President Trump’s top advisers enlisted the help of private security contractors to devise an alternative to the Pentagon’s plan for U.S. operations in Afghanistan, The New York Times reported Monday. Stephen Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, and Jared Kushner, his senior adviser and son-in-law, reportedly led the charge, asking the founder of the private military firm Blackwater Worldwide, Erik D. Prince, and Stephen A. Feinberg, the billionaire owner of military contractor DynCorp International, to draft ideas on how to use contractors instead of American troops in the country. Citing people briefed on the situation, The New York Times reports that Bannon appealed to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Saturday to have Prince and Feinberg’s ideas heard by Trump’s generals. Mattis declined. The proposal has raised eyebrows among critics, who say the incident reveals a divide between Trump's top generals and his advisers, and raises questions about a potential conflict of interest.