Civilian Surge in Afghanistan: Authorized and Filled Positions

We are unable to republish or embed the SIGAR report on the civilian surge in Afghanistan here but we are  still able to snag parts of it for posting. See below a table of the positions authorized and filled by location and agency. The civilian surge has been split into two phases, the first one ending in December 2009 and Phase II from January 2010 to December 2011.
According to the SIGAR report, a reported 418 personnel have deployed to Afghanistan, including 227 personnel in the field as of September 9, 2010. Approximately 1500 civilians are expected to be deployed in country by January 2012.

State, USAID, and USDA contribute the greatest number of civilians to the uplift, accounting for almost
91 percent of the total number of uplift positions identified. Personnel from these 3 agencies have filled 375 positions, or 90 percent, of the total 418 positions filled as of September 9, 2010.  No surprise there.

HHS and DOC have 100% filled positions since both agencies only have one authorized/filled position.  DHS also has a 100% filled for 11 authorized and filled positions. 


(Table extracted from SIGAR report
Click here for larger view)

We have previously  questioned the sustainability of staffing the FS given the troops drawdown in Iraq, the civilian surge in Afghanistan and the persistent staffing gaps in the Foreign Service. Below is what the report says about sustainability:

“One goal of the Afghanistan and Pakistan Regional Stabilization Strategy is to sustain increased civilian staffing levels in Afghanistan beyond July 2011. Nevertheless, concern has been expressed that the civilian presence in the field may not be sustainable at planned levels. This is particularly true for USAID, which is drawing personnel from a decreasing pool of qualified applicants, many of whom are recruited externally. Furthermore, USAID is already facing difficulties recruiting career personnel for assignments in Afghanistan as many have already completed tours in the country. A July 2010 Embassy cable expressed similar concerns about State’s limited pool of Foreign Service Officers, noting that approximately 20 percent of the Foreign Service Officers posted overseas are already serving in Afghanistan, Iraq, or Pakistan. In addition, the cable noted concerns with USDA’s reliance on its domestic workforce to fill its positions.

The SIGAR report is available here.