Sunday, October 21, 2007

Blackwater might be saving taxpayers $600 million a year in Iraq

This blog has reported that Blackwater is saving taxpayers an estimated $100,000,000 a year by providing lower-cost private security solutions.

We might have been off by a half-billion dollars.

Citing figures supplied by Congressman Waxman's House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, we showed that Blackwater fields its force for about $400,000 per person per year. This sum includes infrastructure, training, helicopters, and other expenses.

State Department Diplomatic Security personnel cost about $500,000 per person per year to field, according to the State Department's own figures in the Waxman hearing.

The Washington Post gives information on October 21 that shows that Blackwater may be saving the taxpayer much more than $100 million a year.

William Moser, the deputy assistant secretary of state for logistics management, told Waxman's committee that the cost of sending an American diplomat or diplomatic security agent abroad "ranges from around $400,000 for a regular mission around the world to around $1 million for an American diplomatic position in Iraq." Moser added, "So when we talk about using contract employees, it think that we have to be very careful to consider what the fully loaded costs would be of direct hires."

As we have seen, with about 1,000 guards in Iraq at a given time, Blackwater's $400,000 annual cost per person versus the State Department's $500,000 annual cost for government-employed guards equals $100,000,000 in annual savings.

If the actual taxpayer-funded cost of a government employee in Iraq is not $500,000 but $1 million per person per year (with Blackwater's costs at $400,000 per), then Blackwater could be saving the public up to $600,000,000 per year.

Waxman won't say anything positive about the savings, though - he's too interested in demanding how much Blackwater might be making as it saves so much money.

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