US Contractor Bills in Iraq to Hit $100B

Workers outnumber troops, account for 20% of war spending
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 12, 2008 6:00 AM CDT
A US soldier and a private security contractor pull out a wounded Iraqi from the rubble of a bridge destroyed by an apparent suicide vehicle bomber on Sunday, June 10, 2007 in Iraq.    (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
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(Newser) – By the end of the year, the US will have spent $100 billion on private defense contractors in Iraq, a congressional report finds, showing more private-sector reliance than any previous wartime. Some 20% of funds spent on the war have gone to contractors, whose numbers are now greater than the US military, the New York Times reports.

Those numbers are a source of concern to some who say that defense contracting is wasteful and poses a threat to the safety of US troops. “It was considered an all-out imperative by the administration to keep troop levels low,” so it shifted “money and manpower to contractors. But that has exposed the military to greater risks from contractor waste and abuse,” said an expert.