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CRS report on PSCs in Afghanistan and Iraq 02232011

CRS report on PSCs in Afghanistan and Iraq 02232011

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Published by: Justin Elliott on Feb 24, 2011
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CRS Report for Congress
Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress
The Department of Defense’s Use of PrivateSecurity Contractors in Afghanistan and Iraq:Background, Analysis, and Options forCongress
Moshe Schwartz
Specialist in Defense AcquisitionFebruary 21, 2011
Congressional Research Service
7-5700www.crs.govR40835
 
DOD's Use of PSCs in Afghanistan and IraqCongressional Research Service
Summary
The United States relies on contractors to provide a wide variety of services in Afghanistan andIraq, including armed security. While DOD has previously contracted for security in Bosnia andelsewhere, it appears that in Afghanistan and Iraq DOD is for the first time relying so heavily onarmed contractors to provide security during combat or stability operations. Much of the attentiongiven to private security contractors (PSCs) by Congress and the media is a result of numeroushigh-profile incidents in which security contractors have been accused of shooting civilians, usingexcessive force, being insensitive to local customs or beliefs, or otherwise behavinginappropriately. Some analysts believe that the use of contractors, particularly private securitycontractors, may have undermined U.S. counterinsurgency efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq.As of December 31, 2010, there were more than 27,000 private security contractor personnel inAfghanistan and Iraq, representing 17% of DOD’s total contractor workforce in Afghanistan andIraq. Since December 2009, the number of PSC personnel in Afghanistan has exceeded thenumber in Iraq.In Afghanistan, as of December 2010, there were 18,919 private security contractor personnelworking for DOD, the highest number since DOD started tracking the data in September 2007.The number of PSC personnel in Afghanistan has more than tripled since June 2009.In Iraq, as of December 2010, there were 8,327 private security contractor personnel working forDOD, down from a high of 15,279 in June 2009. As a result of the transition of activities fromDOD to the Department of State, State anticipates increasing its reliance on PSCs. However, theoverall number of PSC personnel working in Iraq for the United States is not increasing. FromJune 2009 to December 2010, the number of PSC personnel working for DOD has declined byalmost 7,000—more than offsetting the estimated addition 3,000 PSC personnel that theDepartment of State anticipates having to hire as a result of the transition.This report examines current PSC trends in Afghanistan and Iraq, steps DOD has taken toimprove oversight and management, and the impact using private security personnel can have onmilitary operations. It also reviews steps Congress has taken to exercise oversight over the use of PSCs and includes options for Congress.
 
DOD's Use of PSCs in Afghanistan and IraqCongressional Research Service
Contents
Background................................................................................................................................1
 
Services Provided by Private Security Contractors................................................................1
 
Number and Profile of PSCs Working in Afghanistan and Iraq..............................................2
 
Congressional Focus on PSCs...............................................................................................4
 
Private Security Companies Working For the U.S. Government...................................................5
 
Why the U.S. Government Uses PSCs...................................................................................5
 
Department of Defense PSCs................................................................................................6
 
Afghanistan....................................................................................................................7
 
Iraq...............................................................................................................................10
 
Can the Use of PSCs Undermine US Efforts?......................................................................13
 
DOD Management and Oversight of PSCs..........................................................................17
 
Options for Congress................................................................................................................18
 
Define the Role that Private Security Contractors Can Play in Support of MilitaryOperations Taking Place in Unsecured Environments.......................................................18
 
Prohibit armed security contractors from being deployed in combat zones.....................18
 
Restrict armed security contractors to performing static security....................................19
 
Restrict armed security contractors to static security, with an exception for localnationals....................................................................................................................19
 
Use armed security contractors only in a supporting role for mobile security.................19
 
Figures
Figure 1. Trend of PSC Personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq...........................................................6
 
Figure 2. Trend of Security Contractors in Afghanistan................................................................8
 
Figure 3. PSC Personnel vs. Total Contractor and Troop Levels in Afghanistan...........................8
 
Figure 4. Number of PSC Personnel Killed vs. Uniformed Personnel..........................................9
 
Figure 5. Trend of Security Contractors in Afghanistan by Nationality.......................................10
 
Figure 6. Trend of Security Contractors in Iraq..........................................................................11
 
Figure 7. Number of PSCs vs. Total Contractor and Troop Levels in Iraq..................................12
 
Figure 8. Trend of Security Contractors in Iraq by Nationality...................................................13
 
Tables
Table 1. Number of Security Contractors in Afghanistan by Nationality.......................................7
 
Table 2. Number of Security Contractors in Iraq by Nationality.................................................10
 
Table A-1. PSC Personnel Data for Afghanistan........................................................................21
 
Table A-2. PSC Personnel Data for Iraq.....................................................................................21
 

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