Numbers Game

By Sebastian Sprenger / March 17, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Just a few years ago, defense officials said they hadn't the faintest idea of how many contractors were working for the military in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thanks to some congressional pressure and the advent of a piece of software with the fitting acronym SPOT, the fog has cleared a bit.

As of Dec. 31, 2008, the total number of contractors in the U.S. Central Command area was just slightly under 260,000, according to a recently released Pentagon information paper. Of that amount, 52,000 were U.S. citizens. The rest are, in equal parts, citizens from the countries where U.S. force operate and individuals from outside those countries.

The paper includes an interesting update on all kinds of contractor-related efforts at DOD.

For example, it describes a Sept. 10, 2008, memo from former Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England, which served to create what the document calls a “'911' Response Capability.” Specifically, the memo provided guidance for military personnel “on the responsibility to respond to reports that . . . contractor and civilian employees have allegedly committed crimes or who are reported to be the victims of crimes,” the information paper states.