The White House is currently looking into privatizing a portion of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. If the agenda was successful, private contractors would take over the majority of training and hopefully assist in the frozen war.
The proposal would include 5,500 private contractors, most of whom were once Special Operations soldiers. These soldiers would still not be engaged in combat, but would rather train the Afghan army. Included in the proposal would be a 90-plane air force which would assist the private contractors in air support when needed. All these benefits will help end the 16-year-old war according to Erik Prince of Blackwater security firm.
Prince founded Blackwater in 1997 after serving as a Navy SEAL. The security company has worked in both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and was eventually sold by Prince in 2010. “At what point do you say a conventional military approach in Afghanistan is not working,” Said Prince to USA Today. “Maybe we say that at 16 years.”
Prince also stated that Including private contractors would reduce the size of soldiers in Afghanistan by nearly 40 percent and would reduce cost by nearly $30 billion. The White House acknowledges those benefits and is seriously considering making this proposal a reality. But not everyone at the White House likes the idea. National Security adviser H.R. McMaster and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis have largely been against the idea.
With Trump’s hard stance on finances, saving money via privatization could make it easy for him to decide. The proposal, designed by Prince, would allow private contractors to work with the Afghan soldiers while the air force would focus on medical evacuation, transporting troops, and air support.
According to Prince’s proposal, all contractors would be embedded into the Afghan army and all air support strikes would be authorized by the Afghan government. Though the White House hasn’t mentioned anything about accepting Prince’s proposal, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson did say the White House was looking for new ways to end the longest war experienced by the United States. During a trip to Manila, Tillerson stated the following:
“To just say we’re going to keep doing what we’ve been doing, the president is not willing to accept that, and so he is asking some tough questions.”
Prince has received much criticism from his proposal, most of which say he will profit from the privatization. He has obviously rejected those claims and stated that it would save taxpayers money. He also said, “the idea of innovation and risk taking is certainly part of America.”
This also isn’t the first time this type of action has been taken. Just before the United States entered into World War II, the Flying Tigers were formed covertly. These Flying Tigers resigned from their service and were hired by private contractors to go to China and defend against the Japanese.
Credit: USA Today