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  • Author: Bernard Carreau, Melanne Civic
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS), National Defense University
  • Abstract: In addition to the problems of building and maintaining an effective civilian presence in Afghanistan and Iraq is the matter of developing institutional knowledge in the civilian agencies—what works and what does not work in the field. The task is all the more daunting because civilian agencies do not have a core mission to maintain expertise in stabilizing war-torn countries, particularly those experiencing major counterinsurgency and counterterrorist operations. Yet the Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development, Departments of Agriculture, Justice, Commerce, Treasury, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, Transportation, Energy, and other agencies have been sending personnel to Afghanistan, Iraq, and other fragile states for several years now. The agencies have relied on a combination of direct hires, temporary hires, and contractors, but nearly all of them have been plagued by relatively short tours and rapid turnarounds, making it difficult to establish enduring relationships on the ground and institutional knowledge in the agencies. The constant coming and going of personnel has led to the refrain heard more and more frequently that the United States has not been fighting the war in Afghanistan for 8 years, but rather for just 1 year, eight times in a row.
  • Topic: Development, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq