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Anthony Cordesman comments on departmental reporting on the Afghan War

May 26, 2010

In this memo, Anthony Cordesman criticizes the quality of reporting by the departments to the Congress on the Afghan War. Many of his points touch on the anxieties you hear from those executing the administration’s Afghan strategy. America may have set a clearer direction on Afghanistan, but are the institutions capable of executing this kind of war?

We all know the IG reports on Iraq have called for significant institutional overhauls, including the creation of a US Office for Contingency Operations, similar to PNSR’s recommendations for empowered interagency teams.  Some believe we need these organizational forms in this new era. We also know the administration has taken many steps to improve civil-military teamwork, expanding on the PRTs, beefing up the country team, creating offices like that of Special Representative Richard Holbrooke’s interagency team.

But are these informal workarounds enough? Are the resources flowing where should be? Are we focused on changing the situation on the ground? Not enough, according to Cordesman. Why? Bureaucracy thickens the already heavy fog of war.

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