Boots on the ground [war]

I’ve just finished reading Obama Wars by Bob Woodward which centered around the Obama administration’s decision to add troops to Afghanistan. It made me curious how troop strength had ebbed and flowed through the last ten years of war.

A quick search on the internet found a 72 page paper prepared for the Congressional Research Service, Troop Levels in the Afghan and Iraq Wars, FY2001-FY2012: Cost and Other Potential Issues by Amy Belasco. This paper provides an analysis of troop strength in Iraq and Afghanistan and the costs associated with those troups.

Below is a table and graph of “boots on the ground” as measured through 2009 and estimated through 2012. Though the announced strategy is to begin drawing down troops in Afghanistan this July, the paper doesn’t project any reduction this or next year. The report also notes that…

“Although Boots on the Ground is the most commonly cited measure of troop strength, that measure does not include over 100,000 other troops deployed in the region providing theater- wide support for Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), the Afghan War, and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), the Iraq War.”

Average Monthly Boots On the Ground in Afghanistan and Iraq: FY2002-FY2012
Reported FY02-FY08, Estimated FY09-FY12, Rounded to Hundreds
Percentage Change
Fiscal
Year/Country
Afghanistan Iraq Total Annual Since
FY2003
Since
FY2008
FY2002 5,200 0 5,200 NA NA NA
FY2003 10,400 67,700 78,100 1402% NA NA
FY2004 15,200 130,600 145,800 87% 87% NA
FY2005 19,100 143,800 162,900 12% 109% NA
FY2006 20,400 141,100 161,500 -1% 107% NA
FY2007 23,700 148,300 172,000 7% 120% NA
FY2008 30,100 157,800 187,900 9% 141% NA
FY2009 50,700 135,600 186,300 -1% 139% -1%
FY2010 63,500 88,300 151,800 -19% 94% -19%
FY2011 63,500 42,800 106,200 -30% 36% -43%
FY2012 63,500 4,100 67,500 -36% -14% -64%
Average Monthly Boots On the Ground in Afghanistan and Iraq: FY2002-FY2012
A Belasco. (2009, July 2). Troop Levels in the Afghan and Iraq Wars, FY2001-FY2012: Cost and Other Potential Issues [pdf]. Available: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/
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About Ken Judy

I am an executive manager, software developer, father and husband trying to do more good than harm. I am an agile practitioner. I say this fully aware I say nothing. Sold as a tool to solve problems, agile is more a set of principles that encourage us to confront problems. Broad adoption of the jargon has not resulted in wide embrace of these principles. I strive to create material and human good by respecting co-workers, telling truth to employers, improving my skills, and caring for the people affected by the software I help build.