Wartime Contracting hearing will probe training contracts for Afghanistan security forces
Contact: Clark Irwin, (703) 696-9362
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ARLINGTON, VA, Dec. 11, 2009 – A Dec. 18 hearing by the federal Commission on Wartime Contracting will probe the adequacy and oversight of contract training for Afghanistan’s national army, national police, and border police — organizations critical for stability as the United States moves toward its newly stated goal of beginning withdrawal of U.S. forces from the country in July 2011.
A delegation of commissioners and staff returned Monday from a week-long trip to Afghanistan, where a full agenda of meetings and fact-finding visits provided fresh information for the hearing.
Commission Co-Chairman Michael J. Thibault said, “The geography, poverty, illiteracy, and sparse infrastructure of Afghanistan are huge challenges for establishing a stable government that can provide security for the population and suppress terrorists. Much of the training to help the Afghan army and national police in that effort is done with U.S. contractors. We need to be sure their work is helpful for the Afghans and cost-effective for U.S. taxpayers, who have spent more than $20 billion on Afghan security since 2002.”
Co-Chairman Christopher Shays said, “Success depends on helping the Afghan government provide for its own national security. That’s the ball game. If we don’t properly train the Afghan army and police, our entire effort will be a failure.”
The United States, NATO and other allies, and contractors are working to train tens of thousands of new Afghan soldiers and national police. President Obama said in his Dec. 2 speech on Afghanistan that the U.S. goal is to raise Afghan army strength to 134,000 and police strength to 82,000 during 2010.
The Commission hearing, “Contractor Training of Afghan National Security Forces,” will begin at 9:30 a.m. Friday, Dec. 18, in Room 216 of the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, DC.
Currently scheduled witnesses include Ambassador Kenneth Moorefield, Assistant Inspector General, Special Plans and Operations, Department of Defense; Lieutenant General Richard Formica, U.S. Army, former commander of Combined Security Transition Command–Afghanistan; David T. Johnson, Assistant Secretary of State, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement; and Michael Strain, Program Executive, Counter Narcoterrorism Technology Program Office, Department of Defense.
Congress created the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2008 (Public Law 110-181) to examine and recommend improvements in contingency contracting for reconstruction, logistics, and security functions. 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 and links to Commission reports, see the website, www.wartimecontracting.gov.