Is Erik Prince Pointing the Way Out of Afghanistan? By James Durso - Real Clear Defense
… So now comes Erik Prince, the man everyone loves to hate, with a plan to privatize and streamline the tasks now being performed by about 14,000 American and 8,000 NATO troops and over 26,000 contractors. Prince earned his notoriety in Iraq when his security company, Blackwater Worldwide, was involved in a shooting incident at Baghdad’s Nisour Square that left seventeen innocent bystanders dead and caused Blackwater’s expulsion from the country. Prince, in his defense, claims he never lost a client which, if you were protected by his teams, is probably the most significant criterion.
Prince proposes to replace the NATO forces and their support contractors with 6,000 contractors, all special operations veterans, and 2,000 U.S. special operations troops, who will provide QA for the contractors, and unilateral direct-action capability. The mentor-contractors will stay with their assigned Afghan National Army battalions for a minimum of three years. 2,000 contractors will operate aircraft for medical evacuation and close air support and will staff two western-style combat surgical hospitals that would also treat wounded Afghan soldiers. The contractors and U.S. forces would be subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice and Afghan law, and contractor medical care would be provided by Defense Base Act insurance, which is current practice for contingency contracts.
The plan includes a governance support unit that will provide logistics to the force and, very importantly, prevent payment to Afghanistan’s “ghost soldiers” and the skimming of soldiers’ pay by their commanders, perennial corruption problems in Afghanistan’s military…