Wartime Contracting commissioners in Afghanistan to check on training for country’s security forces
Contact: Clark Irwin, (703) 696-9362
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ARLINGTON, VA, Dec. 3, 2009 – Nine members and staff of the federal Commission on Wartime Contracting are in Afghanistan to gather information on plans for training more than 100,000 additional Afghan soldiers, national police, and frontier police.
As the United States prepares to reinforce its military presence in the Afghan theater of operations, the government of Afghanistan is planning to increase its army and national police by nearly 50,000 personnel to reach a combined strength of 230,000 by late 2010. Much of the training and facilities construction for the expanded forces will be provided by private contractors working for the U.S. government. Contractor employees in the country outnumber the 67,000 U.S. troops now there.
Commission Co-Chair Michael Thibault said, “Afghanistan’s security and America’s long-term goal of reducing its military presence in the country require well-trained and effective Afghan national-security forces. We’ll be looking at the cost and effectiveness of contractor support for those objectives and for related actions to improve management and oversight of the contractors.”
Co-Chair Christopher Shays said, “It’s also vital that training contractors do a good job in educating Afghan security forces in respect for human rights and democratic institutions—otherwise security forces can increase resentments that facilitate insurgent recruiting.” He noted that plans for training police are complicated by the ongoing shift in responsibility for those contracts from the Department of State to the Department of Defense.
The Commissioners and support staff are also conducting visits and interviews to examine coordination of efforts in Afghanistan among the U.S. Departments of Defense and State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, United Nations agencies, the World Bank, and non-governmental organizations involved in Afghan reconstruction.
Information gathered during the week-long trip will add to the foundation of research and analysis for a Dec. 18 commission hearing on training the Afghan National Security Forces.
Congress created the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2008 (Public Law 110-181) to research federal contracting for reconstruction, logistical support, and security functions, and to recommend improvements. In addition to Thibault and Shays, members are Clark Kent Ervin, Grant Green, Robert Henke, Katherine Schinasi, Charles Tiefer, and Dov Zakheim.
For more information on the Commission, including the June 2009 Interim Report to Congress and special reports, see the website www.wartimecontracting.gov.