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Thread: Hitting Bottom in Foggy Bottom

  1. #1
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default Hitting Bottom in Foggy Bottom

    This one from Foreign Policy caught my eye this AM on the SWJ Blog


    Another report by the State Department's inspector general this year described severe and broad dysfunction within the Africa bureau, while ignoring -- perhaps considering it a given -- the lack of departmentwide integration and leadership in operations. Examples of the dysfunction range from not providing public diplomacy personnel with computers capable of reading interoffice memos to a failure to effectively work with the new Africa Command.
    Why am I not surprised?

    By necessity, the Defense Department has stepped in where State Department has tuned out: Foggy Bottom relies on Pentagon funding and even personnel for basic operations central to its mission. For example, the Defense Department now performs much strategic communications work traditionally the purview of the State Department. In Somalia, for example, the State Department's budget for public diplomacy is $30,000. The Pentagon's is $600,000. And, in the State Department's bureaucratic wisdom, the $30,000 does not even belong to its undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs.
    And roger as I serve as a POLAD
    Last edited by Tom Odom; 09-12-2009 at 07:51 AM. Reason: forgot the link

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    Default FP Link

    Hitting Bottom in Foggy Bottom - Matt Armstrong, Foreign Policy.

    The State Department suffers from low morale, bottlenecks, and bureaucratic inepititude. Do we need to kill it to save it?

    Discussion over the fate of Foggy Bottom usually focuses on the tenure of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the troubles of public diplomacy, and the rise of special envoys on everything from European pipelines to Afghanistan and Pakistan. But Americans would benefit more from a reassessment of the core functionality of the US State Department.

    Years of neglect and marginalization, as well as a dearth of long-term vision and strategic planning, have left the 19th-century institution hamstrung with fiefdoms and bureaucratic bottlenecks. The Pentagon now funds and controls a wide range of foreign-policy and diplomatic priorities - from development to public diplomacy and beyond. The world has changed, with everyone from politicians to talking heads to terrorists directly influencing global audiences. The most pressing issues are stateless: pandemics, recession, terrorism, poverty, proliferation, and conflict. But as report after report, investigation after investigation, has highlighted, the State Department is broken and paralyzed, unable to respond to the new 21st-century paradigm...
    More at Foreign Policy.

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    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Related Link at MoutainRunner

    Preparing to Lose the Information War? - Matt Armstrong, MountainRunner.

    It has now been eight years since 9/11 and we finally seem to understand that in the modern struggles against terrorism, insurgency, and instability, the tools of public diplomacy are invaluable and essential. We live in a world where an individual with a camera phone can wield more influence than an F-22 stealth fighter jet. The capability of engaging public audiences has long been thought of as the domain of civilians. But for the past eight years, the functions, authorities, and funding for engaging global audiences, from anti-AIDS literature to soccer balls to development projects, has migrated from the State Department to the Defense Department. It seems whole forests have fallen over the same period on the need to enhance civilian agencies - be it the State Department or a new USIA-like entity - to provide a valid alternative to the Defense Department who most, even the detractors, agree was filling a void left by civilians who abrogated their responsibility for one reason or another.

    This summer may be a turning point. Some in Congress have unilaterally decided that 2010 is the year America's public diplomacy will stop wearing combat boots. Sounds good, right? This is the future most, including analysts and the military, have wished for. The military has been the unwilling (if passionate once engaged) and often clumsy surrogate and partner for the State Department in representing the US and its interests in Africa, the Middle East, and elsewhere around the world through what the House Armed Services Committee now calls "military public diplomacy." In some regions, State is almost wholly dependent on Defense money and resources to accomplish its mandate...
    More at MountainRunner.

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    Council Member Spud's Avatar
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    Default

    Personally I think it is this issue that Matt highlights that is of more concern:

    House Appropriations Committee

    The Committee has serious concerns about not only the significant amount of funding being spent on [information operations] programs, but more importantly, about the Department's assumption of this mission area within its roles and responsibilities.
    House Armed Services Committee

    The committee encourages the development of strategic communications capability within the Department of Defense as a soft-power complement to traditional hard-power tools. The committee has explored policy, management, and organizational impediments to wider adoption of strategic communications capability, but is becoming increasingly concerned that human capital planning in this area is insufficient compared to the needs.
    I’m confused

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Heh. Now you can underdtand why the US of A seems to

    Quote Originally Posted by Spud View Post
    Personally I think it is this issue that Matt highlights that is of more concern:...I’m confused
    be more confused than you; because we is!!!

    Our Congress has 535 members. Getting two to agree completely on much of anything has been proven impossible...

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    Council Member MountainRunner's Avatar
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    Default Confusion

    Spud,
    Yes, confounding, isn't it? The issue hasn't been highlighted anywhere - let alone Walter Pincus's poor article back in July (blogged on here) - which is the main reason I finally wrote the post 'Preparing to Lose the Information War'. There is some assumption of collaboration and coordination, but considering HFAC, SFRC, and foreign ops approps in both House and Senate already acted and moved on before HAC-D surprised everybody in a way that actually caused some to suspect ulterior motives (and engender sympathy for DOD in unexpected quarters), we have another example of no coordination.

    Ken, in this case it wasn't agreeing on something as much as simply talking to each other. This was clear from my conversations with staff from several committees and several members (House and Senate) over the summer before and during the recess. This was probably compounded by the health care debate and the rush to clear the decks before recess, which for most members was not a rest at home.

    I've posted on the language of support of DOD SC in HASC and SASC reports on NDAA and HAC-D. Monday I'll post this, but here is the list in advance which may also confuse since HASC already put some wheels in motion.

    IO Related Requirements in 3 Hill Reports as of 31 July 2009
    SASC Report 111-35 on NDAA FY2010
    ·“awaits delivery of the report on strategic communication and public diplomacy activities of the Federal Government required under section 1055 of the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009” (p183)
    ·“directs the Under Secretary of Defense—Policy and Under Secretary of Defense—Comptroller to develop budget documentation materials for fiscal year 2011 that clearly articulate and document DOD’s objectives and funding levels for strategic communications and public diplomacy” (p183)
    HASC Report 111-166 on NDAA FY2010
    ·encourages the Commander to develop and demonstrate innovative techniques and capabilities, with respect to relevant linguistic and cultural expertise, and increase both guidance and response linkages between strategic communications and operations” (p364)
    ·“directs the Secretary of Defense to submit a report on the assessment of the Department's strategic communications workforce to the congressional defense committees within 120 days after the date of enactment of this Act. The report should include the following [6] elements…” (p374)
    ·“encourages the Department to conduct a legal review of the applicability of Public Law 80-402 [Smith-Mundt Act] and its intersection with Department of Defense policy guiding online media operations” (p377)
    House Approps Report 111-230 on NDAA FY2010
    ·“[submit] a report to the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate on the Department's IO programs. This report should encompass the period from fiscal years 2005 through 2010 and include all Department of Defense information operation programs for which base budget, supplemental, or overseas contingency operation funds have been appropriated or requested. The report shall include: program strategies, target audiences, goals, and measures of effectiveness; budget exhibits at the appropriations account and sub-activity level; spend plans (including positions and other direct costs); and production and dissemination mechanisms and locations. The report shall also include an annex for the inclusion of necessary explanatory and supporting classified information. The Secretary shall submit this report in writing not later than 180 days after enactment of this Act.” (p68)

    -Matt

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    Default The Gordian Knot

    Hitting Bottom in Foggy Bottom (FP), Civilian Surge Fizzles (Christian Science Monitor)---to name a few.

    I keep looking for something to change the landscape, and wonder when it is going to get so bad that change will be possible.

    Last Sunday, I hit bottom when reading a Washington Post Article about a brave LTC, his pride in meeting with Gen. Petreaus, and the soldiers that he lost in 2007. Somewhere in the article was a quote from 2007 from the General about the substantial strategic interests we "have" in Iraq that necessitate....yadda, yadda, yadda.....What were they again?

    That came after a Thursday article that the Iraqi Ministry of Planning was suspending the upcoming census---just too hot, politically. That was especially significant to me because I spent so much time trying to build the civilian GIS mapping and demographic base in order to allow serious resource and service planning (and the census) to get started. The basic rule of quantitative methods and planning---if you can count it, you can know something about it.

    So, I'm watching Afghanistan second-hand, and know that it is rapidly becoming an even bigger mess on the civilian reconstruction side. I already know that the civilian mapping base, population data, and planning there is complete chaos. Just crap thrown against a wall instead of anything serious when so many young kids' lives are on the line.

    Like Rory Stewart said, working for the government (at least right now) is to be asked whether we should wear a seat belt when we drive over the cliff. Nobody seems to be concerned that driving off a cliff isn't such a great idea, or that, with a little well-informed strategy, there might be an alternative route that actually gets you somewhere other than a junk pile at the bottom of a ravine.

    I keep watching for some smart military/civilian leader to say: "Gee, we ought to do things differently. What can we do instead?" But it ain't happening. "...Cannons to the right of us, cannons to the left.....rode the 600."

    When is somebody going to cut the gordian knot? Where is Alexander when you need him?

    Steve

    Since returning from Iraq, I'm back in the States working on regular local government corruption and planning incompetence stuff. The goal is just to keep things generally on a reasonable track because perfection doesn't happen there, or here. You just do the best that is possible. And fix serious problems when they are seriously broken.

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    Default State Department Systematic Failures

    State department types are concerned with who gets invited to what cocktail party and how to quickly get out of whatever strategically critical "hole" they findthemselves in and more to a comfortable "hole". Those that do stay at the "hole" and may go "native". IMHO this is Zero value added at best, contrary to American interests at worst.

    When we needed them most, they have failed utterly.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 03-30-2010 at 09:41 AM. Reason: Tone and language toned down, plus further posts where post quoted and PM to author.

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    You know, I'm really starting to wonder about State. That said, while I am generally cynical, I suspect Sylvan's comments take it a bit too far.

    However, I know a couple folks who recently did the FSO oral exam. Their impression was that nobody in their groups were offered a slot in the next A100 class. If any did get slots, I suspect it was very, very few. Many of those candidates were people on their 2nd, 3rd, 4th attempts at it - some on their 6th or 7th (that's crazy, imo). And the descriptions of these people suggest that they are fairly capable. Why all of this selection nonsense? If this game is really that ridiculous, then I'm seriously considering not bothering with the oral exam. Why spend the time and money to fly down there, get an overpriced hotel room, and waste an entire day dicking around with their BS if this is how they play their game? Aren't they short handed? Aren't they woefully incapable of meeting the demands of any "whole of government approach"? But they're also not hiring because they're not willing to recruit people who, for whatever reason, don't seem to fit some ideal mold according to the personnel who administer the oral exam? What sense does that make?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    You know, I'm really starting to wonder about State. That said, while I am generally cynical, I suspect Sylvan's comments take it a bit too far.

    However, I know a couple folks who recently did the FSO oral exam. Their impression was that nobody in their groups were offered a slot in the next A100 class. If any did get slots, I suspect it was very, very few. Many of those candidates were people on their 2nd, 3rd, 4th attempts at it - some on their 6th or 7th (that's crazy, imo). And the descriptions of these people suggest that they are fairly capable. Why all of this selection nonsense? If this game is really that ridiculous, then I'm seriously considering not bothering with the oral exam. Why spend the time and money to fly down there, get an overpriced hotel room, and waste an entire day dicking around with their BS if this is how they play their game? Aren't they short handed? Aren't they woefully incapable of meeting the demands of any "whole of government approach"? But they're also not hiring because they're not willing to recruit people who, for whatever reason, don't seem to fit some ideal mold according to the personnel who administer the oral exam? What sense does that make?
    I exagerate, but not much.
    In zabul we had one state department rep for a critical southern province providing mentorship to a state level governor.
    The first was a public affairs officer. Not a governance expert or diplomat.
    The second was a former Marine officer in his first state department gig. You may remember his name. Matt Hoh.
    There are maybe 10 provinces in all of Afghanistan who are strategically critical to our fight. How many people work for State? Yet in the most critical areas where we need our civilians in the fight, State can't be bothered.
    Everyone with a brain has correctly identified that the military should be secondary in our overall strategic strategy. Yet no one BUT the military has stepped up to provide the leadership required to execute our national strategy. And no one has failed greater in that regard that State, who fails to even recognize they HAVE failed.

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    Council Member MountainRunner's Avatar
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    Default State Department

    The issue of attracting and deploying State personnel of the quality and quantity necessary is certainly recognized. The recent White House / NSC 1055 report noted this same problem:
    (d) how best to expedite revitalizing and strengthening civilian department and agency capabilities, both qualitatively and quantitatively, to enable them to effectively execute these programs and activities.
    The argument of missing leadership can be taken a step farther, or rather in a different direction outside the Executive Branch entirely. In Congress, with the notable exception of Sen. Lugar (and the ascending Sen. Kaufman), attention to the issues of public diplomacy and strategic communication are coming from the Congressmen and Senators on the Armed Services committees, not the foreign relations (or foreign affairs as it's called in the House) committee. The money issue last year was from the defense appropriators (recall the late Rep. Murtha's comments) and not from the foreign ops appropriators (the committees, House and Senate, that fund State). With the exception of Lugar, proposed legislation to fix SC/PD comes from SASC/HASC members. Members of SASC/HASC, not SFRC/HFAC, are paying attention to the gagging effect of the modern interpretation of the Smith-Mundt Act.

    Notably, SASC successfully inserted into the NDAA a $55m authorization for State activities (which I would have loved to see the defense appropriators fund, but alas, they ignored it). This is the VOICE Act (see here for more) includes $30m for BBG and more for State proper. To be fair, HFAC (House Foreign Affairs Committee) doesn't have real power to accomplish much and few in SFRC (Senate Foreign Relations Committee) really care about these issues, except for perhaps three Senators. These three are Lugar and the only two Senators to attend the SFRC hearing that heard from four Under Secretaries of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs (three past + current). Notably, the two that were present, Kaufman and Wicker, are also on SASC.

    By the way, at the hearing, a prior U/S of PD/PA noted that it took 5-7 years to get a PD person online. This issue has not gained the attention it needs.

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    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sylvan View Post
    State department types are concerned with who gets invited to what cocktail party and how to quickly get out of whatever strategically critical "hole" they findthemselves in and more to a comfortable "hole". Those that do stay at the "hole" and may go "native". IMHO this is Zero value added at best, contrary to American interests at worst..
    I think that your frustration (and yeah, it's mine at times too) stems from a peculiar dynamic. State was not fully behind the invasion of Iraq, so its performance at doing state work reluctantly makes sense, from the whole psychology of it all.

    As for OEF, well, perhaps the distinct difference of opinions that exist between the "let's play whack-a-mole" CT advocates, and those advocating reconciliation and reintegration, and a focus on governance, will cause similar dragging of feet.

    Then again, perhaps it isn't deliberate or all that well-thought out after all. Perhaps the problem is so deeply rooted culturally (and something that history has shown us before) that we really should not be surprised.

    This is not to say that there isn't good work being done...just that your frustrations imply a deliberate process of ignorance or nose-thumbing, when it may be more basic than that.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 03-30-2010 at 09:43 AM. Reason: Original quote replaced with edited edition.

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    Default Foggy

    The debate is misplaced.

    State is all about reporting, and message in very challenging and precise circumstances. It needs collegiality and rule-following. Careful control of lines of operation. Bureaucracy and procedure is paramount.

    The debate is whether an organization with that mindset and structure can, in fact, organize itself to accomplish reconstruction.

    As an American, I am grateful for the contributions that foreign service officers make to go out all over the world (and routinely to some pretty nasty places) to do what they are trained and focused on doing.

    Having said that, stability and reconstruction has been an abysmal failure, and they have not, to date, found any will or strategy to rise to the challenge.

    I do construction, reconstruction, conflict stuff in the states. It is a messy challenging and hard-nosed affair that requires people taking a risk, and pushing for change. When I was recruited for Iraq, it was for those skills, and my orders were to go into that broken system and expressly challenge it. Nothing about winning friends and influencing people.

    Of the dozen or so Senior civilian reconstruction advisers that went into Iraq in December 2007, most (like me) self-selected to be outside of State, either with MNC-I/MNDs where the juice and action was, or with the applicable ministries or UN. Some broke free to EPRTs. Few that stayed in the State PRTs accomplished much.

    The inherent conflict with our work assured that, in Afghanistan, our types would not be welcome at that party. So, the big lesson learned by State? Don't change. If you bring in outsiders, and especially experts, make sure they are very tangential.

    The alternative strategy of reflagging former military like Hoh collapses when, once inside, they see how dysfunctional it is. So, they are out,too.

    What do you think that "Whole of Government" thing is about---just stable federal employees with careers on the line, and ever-rotating SCRS three and six month assignments.

    In my field, planning, it is a function done before and outside of line operations (but with interaction to it) in order to guide and direct line operations. Despite that, even in Iraq, I was deployed as a line function, but none are deployed in Afghanistan. If planning isn't going on "before" a line deployment, how can you expect the deployment to accomplish much?

    Having said that, the reality is that I was only able to function effectively in Iraq because there was something to plan with and around, Iraq being a very different level of development. Moreover, the resources to make me effective were huge (movement, security, intel/mapping, contacts, engineering/construction support, computers/software). I was begging borrowing and stealing GIS and engineering assets at all turns (mostly military). How, in Afghanistan, were none of these resources exist in such depth, could I effectively function at a district level where there are no pre-existing resources or systems?

    A senior reconstruction engineer sitting in a tent with no adequate support, systems, or resources is just an extra and dysfunctional burden. They would need to be "flying squads" to connect resources to line units and not line deployed.

    How to cut the Gordian knot?

    A recent strategy page comment from March 25:

    http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htu.../20100325.aspx
    PRTs have had problems with bureaucratic roadblocks created by different Department of Defense, State Department and USAID agendas. The State Department, when told to send people to work with PRTs, responded by providing very junior folks, with little experience in anything. The Department of Defense has people there to provide security and is, technically, not involved in nation building. But the troops can take over in an emergency, because they are, after all, in charge of security. But in active areas like Iraq and Afghanistan, the military is really running the show. Combat needs come first, and everything else, including nation building, is support. When it comes to nation building, the Department of Defense wants power, but not responsibility. Same thing with the State Department, and neither Defense or State wants to take orders from USAID.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 03-30-2010 at 09:11 PM. Reason: Add quote marks

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    Default Ps

    In other threads, Schmedlap, Surfbeetle, Dahayun and other, have really tried to tear this thing to shreds, and build a way forward.

    I believe that, in Afghanistan, there are two critical elements:

    1. Someone needs to make a strategic decision as to how governments should function. National down to Governate? Governate to District? My guess is that the answer is complex: certain structures for certain areas (Example: Rural vs. Urban schools, with rural schools as a different, more expeditionary management structure and operation than traditional urban schools). Now, we have Adm. Mullen being asked to provide universities down to Marjah to train engineers, doctors and lawyers. Are we just making this up?

    2. A unique civilian system needs to be developed, probably anchored at the RC level, to link systems of reconstruction and resources between national/UN/NGO/Governate levels, and the field, with substantial cross-training and support to make military implementers more effective and coordinated---but based on lots of small, local projects building within a bigger framework---this instead of an Iraq approach where existing systems were simply being reactivated and repaired.

    How to make military implementers more effective without embarking on something absurd and ineffective? Plenty of ways that are not being used.

    The solution is not on the table today. I am waiting for the right folks to ask the right questions so that answers can be created. Maybe, soon????

    Steve

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    Default Problems at the Macro level

    Two fundamental questions haven't been asked by the State types that are completely hampering our efforts.
    1. Is AFghanistan a viable country in a post cold war era?
    2. Is the Constitution of Afghanistan a legitimate reflection of the needs of the Afghan people.

    We have hitched ourselves to a government founded in a Western European Socialist government Constitution. While lip service is paid to Islam, the list of promises it makes is ridiculous and unfufillable. Combine that with Provincial Governors appointed by Karzai, yet without any monetary carrot or stick to use. They can be blamed for all as governors, yet they have zero ability to influence their provinces.
    The Provincial ANP Chiefs report directly to Kabul, despite the regional police headquarters, which have no corresponding civilian leadership.
    The ANA work for the Afghan RC Commander. The coalition reports to the ISAF RC. The PRT works for HQ Kabul with coordination to the RCs. Yet the governor stands there as the senior representative of the Kabul Government. He does NOT stand there as the representative of the Province he serves in.
    The parliment is toothless and ineffective by both tradition and the Constitution.

    The governance at the Provincial level (where you are going to win or lose) is a shake with no foundation and several forces working against that stability. That a governor can be removed on a whim (or allowed to stay against the wishes of the population) just defeats so many basic principles as to be laughable.

    The Afghan population can be won. But the current guise of the IGoA is one that I believe will never be supported by the population as a whole.

    The Sherzai fiasco really burned our bridges in the South and I think our current troubles in the past few years can be more directly linked to that act of stupidity than any other.

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    Default Structure, systems

    Sylvan:

    Well, that's the $64 Billion issue.

    What structure is going to work (and have to be created) for a real and viable Afghanistan?

    As a planner, I watch these mounting projects to pave streets, as an example. Anybody in the planning business knows that if you pave a road, you better make sure the sub-base is secure, or you will be re-building it within three years. Even with that, you have to start maintenance right away, do serious crack-filling in five years, and repave every 20 (assuming quality construction and maintenance).

    What possible productive purpose could result from paving a road? Short-term road crew work. Lots of contract graft. Lots of action and ego.

    How is this thing going to be maintained, and by who?

    Among competing priorities that could actually make these people's lives better, was this a wise use of resources?

    Without structure and systems (especially a viable economic and revenue system), these types of projects add little to know value. We measure our successes based on western input metrics, but can't understand why there are no eastern outputs.

    Afghanistan needs, as a minimum, a very much more complex, realistic, and historically-grounded approach to governance, and not a US Governance Textbook 101 approach. When does that discussion start?

  17. #17
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default As an aside and not to intrude on a good conversation but

    we had a civilian Agency that did development well and cooperated well with DoD elements -- it was founded to do just that following on to the earlier Marshall Plan, FOA and ICA organizations.

    US Aid.

    Unfortunately, it got subsumed into State under the Clinton administration and destroyed because it was often too good at what it did and was sucking budget dollars away from State. The Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and the really rather effective US Information Agency were likewise emasculated at about the same time for pretty much the same reason. Madeleine Albright has a lot to answer for...

    The required fix is to reconstitute US Aid and USIA as separate agencies and adequately fund 'em. Realistically, that's unlikely to happen for several reasons -- not least the venality of Congress. So, we're stuck in Neverland.

    We now return to our regularly scheduled program...

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    Ken:

    Right.

    Stuart Bowen, Special IG for Iraq, has a great recommendation for a new agency.

    Trouble is that these kinds of things take years to get up and running, and more to become effective. Spinning up new (or substantially reconstructed) agencies to solve immediate problems is a non-sequitor.

    So, anything that could be immediately available (3-12 mos) must be shaped out of what is at hand.

    I look at the RC structure as the pivot. It just takes a commitment from there and above to get underway. Something more serious than "government in a box" (the Happy Meal approach?)... especially as we contemplate areas infinitely more complex than Marjah.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve the Planner View Post
    Sylvan:

    Well, that's the $64 Billion issue.

    What structure is going to work (and have to be created) for a real and viable Afghanistan?

    As a planner, I watch these mounting projects to pave streets, as an example. Anybody in the planning business knows that if you pave a road, you better make sure the sub-base is secure, or you will be re-building it within three years. Even with that, you have to start maintenance right away, do serious crack-filling in five years, and repave every 20 (assuming quality construction and maintenance).

    What possible productive purpose could result from paving a road? Short-term road crew work. Lots of contract graft. Lots of action and ego.

    How is this thing going to be maintained, and by who?

    Among competing priorities that could actually make these people's lives better, was this a wise use of resources?

    Without structure and systems (especially a viable economic and revenue system), these types of projects add little to know value. We measure our successes based on western input metrics, but can't understand why there are no eastern outputs.

    Afghanistan needs, as a minimum, a very much more complex, realistic, and historically-grounded approach to governance, and not a US Governance Textbook 101 approach. When does that discussion start?
    It starts when diplomacy is tempered by experience outside the embassy set.
    AKA, never.
    What diplomat is going to tell a senior official, "Oh, btw, your constitution sucks." Especially when it was largely our dumb butts who helped them craft it.
    Last edited by Sylvan; 03-30-2010 at 10:52 PM. Reason: forgot something.

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    Council Member Ron Humphrey's Avatar
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    Unhappy Seems like this discussion never end's because everyone already knows the answers

    Just No-one willing to accept them cause they involve difficult and often painful actions

    Like the man said

    Quote Originally Posted by Sylvan View Post
    It starts when diplomacy is tempered by experience outside the embassy set.
    AKA, never.
    What diplomat is going to tell a senior official, "Oh, btw, your constitution sucks." Especially when it was largely our dumb butts who helped them craft it.
    I would---

    But then again;probably why guys like me would never get to be a diplomat ; or ever get invited to the cocktail party's
    Any man can destroy that which is around him, The rare man is he who can find beauty even in the darkest hours

    Cogitationis poenam nemo patitur

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