11 December 2008

Which costs more, contractor or soldier?

Popular Mechanics (yes, I know...) has an interesting analysis on the cost of contractors vs soldiers in a war zone:
The CBO used similar-size Army units to compare with private guards and found that sergeants in combat earn as much as $190 per day while private firms charge a staggering $1200 per day. Both the private security and U.S. military figures include costs like transportation and equipment, but the military statistic excludes large costs such as disability benefits, retirement and healthcare. The CBO determined that the actual costs are similar, in part because the Pentagon must pay for reserve units to replace the soldiers who are leaving.

Not all the math is 100% correct, but it's there to see.

Basically, contractors cost a lot more in the short term, but a lot less in the long term because you have no long-term obligations for health care, retirement pensions, etc. You can also add and subtract as many as needed as fast as needed, without regard for Congressional troop ceilings and all the administrivia you get with people joining the military. The downside, of course, is that they tend to perform to a wide range of standards.

By: Brant

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