Af-Pak Benchmark Vertigo
So when the Obama administration announced on Friday that it was going to come up with benchmarks to judge the success or failure of its Af-Pak strategy but was still working out what they would be, Denis McDonough, a top White House foreign-policy adviser, said that the forthcoming Kerry-Lugar bill would have some “good metrics in there.” Only the Senate Foreign Relations Committee says maybe not so much.
Frederick Jones, a spokesman for the committee, didn’t want to get into specifics, as the bill’s final contours are still being worked out. But he said that the committee “may be leaving it up to the administration to establish benchmarks,” since “we’re not trying to micromanage in this bill.” Jones added that there were a “bunch of things in this bill that we’d be leaving to the administration to work out the details.” The bill could be introduced as early as today.
If you have a sensation that the Obama administration and Congress are playing keepaway with the Af-Pak benchmarks, you’re not alone. In today’s Armed Services Committee hearing, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said the administration “should have already established specific benchmarks” to judge the strategy. Michele Flournoy, the undersecretary of defense for policy who played a lead role in formulating the Af-Pak strategy, said the administration was still in the process of crafting “meaningful metrics,” since the ones currently used in Afghanistan are “input-related” and the administration preferred “more outcome, impact-related” benchmarks. “We want to make as many of them as public as possible,” she added. Thanks.