Inside Erik Prince's Proposal to Outsource the War in Afghanistan by Josh Rogin - Washington Post
Businessman and Blackwater founder Erik Prince has been shopping around Washington a detailed proposal for replacing thousands of American soldiers in Afghanistan with contractors from foreign countries led by a “viceroy” with almost unfettered power over U.S. military and diplomatic policy.
Prince has been public about the broad outlines of his plan, which is reportedly supported by some senior White House officials, including chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, but many crucial details have not been brought into public view, until now. Prince has laid out his proposal in a PowerPoint presentation to government officials, lawmakers and congressional officials.
Entitled “A Strategic Economy of Force,” it is nothing less than a plan to change the way Afghanistan is governed, how the war is fought and the very nature of the U.S.-Afghan bilateral relationship.
Prince’s plan is opposed by senior military leaders including national security adviser H.R. McMaster, key lawmakers who have received Prince’s brief and senior military officials who have fought in Afghanistan over the past 16 years.
“It’s something that would come from a bad soldier of fortune novel,” said Sen. Lindsay O. Graham (R-S.C.) who met with Prince about the proposal. “It’s a military-political approach and it would be a disaster on both fronts.”
Prince has described the proposal in interviews this week as a plan to send 5,500 private military contractors to embed with Afghan National Security Forces units at the battalion level to fight the Taliban, supported by a 90-plane private air force. Prince presents the plan as an alternative for President Trump to the proposal put forth by his top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Nicholson, who has publicly called for a “few thousand” more U.S. troops to be added to the approximately 8,200 U.S. soldiers there now…