Lew On The Civilian Surge: Another ’20-30 Percent’ Increase Next Year
During his testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this morning, Jack Lew, the deputy secretary of state, praised Gen. Stanley McChrystal and Ambassador Eikenberry for “their commitment for truly joined civilian-military efforts are absolute” in Afghanistan. Accordingly, he said, the U.S. troop increase has to be matched by “fully resourced” civilian resources from State, USAID, U.S. Department of Agriculture and other civilian agencies are working to “ramp up” programs at the “national and sub-national” level that will continue “long after our combat troops … begin to depart.”
In Afghanistan, Lew reiterated the administration’s shift in development efforts to “increasing farmer productivity” and “rebuilding watersheds and other agriculture infrastructure” that will ultimately “draw insurgents off the battlefield.” But there will also be “rule of law” and “comprehensive communications” efforts, he said, going beyond support for the security and agricultural sectors that Lew’s colleagues have so far emphasized.
Lew also reiterates his State colleague Paul Jones’ announcement Monday that the civilian surge in Afghanistan will increase from the nearly 1,000 civilians who will be in place in Afghanistan by next month. “We will further increase our civilian staff in 2010 by another 20 to 30 percent,” Lew said, and will place them largely outside of Kabul. State’s recruiting and training will change, with a recent Indiana-based training exercise on how to work with the military “in real-life exercises” as one example.
In Pakistan, “energy and agriculture” will also get much U.S. assistance, through Pakistani institutions. Lew pledged to support civilian efforts in the Malakand district in the Northwest Frontier Province and to get international assistance as well. And matching the “sub-national” focus in Afghanistan, there probably won’t be the same sort of effort in Pakistan, but Lew still said “we’re reaching out to provincial and local officials” and political parties beyond those in power. The common thread? Meeting what the Pakistanis say they want, not what the U.S. first expects the Pakistanis to do.