Quickie: Afghanistan Stopgap Measures

Karen DeYoung has a new piece today in TWP on staffing the mission in Afghanistan, Reservists Might Be Used in Afghanistan To Fill Civilian Jobs. Sounds a tad familiar, doesn’t it?

The administration’s supplemental funding bill submitted to Congress last week requested $80 million to pay for transferring some State Department employees from other postings, recruiting volunteers from other government agencies such as the Agriculture and Justice departments, and hiring others in newly established “fulltime, temporary” government positions.

But while those efforts are proceeding, “there has been widespread, legitimate concern that AID [the U.S. Agency for International Development] and other civilian agencies would not be able to put enough people there fast enough,” said Richard C. Holbrooke, the administration’s special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The State Department, officials said, wants the reservists to dress in civilian clothes and to report up a civilian chain of command reaching to an overall civilian coordinator who would supervise all nonmilitary U.S. programs in Afghanistan. Clinton plans to name Foreign Service officer Earl Anthony Wayne, currently U.S. ambassador to Argentina, to the post.

Read the whole thing here.

Update 4/24:

Here is the Acting Spokesman at the DPB yesterday on this topic:

We’ll be using all authorities, temporary appointments if necessary, curtailing assignments of individuals if necessary to fill these positions. We plan to fill all the civilian positions on schedule. We will be working closely with other government agencies, including the military, to make sure we have the right mix of both civilian and military staffing.

But at this point, I don’t have any further details to give you other than we are working very hard right now to establish those numbers and fulfill the requirements.

You said that you intend to fill all these positions on time. What does that mean?
MR. WOOD: On schedule.
QUESTION: What’s on schedule?
MR. WOOD: Well —
QUESTION: What’s the schedule?
MR. WOOD: I don’t have the schedule for you, but —
QUESTION: Well, if you don’t have the schedule, how do you know that you’re – how can you say that you’re —
MR. WOOD: I’m just saying – I’m saying I don’t have the schedule in front of me, but certainly, the people who are responsible for putting together our staffing have an understanding of what a particular timeline –