No Idea What 108,000 Contractors Are Doing”

Not in Romney speech: Afghanistan, Social Security

Not in Romney speech: Afghanistan, Social Security

LAURIE KELLMAN | August 31, 2012 08:49 AM EST |

WASHINGTON — Social Security. Medicare. Iraq. Afghanistan. Illegal immigration.

They’re all costly to taxpayers and the next president presumably will have to address them to one degree or another. Yet GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney made no mention of those issues Thursday in his wide-ranging acceptance speech that closed the Republican National Convention.

The address was Romney’s most sweeping attempt yet to outline the case for his candidacy. It was no time to get into the nitty-gritty of federal budgeting and solutions to the nation’s ills. But Romney did find ways to talk about an array of other issues, some of them sensitive for him personally and politically.

Romney did, for example, pledge to “protect the sanctity of life,” a reference to abortion, even though there are clear differences on the issue between him and running mate Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. He referred to his family as Mormons, a rarity for a candidate who typically refers to his religion as “my faith.” And Romney even showed emotion, which he seldom does in public, when he spoke of longing to wake up again with a pile of children in the bedroom he shares with wife Ann. Continue reading “Not in Romney speech: Afghanistan, Social Security”