A couple of years ago, Blackwater executive Joseph Schmitz seemed to\r\nsee a silver lining for mercenary companies with the prospect of US\r\nforces being withdrawn or reduced in Iraq. \u0026quot;There is a scenario where\r\nwe could as a government, the United States, could pull back the\r\nmilitary footprint,\u0026quot; Schmitz said. \u0026quot;And there would then be more of a need for private contractors to go in.\u0026quot;\r\nWhen it comes to armed contractors, it seems that Schmitz was right. According to new statistics released by the Pentagon, with Barack Obama as commander in chief, there has been a\r\n23% increase in the number of \u0026quot;Private Security Contractors\u0026quot; working\r\nfor the Department of Defense in Iraq in the second quarter of 2009 and\r\na 29% increase in Afghanistan, which \u0026quot;correlates to the build up of\r\nforces\u0026quot; in the country. These numbers relate explicitly to DoD security\r\ncontractors. Companies like Blackwater and its successor Triple Canopy\r\nwork on State Department contracts and it is unclear if these\r\ncontractors are included in the over-all statistics. This means, the\r\nnumber of individual \u0026quot;security\u0026quot; contractors could be quite higher, as\r\ncould the scope of their expansion.Overall, contractors\r\n(armed and unarmed) now make up approximately 50% of the \u0026quot;total force\r\nin Centcom AOR [Area of Responsibility].\u0026quot; This means there are a\r\nwhopping 242,657 contractors working on these two US wars. These\r\nstatistics come from two reports just released by Gary J. Motsek, the\r\nAssistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Program Support):\r\n\u0026quot;Contractor Support of U.S. Operations in USCENTCOM AOR, IRAQ, and\r\nAfghanistan and \u0026quot;Operational Contract Support, ‘State of the Union.\u0026#039;\u0026quot;\u0026quot;We\r\nexpect similar dependence on contractors in future contingency\r\noperations,\u0026quot; according to the contractor \u0026quot;State of the Union.\u0026quot; It notes\r\nthat the deployment size of both military personnel and DoD civilians\r\nare \u0026quot;fixed by law,\u0026quot; but points out that the number of contractors is\r\n\u0026quot;size unfixed,\u0026quot; meaning there is virtually no limit (other than funds)\r\nto the number of contractors that can be deployed in the war zone.At\r\npresent there are 132,610 in Iraq and 68,197 in Afghanistan. The report\r\nnotes that while the deployment of security contractors in Iraq is\r\nincreasing, there was an 11% decrease in overall contractors in Iraq\r\nfrom the first quarter of 2009 due to the \u0026quot;ongoing efforts to reduce\r\nthe contractor footprint in Iraq.\u0026quot;\r\nBoth Pentagon reports can be downloaded here.