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James Mattis: White House Considers Proposal to Increase Contractor Presence in Afghanistan

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James Mattis
James Mattis

Defense Secretary James Mattis has said the White House is considering a proposal to boost the presence of private security contractors in Afghanistan in an effort to transition some of U.S. troops’ combat duties to such contractors, DoD Buzz reported Tuesday.

“It’s part of the options being considered,” Mattis, an inductee into Executive Mosaic’s Wash100 for 2017, told reporters Monday at the Pentagon.

“And the president’s open to the advice of the secretary of state, and myself and the director of the CIA,” he added.

The proposal was suggested by Erik Prince, a former Navy SEAL officer and founder of private security firm Blackwater that now runs as Academi, through a May 31 opinion piece published in The Wall Street Journal.

Prince also told USA Today his proposal would involve the deployment of 5,500 private contractors to Afghanistan to advise local forces and a 90-aircraft private air force to perform close air support missions.