Dempsey: Contractors Outnumber Soldiers

Wartime contracting has expanded from a ratio of six troops per contractor during the Revolutionary War to less than one service member per contractor in the ongoing war in Afghanistan, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army General Martin Dempsey said.

“It can’t keep going that way,” he said.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group analyzed what the Department of Defense spent on contracting from 1990 to 2010 and noted defense contract dollars more than doubled from 2001 to 2010.

“Contract spending far outpaced growth in other DOD outlays,” the report noted. “This growth was concentrated in products and services, which experienced a compound annual growth rate of 8.4 percent and 9.4 percent, respectively, compared to the [research and development] category’s 5.4 percent annual growth.”


The ratio is expected to shrink as the war effort winds down, allowing for the department to better access what it needs going forward without the immediate needs overseas.

“We’re shrinking back to what we can afford,” he said.

Latest Podcasts