OK. Now we know how many troops, and when the next decision comes.

Now, what about the civilian side which everyone says is the whole point.

Barry McCaffrey has an assessment in circulation which he prepared for Gen. Petreaus, says the civilian thing just ain't happening. Even if they send them, it is too dangerous to leave the base and do anything effective.

FP has a different take from Dov Zakheim in the Shadow Government section:

"In much of our government, however, the war is nowhere to be seen. Civil servants go about their business as if it were peacetime. There is still a serious shortage of U.S. government civilians here in Afghanistan, although their numbers are increasing. Many of those who do indeed serve here do not venture out of Kabul. This is so not because they are less dedicated to their mission. The sorry fact is that all too often they have little to offer in the field. Their expertise tends to be bureaucratic -- they are only equipped to manage and document projects and activities -- rather than technical. "

That has been one of my on-going criticisms--- lots of program administrators, etc., but few with actual technical training in relevant subject areas. Wholeof Government is a great concept, but few federal agencies actually do things--- program and grant administration are the core skills.

Lots of big noise at AEI on an expended civilian surge, pending a new Obama funding request.

I attended a seminar today at USIP with Ashraf Ghani & Steven Hadley. Lots of criticism, and good recommendations on ways forward, but.... (Trying to get a web cast link)

Dec 8, McCrystal and Eikenberry both hit the Armed Services Committees. Hopefully some tough questions...