Af-Pak Benchmarks TK, But Look To Biden-Lugar « The Washington Independent
Speaking of benchmarks for measuring the success or failure of the Obama administration’s Af-Pak strategy, we, uh, don’t have them yet. Bruce Riedel, chairman of the review committee that came up with the strategy, explained to reporters on Friday:
Some of these are fairly obvious, like levels of violence, levels of casualties, periodicity of suicide bombings both in Afghanistan and Pakistan — those kind of benchmarks that you measure any conflict by. Those are some that are pretty obvious. There are going to be other ones about moving against corruption; there will be other ones about the speed with which we build up the Afghan army and the success rate of building the Afghan army.
So the benchmarks process is not something that’s locked in stone today. It’s something that we’re only at the beginning phase of starting to work on.
During a conference call on Friday, Ilan Goldenberg of the National Security Network asked the National Security Council’s director of strategic communications, Denis McDonough, about the benchmarks. McDonough referenced the “Lugar-Kerry” bill that President Obama called on Congress to pass and said there were some “good metrics in there.”
The thing is, that bill doesn’t exist yet. Staffers said it would be done this week, as Jonah Blank, the committee’s Central/South Asia expert, is in the process of drafting it. Apparently it’s going to be pretty similar to last year’s bill, sponsored by Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and now-Vice President Joe Biden, that would have authorized $7.5 billion to Pakistani civil society over five years had it been signed into law. That bill would have conditioned the $1 billion that the U.S. annually gives the Pakistani military on Pakistan demonstrating that it was taking clear steps to fight al-Qaeda and prevent its territory for being used as a staging ground for attacks on the U.S. military in Afghanistan. The bill faltered last year — election and all — but look for these provisions to become the basis of the Pakistan side of the benchmarks.