Mark Byrnes is a senior associate editor at CityLab who writes about design and architecture.
The British Armed Forces could provide up to 16,500 personnel for the Olympics, 7,000 more than are in Afghanistan.
An extra 3,500 military personnel are on standby after a private contractor admitted it might not be able to supply enough guards for the start of the Olympics.
The London Organizing Committee admitted in December that it had substantially underestimated the staff needed to secure all venues for this summer's Games. The original estimate was 10,000 at a cost of $437 million. Those numbers have now gone up to as many as 23,700 guards costing a whopping $857 million.
With 3,500 guards on standby, the military's Olympic presence could increase to 16,500 with the rest supplied by contractor G4S, according to the Guardian. In comparison, the British Armed Forces has around 9,500 people deployed in Afghanistan.
Security costs for London's Summer Olympics come from a $14.4 billion government funding package instead of LOCOG's own $3 billion budget. According to the Globe and Mail, it is still not clear if a financial penalty would be administered to G4S for not meeting its contract.