Despite the wars in the Middle East showing no signs of slowing down, what is beginning to wane is the US government’s reliance on contractors to help. The Defense Department is using thousands of fewer military contractors in the early days of the Trump administration than at the end of the Obama presidency.
Whether or not the numbers stay low under a Trump administration remains to be seen. At least early in his presidency, he’s been much less restrictive about deploying conventional troops to the fray and then recently deployed 400 more Rangers and Marines to Syria where 1000 contractors now work along with 1000 Special Operations Forces.
More than 42,000 private contractors, including translators, administrators as well as security personnel, are currently operating in the U.S. Central Command area of operations, down from 45,500 in the waning days of the Obama administration, according to the latest quarterly report released this week. The bulk – almost 25,000 – are in Afghanistan compared to more than 26,000 in January, amid roughly 8,500 American troops there.