Blackwater USA founder Erik Prince is sworn in on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2007, prior to testifying before the House Oversight Committee hearing examining the mission and performance of the private military contractor Blackwater in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Associated Press/Susan Walsh)
With more than $700 billion spent (and at least $15.5 billion outright wasted) on America's long war in Afghanistan, it's easy to understand why President Donald Trump might pursue unusual options to finally bring the 17-year-old conflict to a close.
In recent weeks, two major players in the private security industry proposed that Trump administration officials privatize U.S. military operations in Afghanistan to an unprecedented degree. Erik Prince, former owner of the now-defunct firm Blackwater Worldwide, proposed a scheme that would entail the appointment of a viceroy to oversee operations in Afghanistan, and the use of “private military units” to fill in gaps left by departing U.S. troops. Meanwhile, Stephen Feinberg—owner of DynCorp International, which holds numerous major U.S. government security contracts at present—similarly proposed that the Trump administration privatize the military force in Afghanistan, though his conceptualization of such a force calls for it to be placed under CIA control.