Cops Kabul Edition: Building Afghanistan’s National Police at $1.26 Billion

Afghan National Police (ANP) recruits listen t...Image via WikipediaAfghanistan has an annual revenue of $1 billion. And we’re spending $1.26 billion to train the Afghan National Police. Both OIGs for the State Department and Defense Department are not impressed at how State is handling the DOD funds for the police force we’re building there.

The joint OIG report recommends that “DoD and DOS officials [….] develop procedures for monitoring the obligation and expenditure of DoD funds for the ANP training program and initiate a potential Antideficiency Act violation investigation. Also, DOS should increase the scope of the pre-payment invoice reviews to identify and reject costs that were not authorized or services not provided before payment.” From the summary of the report:

DOS officials did not appropriately obligate or return to DoD approximately 172.40 million of approximately $1.26 billion of DoD funds provided for the ANP training program. This occurred because DOS lacked adequate procedures for obligating, monitoring, and deobligating DoD funds for the ANP training program. Moreover, DoD officials did not validate whether the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) officials obligated funds in accordance with the reimbursable agreements. In addition, the DOS contracting officer’s representative approved contractor invoices for payment for approximately $2.07 million that were either not authorized or were for services not provided. This occurred because DOS officials did not always perform a detailed review of invoices before payment and relied on a post-payment review of invoices to identify overpayments and obtain refunds from the contractor. As a result, we identified total potential monetary benefits of approximately $124.62 million.*

When recovered, these funds could be used for valid ANP training program requirements or other DoD requirements. In addition, if not corrected, incorrect obligations of approximately $74.91 million could result in potential Antideficiency Act violations.

Here is what $1,000,000,000 dollars look like (via visualizing the U.S. debt): So these pallets of money plus change is what we’re spending on building a police force in Afghanistan. So hey, State can’t make heads or tails over this big chunk of money; can you blame them for mishandling the funds?

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In 2006, an Interagency Assessment of Afghanistan Police Training and Readiness summarized the end-state of the police program in Afghanistan as follows:

“The intended end state of the U.S.-funded APP is an effective, well-organized,professional, multiethnic national police force that is trained and equipped to provide a safe and secure environment for the people of Afghanistan and a force committed to the rule of law. The ANP need to be led well, paid decent salaries, and trained and equipped to carry out their assigned security and law and order missions. The program’s goal is to establish a self-sustaining ANP – a police force able to attract and retain qualified candidates and to operate with minimal international assistance.”

The same assessment also made the following point:

“The high illiteracy rate among the police recruits is problematic. Obviously it is easier for the recruits to process the subject matter when they can read and write. In addition, the assessment team observed that the classes for literate recruits have more lively discussion and more student participation than do the illiterate classes. Nevertheless, there is no discernable difference between the literate and illiterate students during the practical exercises, such as high-risk traffic stops, handcuffing, building searches, full contact baton training, and vehicle searches. It must be noted that illiterate policemen cannot perform the full spectrum of professional police duties. Thus, to the degree that the ANP is manned by illiterate personnel, it cannot meet the performance standards of a fully professional police force.”

Apparently we also reformed its pay structure, so that its Lt. General gets paid seven times its previous salary but a lowly patrolman gets $80 dollars a month, $10 dollars more than its previous salary:

Before Reform After Reform
$107     Lt General       $750
$103     Maj General    $650
$95       Brig General    $550
$92       Colonel            $400
$88       Lt Colonel       $350
$83       Major              $300
$78       Captain           $250
$69      1st Lieutenant  $200
$66      2nd Lieutenant $180
$62      Sergeant           $115/$140/$160
$70      Patrolman         $70/$80

Pay per month in USD

Finally, the assessment notes that the Afghan government does not/not have the revenue to pay its police.

Imagine an end-state of the police program in Afghanistan that is self-sustaining, professional and multi-ethnic and blah, blah, blah ….presumably composed of the Pashtuns and the Tajiks, Hazaras, Uzbeks, Aimaks, Turkmen, Balochs and others.

This is obviously a problem, particularly in a country where the national literacy rate is 28.1%.  Of course, every problem has a solution, silly!

Just yesterday, DOD showed off Dr. Jack D. Kem, the deputy to the NATO Training Mission Afghanistan commander, Army Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV; he was touting the progress in the Afghanistan training mission:

The typical recruit is “physically fit, clear-eyed and they want to work,” Kem said. “They are survivors and highly motivated.” But they also are illiterate. “About 86 percent come in and can’t count to four,” he said. “They have not lived in wealth, so many have never seen running water or driven a vehicle. There are a lot of things that we have to do that wouldn’t be typical in the West.”
“We have 110,000 people in literacy courses,” Kem said. “In 10 years, school enrollment has gone from 800,000 to 8 million. Some of that is from our assistance.”

So to sum up —

The somebodies decided that Afghanistan must have a professional police force. Check.

Hard to make them professional when they’re not literate.The somebodies proceeded to give them literacy courses. Check.

The somebodies also reformed their pay structure. Check.

When all is said and done, remember that Afghanistan does not have the money to pay the salaries of its police force.

Oh, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot – even IF we succeed in building a “professional” police force over there, who’s going to write their checks when we’re done visiting?

In the end-state imagined here, we’ll be in Afghanistan like the song goes — Forever and Ever Amen! And you call this a win/win situation?

Holy mother of goat and all her crazy nephews!

Related item:
DoD and DOS Need Better Procedures to Monitor and Expend DoD Funds for the Afghan National Police Training Program (Report No. D-2011-080 and AUD/CG-11-30)


Uzbek National on Revoked Student Visa Indicted for Threatening to Kill President Obama

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrestImage via WikipediaVia the U.S. Attorney’s Office | Northern District of Alabama | July 26, 2011:

Illegal Alien from Uzbekistan Indicted for Threatening to Kill the President and Possessing Machine Gun and Grenades

BIRMINGHAM—A federal grand jury today indicted an Uzbek national for threatening the life of President Barack Obama and illegally possessing weapons.

The indictment was announced by U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance; FBI Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Patrick J. Maley; Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Roy Sexton; Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Raymond R. Parmer Jr.; and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Special Agent in Charge Glenn N. Anderson.

The indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges ULUGBEK KODIROV, 21, of Uzbekistan, with four counts of threatening the president—on July 9, July 10, July 11, and July 13. Count five charges Kodirov with being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm, and count six charges him with unlawfully possessing a fully automatic weapon. Both of those counts refer to a Sendra Corporation Model M15-A1 rifle.

Count seven of the indictment charges Kodirov with receiving and possessing an unregistered grenade on July 13.
Kodirov was arrested July 13 at a motel in Leeds after he procured the machine gun from an undercover agent, according to the arrest complaint and supporting affidavit, which were filed July 14. He was arrested on a charge of being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm.

Kodirov came to the United States in June 2009 and remained in the country on a student visa. His student visa was revoked April 1, 2010, for failure to enroll in school, according to the arrest affidavit.

At the time of Kodirov’s arrest, he was living at an extended-stay motel in Pelham.

Kodirov faces maximum prison penalties of five years on each count of threatening the president, and 10 years on each of the weapons counts.

Note that the press statement indicates that he came to the United States in June 2009 but there is no mention what type of visa he used to enter the country, only that he “remained in the country on a student visa.”  Did he come as a tourist? Did he change status to a student visa once he entered the U.S.?  Apparently his visa was revoked in April 2010 and all this time he remained in country while on illegal status.  Did DHS/ICE look for him?  If he did not threaten the president, would he still be hanging out in an extended-stay motel? 

Senate Confirms Bill Burns as Deputy Secretary of State

Mintimer Shaimiev and William Joseph Burns.Image via WikipediaExecutive nominations confirmed by the Senate July 27, 2011:

William J. Burns, of Maryland, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service with
the Personal Rank of Career Ambassador, to be Deputy Secretary of State.

Also confirmed, Gary Locke, of Washington, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the People’s Republic of China and Robert S. Mueller, III, of California, to be Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a term expiring September 4, 2013.

Secretary Clinton released a press statement on July 28 on Ambassador Burns confirmation:

Today, Bill Burns began serving as the Department of State’s newest Deputy Secretary of State, alongside Tom Nides. I am grateful for Bill’s decision to continue his nearly 30 years of service to the American people as we implement President Obama’s ambitious foreign policy agenda.

As our most senior Foreign Service Officer, Bill has advanced U.S. interests all over the world. He has been on the frontlines during some of the most significant foreign policy breakthroughs in recent years, from building international consensus on free trade, to curbing the nuclear threat posed by Iran, to nurturing democracy in the Middle East, to helping negotiate the historic START arms control treaty with Russia.

Wherever he has served, Bill has set the standard for leadership in our Senior Foreign Service. He is our country’s senior-most professional diplomat for a reason — he is the best in this business, a role model for generations of Foreign Service Officers and someone whose counsel both the President and I hold in the highest regard.

I look forward to working even more closely with Bill to tackle some of the most difficult challenges we face, as we help build a more peaceful and prosperous world.