Blackwater founder Eric Prince as Viceroy of Afghanistan
Thu Aug 10, 2017 3:15pm

What could possibly go wrong?
Inside Erik Prince’s secret proposal to outsource the war in Afghanistan

Businessman and Blackwater founder Erik Prince has been shopping around Washington a detailed proposal for replacing thousands of American soldiers in Afghanistan with contractors from foreign countries led by a “viceroy” with almost unfettered power over U.S. military and diplomatic policy.

Prince has been public about the broad outlines of his plan, which is reportedly supported by some senior White House officials, including chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, but many crucial details have not been brought into public view, until now. Prince has laid out his proposal in a PowerPoint presentation to government officials, lawmakers and congressional officials.

Entitled “A Strategic Economy of Force,” it is nothing less than a plan to change the way Afghanistan is governed, how the war is fought and the very nature of the U.S.-Afghan bilateral relationship.


Prince has described the proposal in interviews this week as a plan to send 5,500 private military contractors to embed with Afghan National Security Forces units at the battalion level to fight the Taliban, supported by a 90-plane private air force. Prince presents the plan as an alternative for President Trump to the proposal put forth by his top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Nicholson, who has publicly called for a “few thousand” more U.S. troops to be added to the approximately 8,200 U.S. soldiers there now.


There are signs Trump is open to the idea. For one, Trump disparaged his own generals, including Nicholson, in a July meeting reported by NBC News. Trump compared his willingness to ignore his generals’ advice on Afghanistan to a distorted story about the renovation of Manhattan’s ’21’ Club in the 1980s.

In Prince’s proposal, he compares Afghanistan with another Trump renovation project, the redo of the Wollman Ice Rink in New York’s Central Park in the 1980s, which Trump often brags came in ahead of schedule and under budget. The proposal claims Prince’s plan would provide “an off ramp to the longest war in American history and a sustainable victory for America.”

The Pentagon opposes the idea, but who knows what Trump will think of it.