As the Army struggles to meet recruitment numbers, FRONTLINE takes a hard look at private contractors servicing U.S. military supply lines, running U.S. military bases, and protecting U.S. diplomats and generals. Between the logistics giant Halliburton and a myriad of armed security companies, private military contractors comprise the second largest "force" in Iraq, far outnumbering all non-U.S. forces combined. There are as many as 100,000 civilian contractors and approximately 20,000 private security forces.
In "Private Warriors," FRONTLINE correspondent Martin Smith travels throughout Kuwait and Iraq to give viewers an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at companies like Kellogg, Brown & Root, a Halliburton subsidiary, and its civilian army. KBR has 50,000 employees in Iraq and Kuwait that run U.S. military supply lines and operate U.S. military bases. KBR is also the largest contractor in Iraq, providing the Army with $11.84 billion dollars in services since 2002.
Historically, there is nothing new about the military's use of private contractors, but the Iraq war has seen outsourcing on an unprecedented scale. The policy change came after the Cold War when the Pentagon was downsizing under then Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney. Cheney first hired Halliburton as a consultant and later became the company's president. Halliburton subsidiary KBR is now one of the largest recipients of government contracts.
FRONTLINE visits the biggest Halliburton/KBR run base, Camp Anaconda, in the Sunni triangle. Behind concrete walls 28,000 soldiers and 8,000 civilians live in bases that offer Taekwondo and Salsa lessons, movie theatres, fast food courts, and four meals a day. The amenities are impressive, but some argue that there is a price to pay. Says a former base commander Marine Colonel Thomas X. Hammes, "it's misguided luxury … somebody's risking their lives to deliver that luxury."
More info: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/warriors/