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Sié Chéou-Kang CenterPrivate Security Monitor

Trucks are prepared for combat patrol in Iraq.

U.S. Government Research & Oversight

Congressional Budget Office

The mandate of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is to provide the Congress with objective analyses to aid in economic and budgetary decisions. The documents that CBO publishes fall into two main categories: (1) cost estimates for legislation and (2) analyses of economic, budgetary, and policy issues. In its analyses, the CBO has studied the use of contractors to support U.S. activities in Iraq and Afghanistan. Note that in accordance with the CBO's mandate to provide objective and impartial analysis, CBO's reports contain no policy recommendations.

Analytical Studies

Federal Contracts and the Contracted Workforce

Author: Douglas W. Elmendorf, Director
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While not a analytical study, this letter from Director Elmendorf to Congressman Chris Van Hollen of the House Committee on the Budget, describes concisely and thoroughly the US government's use of contractors in the federal workforce. The CBO estimates that all federal agencies spent a total of $500 billion on contracts in 2012 and such spending grew faster than inflation between 2000 and 2012.  The document also touches on areas of government services that are appropriate for the use of contractors in the place of federal employees or military personnel.

Growth in DoD's Budget From 2000 to 2014

Author: CBO
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Between 2000 and 2014, the Department of Defense's budget grew from $384 billion to $502 billion, an increase of 31 percent.  The largest contributor to this growth was the increase in costs fro military personnel, followed by operations and maintenance which includes payments to the DoD's support contractors.  The report states that the shifting of noncombat jobs from the military to contractors reduced the number of service members, but not the amount of weapons procured.

Long-Term Implications of the 2015 Future Years Defense Program

Author: CBO
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This report analyzes the long-term budget implications of the Department of Defense's five-year plan titled Future Years Defense Program.  The CBO finds that operation and support costs, including payments to military contractors, constitutes approximately 40 percent of the base budget for 2015.  Further, the CBO makes predictions concerning DoD spending past the Future Years program to estimate defense costs up to 2030.

Logistics Support for Deployed Military Forces

Author: CBO
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From 2002-2005, more than $15 billion of logistics support (including such services as base-camp construction, food, fuel, housing, and supplies) was provided to the Army in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere in Southwest Asia under contract. This CBO study evaluates alternative mixes of military personnel, federal civilians, and contractors that could support the Army’s deployed combat forces. Four options that would vary the mix among the three labor categories are analyzed on the basis of their cost, flexibility, and legal considerations.

Contractors’ Support of U.S. Operations in Iraq

Author: CBO
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This CBO paper examines the use of contractors in the Iraq theater from 2003 - 2007. It provides an overview of the federal government’s costs of employing contractors in Iraq and in nearby countries, the type of products and services they provide, the number of personnel working on those contracts, comparisons of past and present use of contractors during U.S. military operations, and the use of contractors to provide security. The report also examines the command-and-control structure between the U.S. government and contract employees and the legal issues surrounding contractor personnel working in Iraq.