Irregular Math

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Seth Jones, a counter-insurgency expert now at the Rand Corp., and before that at the Pentagon, testifying at a House Armed Services subcommittee hearing on Tuesday:

Us: “Today in Afghanistan we have about 432,000 counterinsurgency forces, we’ve spent over $100 billion per year…and deployed a range of sophisticated platforms and systems.”

Them: “The Taliban and its allies, on the other hand, have deployed between 20,000 and 40,000 forces…and had revenues of between $100 million and $200 million per year.”

Bottom Line: Personnel “ratio of nearly 11-to-1 in favor of counterinsurgents” and financial “ratio of about 500-to-1 in favor of counterinsurgents….Yet the Taliban’s ability to utilize limited resources and sustain a prolonged insurgency, I do think, highlights some of the challenges we face on irregular warfare.”