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tv   Lessons from Afghanistan Reconstruction  CSPAN  May 25, 2018 1:06pm-3:46pm EDT

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unification of germany -- objective, the unification of germany, he stopped and became a consolidator rather than an instigator. his next 30 years in power as a chancellor were trying to build alliances and -- with all of germany's neighbors so they would get used to the idea of a unified germany. it was that distinction between shock and awe and knowing when to stop and do something else. >> yale university professor john lewis gaddis and his book on grant strategy on -- grand strategy. sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q&a. up next, a conversation from the brookings institution on u.s. stabilization and reconstruction efforts in afghanistan. we will hear from special inspector general for afghanistan reconstruction.
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this is about 2.5 hours. >> good morning, ladies and gentlemen. welcome to the brookings institution. my name is john allen, the president of brookings. it is my pleasure to be joined pko, theiend john f. so special inspector general for afghanistan reconstruction. john joins us as part of our event entitled afghanistan, lessons from the u.s. afghanistan. this event happens to share the same title with the report just issued by sigar, which will be
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rolled out today. you will hear from john shortly on the findings, contents, and the recommendations. i have had the honor of knowing this gentleman, john sopko for many years and he was a vital partner to me in my role leading u.s. and nato forces in afghanistan and has been a trusted advisor to many u.s. policymakers and leaders throughout the years. he and his team have maintained close and tireless oversight over our mission in afghanistan and have been a critical part of remain assuring we accountable for our efforts and equally as important in making sure we learned from our successes and our mistakes. over the last nearly 17 years of this conflict, there has been much to learn. to the audience for this hour, john will first provide us his own set of remarks laying out
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the report and we will come together on the stage for roughly 30 minutes of conversation, which will be a between med of q &a and him and i think we will have time to go to the audience for questions. it will be followed by a panel that will have a discussion on the report in afghanistan writ large. given the caliber of the panelists today, it will undoubtedly be an excellent discussion not without pointed views and during that period of time we will have about 30 minutes probably for audience questions and answers. finally, i would be remiss in not noting that this event takes oure just a few days before most solemn and important of american holidays, memorial day. over 2000 u.s. servicemen and women have made the ultimate sacrifice in afghanistan since
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2001. it is often overlooked and sometimes forgotten, the sacrifices by many foreign service officers, usa id professionals and civilians of all stripes and forms as well as our numerous coalition partners and allies who also gave their lives in the name of peace and security for the people of afghanistan. memorial day is about honoring each of these heroes and we must never forget them and their sacrifices. those lives lost must mean something and, indeed, through the lessons learned in reports of institution -- organizations like sigar, we can and must find better ways to ensure our missions are achieved with greater effect unless sacrifice, wasteuffering, and less for all parties. with that, let me welcome john sopko, special inspector general of afghanistan to the stage for
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his keynote remarks. john. detailing how the state department and defense department tried to support and legitimize the afghan government in contested districts in
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afghanistan from 2002 to 2017. today's report is also available in an interactive format and, like all of our products, may be downloaded from our website at www.sigar.mil. on the interactive format, i think we are the only inspector general's office that releases reports in such a format. fifthwill release its lessons learned report, focusing on narcotics efforts in afghanistan. we began our lessons learned program in late 2000 14 at a suggestion by you, general alan, andalso brian crocker others. my staff told me i have credited about our times lessons learned program that we should probably start writing you some royalty checks.
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[laughter] that would be wrong. seriousness, you made an observation that resonated with me during one of my first trips to afghanistan while you were the commanding general of isif. we later followed up when you retired at a breakfast meeting in pentagon city. you noted that of all the worthwhile audits and investigations that sigar was conducting, there was still a question left unanswered, what did it all mean and what did it all mean in the larger context of reconstruction and national security? part of the reason you and others thought the lessons learned program would be a worthwhile endeavor for my organization to undertake is due to our unique jurisdiction.
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of all the ig's, we have jurisdiction to look at all u.s. reconstruction programs and projects in afghanistan regardless of their funding source and regardless of which agency is actually conducting the programs. we are statutorily unique in that fashion since we are the only federal oversight agency that can look holistic league at the whole of government effort in afghanistan, which means we are not constrained by agency stovepipes. i am pleased to say that there has been great interest in our lessons learned reports up to date and today's report is really no different. while we were finalizing our report, the departments of state usaid,ense, along with were finalizing their own stabilization assistance review, or sar and they asked sigar to
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brief their staff on that work. the inter-agency review was recently approved and is well aligned with the sigar report we are releasing today. before i go any further, i think we have to ask the question, what is stabilization? it is one of those terms that is rarely, if ever, precisely defined. definitions have varied by u.s. agencies and even within a particular u.s. agency over the been inyears we have afghanistan. earlier this year, the u.s. government finally defined stabilization as "a political and ever evolving -- endeavor involving a civilian military process to create conditions where locally, legitimate authorities and systems can peacefully manage conflict and prevent a resurgence of violence."
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put simply, stabilization is the process of building sufficient governance to keep insurgents from returning and convincing the population of that area that government rule is preferable to insurgent rule. sigar undertook this project for one simple reason, the stabilization effort in afghanistan was not the first the u.s. government has undertaken, nor will it be the last. given the current security environment and the dangers of allowing poorly governed spaces to serve as launching pads transnational terrorist groups, we anticipate future u.s. government efforts to stabilize those areas by clearing them of terrorist groups and helping generate sufficient governance to keep terrorists from
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returning not only in afghanistan, but around the goal -- globe. i believe the panel discussion this morning will go into greater detail about that. today's report contains seven lessons, identifies 10 makes seven recommendations to the executive branch, and includes 4 matters for congressional consideration. rather than go through every one of these, i would like to begin with our overall assessment of the stabilization effort in afghanistan and then highlight some issues of particular concern. overallately, sigar's assessment is that despite some very heroic efforts to stabilize and secure -- insecure and contested areas in afghanistan between 2002 and 2017, the
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program was mostly a failure. this happened for a number of reasons, including the establishment of a set of unrealistic expectations about what we could do and what could be achieved in just a few year'' time. the lack of capacity of u.s. government agencies to fully support those accelerated efforts and to show rivalries and -- institutional rivalries and bureaucratic efforts compounded this already difficult task. every organization and agency we found that worked on stabilization in afghanistan from dod civil affairs and special operation forces to state and usaid suffered from personnel and programming deficits born from rapid
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scaling, short tour's of duty, and the pressure to show quick progress. no organization we found was prepared for these challenges it showedtunately, with results. stabilization is unique because it is an inherently joint civilian military undertaking. yet given the size and resources of dod, the military consistently determined priorities on the ground and chose to focus on the most .nsecure districts a logical decision on its face, but ironically one that had unintended negative consequences. why? because those areas often insecureperpetually and had to be cleared of insurgents again and again. civilian agencies, particularly
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conductere compelled to programs in these fiercely contested areas that were not ready for stabilization. because the coalition focused on the most insecure areas and rarely provided enduring security after clearing them, afghans were often too afraid to serve in the local governments there. afghan civilians also had little faith their districts would remain in government hands when the coalition withdrew, implementing partners struggled to execute programs that missed the violence and u.s. agencies were unable to adequately monitor and evaluate the projects. we spent a lot of time in our report on that particular issue. one of the challenges facing stabilization efforts in
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afghanistan, as i alluded to, and as is reported in our report today, came from the institutional differences and rivalries that start right here in washington. while the military was focused on clear, hold, and build -- those are the tenants of the , state and usaid faced challenges given the pressure from dod to quickly show gains on the ground. to significant tension between usaid and the military over reluctance or inability to work in the most contested and insecure districts, the same areas the military believed to be the most important to reverse caliban momentum -- taliban momentum. often the military would claim a district was clear and ready stabilization programs, yet clear meant something very
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different to the military than it did to aid and the afghan ed withtors task paving a road in an insecure environment. the military may have deemed the area safe enough for them, but if the little different contractors charged with executing the hold or build phase were in danger or felt they were so. some senior aid officials told our staff that military officials pushed the agency into glowing -- going along with clear, hold, and build and demanded it implement programs such as cash for work on a large objections.id's senior military officials likewise told us they had little choice but to do things quickly and focus on the most dangerous areas. you have to remember the timeline, the short timeline the military was given, particularly
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as it was drawing down resources. usaid officials also had a difficult time arguing against the military's belief that stabilization would buy the support of the population and convince them to share information about ied's and thus lives.alition's "the military expected us to be bags of cash." prior to the surge, aid advisors were often able to exercise veto power about where and how military commanders used funds. influence over expenditures were significantly diminished as we were doing the drawdown and the quick exit from afghanistan. as one official noted win aid tried to stop implementing projects in areas where they
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could not be monitored or evaluated, the military sometimes set aside the siv middle partnership bottle and used funding unilaterally. as a result, all types of stabilization programming were implemented during all stages of the clear, hold, and build sequence, even when aid knew that sequencing was inappropriate and the programs would be ineffective or it under pressure from the military, the aid build schools in places where they cannot be monitored, the government cannot maintain and staff them and students only attended sporadically, if at all, due to insecurity. military commanders likewise concentrated large projects in less secure areas where they were less likely to succeed. dod, state and aid, the two agencies that provided the most personnel for
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the civilian surge, did not have sufficient staffing, especially build in staff redundancy to enable rapid mobilization in the field. without that capacity in afghanistan, state and aid particularly struggled to meet the demands of the civilian surge, they pulled staff from the other assignments and hired temporary staff. the number of civilian personnel control, for kabul example, more than tripled between january 2009 and december 2011. 2011, more than 20% of usaid's worldwide staff were in afghanistan. ,s one aid official told sigar at the height of the civilian surge, our existing numbers were tolimited, we were forced
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bring on roughly 150 to 450 people per year to do the work of ai across afghanistand. unfortunately, many had little or no practical aid experience. told our staffs he got the job because "i had a pulse and a masters degree." by 2011, the demand for personnel had so exceeded the werey that state and aid unable to hire enough people to fill all the civilian slots coalition military forces requested, even with the hiring of temporary employees. i would like to say one thing before i get some water, unfortunately i am a little parched. i apologize. as i said, the use of temporary
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hires by aid and state had positive and negative trade-offs. on the positive side, unlike permanent aid and state personnel, temporary hires could stay in afghanistan more than one year, avoiding the loss of institutional memory or what i and my staff called the "annual lobotomy" that occurs when personnel rotate out of the country after one year or less. unfortunately, those same temporary hires had little, if any experience or training in monitoring and project oversight and carrying out specific aid projects. as a result, we were astounded to find out that few of those civilians working at the local level had agency authority to oversee programming. regionalint, usaid's
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representatives, who are the most senior usaid officials assigned to each regional command in afghanistan, had no oversight authority over the programs in their area of operations. decisions, therefore, had to default to the embassy in kabul, which had problems, obviously, of communicating quickly to staff in the field. contracting also searched. at one point, a higher ranking aid official determined in order to meet the u.s. government average ratio of dollars to number of contracting officials, aid would have to send nearly its entire overseas workforce to afghanistan. the number of contractor personnel overseen by direct was state and aid personnel extremely large. in 2011, there were approximately 18 contractors for every direct hire at state and at usaid was 100:1
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read even with a sufficient number of highly trained personnel, stabilization operations in afghanistan would have been challenging. our reportly, as lays out, state and aid did not have the right personnel to effectively execute the mission in spite of efforts made years earlier to provide them with exactly that capability. now, despite all of challenges, the question ultimately we ask is did stabilization in afghanistan work and was it effective? did it meet its goal? we talked a lot about inputs, outputs and outcomes. , did it reach the ultimate outcome? out, we try tos answer that question by looking
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at other experts who had studied the issue. and external research found that the evidence was inconclusive and sometimes exactly contradictory. some research found that usaid and the state department programming actually did accomplish stabilization. some found no impact and other research, ironically, found that the program itself was destabilizing. there are some factors that seem to be common among the most successful stabilization intervention programs in afghanistan. those will be laid out in a report. we have on the panel following, a military leader who actually we highlight as one of the leaders who actually succeeded in stabilization in his district in qatar. what were the common lessons
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learned and best practices for stabilization to work? first, we found out that stabilization was most effective in areas where the government had a degree of physical control. second, it was also more successful when implement tears undertook -- implementers undertook fewer difficulties with a higher degree of insight and staffing. third, stabilization cannot be done well on the cheap. successful projects were labor-intensive for donors and in the letting partners alike. for, we found that best, result in small gains that require constant reinforcement to avoid reversals. the timelines that u.s. agencies were operating under assumed that quick security gains would be matched by equally quick
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stabilization and governance gains. the latter failed to materialize before security forces withdrew and instability returned to many of the areas were stabilization programs were working. our research also found that implement thing smaller projects help programs avoid some of the common pitfalls of working in the midst of a counterinsurgency. avoiding these pitfalls and stabilization such as predatory officials, corruption and insurgent sabotage while still providing tangible benefits to communities, was easier for smaller scale projects. according to a 2010 u.s. embassy assessment, it was also easier to ensure community buy-in and ownership of small-scale and for structure projects than it was for larger. we have identified previously, research has demonstrated that superficial measures of success, such as the sheer amount of
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money spent or outputs produced, have no correlation to the eventual impact or out come -- outcome. as one senior u.s. aid official told us, if you go fast, you actually go slow. if you go slow on purpose, you actually go faster with stabilization. one area where u.s. effort seem to get it right was into -- was in a province. the combination of capable individuals and -- in key roles, i willingness by those individuals to collaborate, and a heavy presence of u.s. military forces in the area, helped the initiative to succeed more than others in the country.
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in conclusion, i have identified only a few of the major challenges, the effort to stabilize afghanistan faced. the poor results of this particular mission may make it tempting to some policymakers to conclude that stabilization should never be undertaken again. i would disagree with that. given the security challenges we face in today's world, stabilization are what everyone a college is important -- what ever want to call it is important. eliminating that ability or capability is not a realistic choice. rather, the u.s. government must address the challenges and capacity constraints identified in our report.
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given the lack of alternatives to stabilization in an ungoverned space that has been cleared of insurgents or terrorists, the best course of action before the u.s. government to balance the importance of any stabilization mission with a realistic understanding of the level of effort required and what is achievable. additionally, our government must improve its ability to prepare for, design, execute, monitor and evaluate stabilization missions. the need for such expertise will not diminish anytime soon. writes, whilean the toils of warfare have changed, the challenges of small wars, fought against guerrillas and terrorists have remained constant.
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american soldiers struggling against al qaeda and the taliban could profitably study the past and learn how their ancestors dealt with haitian, philippines, nicaraguans, and other irregular foes. just as with the examples, we cannot afford to fail to absorb the lessons we have learned in afghanistan. as we continue to contemplate such programs both their in afghanistan and in other countries in the future. let me conclude by acknowledging the tireless efforts of those who worked on this report. 's efforts were led by david young, who is supported by cain. they have my thanks and hopefully your thanks for
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issuing the report today. with that, thank you very much for this opportunity to speak. [applause] john: i am sure some of you are seeing on your phones that there is an apparent announcement that the white house has just canceled a conversation with the north koreans coming up. we will see how that develops today. some place i don't think we were going to have a stabilization effort. [laughter] in the near future.
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john, thank you for those comments. i really appreciate them. let me make a real quick editorial note. on the panel, we will have an army officer who was a fellow here last year at brookings. kunar province was one of the toughest fights that we had. it is up against the pakistani border. places,ndwiched between a tough place to be a commander and be successful in stabilization. if you want to see a little bit more on that, there is an interesting documentary out there called "the hornets nest." he is featured in the personally with his great battalion. is worth taking -- it is worth taking a look at. when i retired from the marine corps in 2013, i never thought of the concerned over these matters again. or mentioned in a sig report.
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18 months later, i found myself these special -- i was some -- i myself the special presidential envoy. with the onslaught of isis, we had no real idea how this fight would ultimately take shape. the one thing we did know was that we would eventually have a massive stabilization effort, not just to rescue the populations, but to keep out daesh or isis in the aftermath. it was going to be big across both iraq and syria. with that in mind and given the lessons you are already surfacing from the afghan experience, as you lower member, we worked to set up a network of inspector generals from the very beginning of this. it would look hard at u.s. and
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coalition efforts as they were unfolding to get the most out of the work that we were doing. already, you and your team have had to affect on a future crisis that we could have been involved in. we will have a few minutes of questions, i will ask a couple of them will go to the audience for a couple. these are going to be forward-looking. the report, obviously speaks for itself. there is a lot of detail in their about deficiencies and the challenges that john and hits team faced and were able to see a document. this isn't the end for the u.s. and coalitions. is my remarks implied, within 18 months of supposedly the end of the conflict in afghanistan, we are now embroiled once again in something in iraq and syria and it will continue. we need to profit and benefit from the work that you have done and others to enjoy that we are better prepared as we go. again, thinking about the future, john, let's call it a hypothetical administration of the future, we have a crisis.
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it is one where we have the capacity, not as a result of an emergency, but we have the capacity for some deliver thought about how we will be involved in this evolution, how we will intervene are how we will be invited in our how long we will be there and we think the issues will be. you have been summoned to the white house because of your work to advise the president and his national security team on what they should be thinking about right now as the u.s. contemplates yet another effort, which could end up in a large stabilization effort. if i could ask, what would you tell the president? john: keeping in mind that you'll probably be hired the minute you are done talking. what would you tell the president? john: the first thing, you and i chatted about this and the green room, get your staff to read the lessons learned reports that are already out there.
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you discovered it to your chagrin when you are leading a team, they had no blueprint, the lessons learned and found a usaid report out there which actually help the. reports have been written. we found that report and it laid out a lot of the issues we were finding right now. no one had ever read it. we couldn't find anybody in the embassy or usaid had actually seen it. the first thing is, read what is out there. the problem is, the state and aid incorporate that into their training, teaching etc.. the second thing is, before you go in, know where you are going into. as a military commander, you know that you have to know the terrain. that about applies to stabilization also. know how and why the people in that region supported the terrorist groups. what was the issue or issues they were doing.
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i think in afghanistan, we decided to duplicate norway in each one of these districts. we try to provide schools, highways, etc. what we should have looked at was what were the services that but hallinan and the terrorist, insurgents providing which made -- that the taliban and the terrorists, insurgents providing which made the people relatively happy? you'll have to give them everything at the start. the other thing to do is to give it incrementally. would tell the i president is, despite your inclination to do it quickly, and declare victory, it is going to take a long time. let's be realistic about this. let's be honest to the american people and the american congress
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that none of these things can be done quickly and successfully. that would be my advice. >> ok, so the president is dutifully impressed with this. he lays the bombshell on you that we are was expect these days. this is going to be a coalition effort. it's not just the united states. please advise the president of the united states on how he or she should be thinking about how the community of nations effort. might be considered we had 50 nations engaged in the coalition. john: all 50 nations were sometimes going across purposes
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to each other. john: how do we solve that? john: had we think about it in ways -- we have to realize we are giving with our coalition allies. they have their own political reasons for doing what they are doing. they all have parliaments or congresses that their generals have to respond to. john: so you're never going to admit that each country has -- -- so you never going to a lemony a country has their own foibles. that every country has their own foibles. knowing that, let's assume the germans cannot go into a certain area, take that into consideration. it is not the fault of the german parliament. realize that, and come up with a plan that utilizes each one of those countries's best -- countries' best capabilities. that is the first thing. we have to be humble enough to realize that every other countries like ours, they have political answers they have to
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come home to. the other thing i think is if you know you are going to have a coalition approach, realize that what is promised isn't always what is delivered. i think you probably face of that with nato. you go out and recruit the troops, nato promised x money, it turns out only half set up. have you go forward with that -- how do you go forward with the hole in your approach? i think that is something to take into consideration. john: ok, you are hired. [laughter] get packed. one of the things that was an issue, associated with afghanistan is, and i think you have touched on this very how can we be thinking about both the stabilization and ultimately the reconstruction effort. they should blend.
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one should lead logically to the other. and ordered to avoid creating, additional burdens because as you well know, we did leave quite a bill for the afghans each year for the maintenance of roads, infrastructure, buildings etc. how should we be thinking about that? john: i think first, just thinking about that is important to read i do not think we did pay attention that much. part of it was a problem i think that comes back into washington. we tend to think in appropriations cycles. we get in appropriations a cycle that is one year or two year. if we don't spend it we lose it. i've commented before. it is not that anyone we sent to afghanistan was not as smart, not as brave and not as honorable. we gave him a box of broken tools.
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we gave him a personal system that was broken. a procurement system that was broken. your rotational system that you had to face was broken. you can get the people you wanted and have them stay long enough was broken. we need to look at those issues first. i do agree with you about the afghans. i feel bad when i go over and talk to them and we are putting the conditions on the afghans. we realize that all of the new coalitions are also putting new positions and they are not coordinated. each one of the programs from all of the various countries have their own requirements, documents that have to be filled out, meetings that have to be made. you wonder sometimes, what puts
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the afghans thinking on their side. i think if we could somehow get the allies together to think on a calm and quiet platform, lets not overwhelm the afghans with filling up paper. paper reduction act, which it passed years ago should apply to our coalition development. john: of thing to your point, the personal vote tatian process -- rotation process, used the term broken, i was a challenging. remembering that while units came in for a year at a time, they do not always come in at the same time. there is overlap. we have often heard that this war was fought one year at a time. i think many of the rotational
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issues had they been recorded from the beginng. all of the coalition partners could have given us an operational perspective and a longevity of operational perspective, which would have been helpful. in my first meeting with the new commander, he pointed out to me that i was a four-star general commanding afghanistan and four years for him. this just create our own institution. -- this creates our own institutional inertias to sort out. we have 15 minutes left on this session. what i would like to do is thank you for your answers. but go to the audience for a couple. i will ask when you get to the microphone, and about 30 seconds after the good the microphone, be looking for a question. we will move it very quickly to the question if i don't see it. this gentleman right here in front. >> thank you so much for coming
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to speak your today. my name is jonathan and i am a student. john: as you introduce yourselves tell us where you are from. >> from connecticut, i will be at osd. this summer i was just wondering if he did speak of a more about pakistan because i think they have been a key variable that has impeded any success for stabilization efforts. moving forward with our stabilization approach with afghanistan, what type of approach should we stay with that? john: i'm going to defer to the general here. i look at just afghanistan and just reconstruction. pakistan is also an important player. the new strategy from the station has a key component on pakistan.
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i'm going to deliver it to the general because he does a lot more dealing with the pakistan issue than i did. i don't be pakistan. john: i'll just give you 30 seconds. the relationship between the u.s. and pakistan is not the -- not divorced. getting the pakistanis to see that there are vested interests over the long-term are best served by a stable afghanistan. when that is not -- does not benefit from other taliban elements. there was a long time when i believe peace in afghanistan passed through islamabad. in many respects, i think the long-term stability of pakistan changes throughout islamabad and -- getting the pakistanis, the afghans and international community to have a similar view the stable afghanistan, one that has the capacity for both governmental capacity, security
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to the possible it -- population, and a vibra -- vibrant community. thank you for the question. coming over here. over here. >> thank you. general first, i would like to thank you for your comments on being a retired uso and vietnam veteran. john: yes, sir. thank you for your service. >> i made frequent trips through -- to afghanistan. when you began the discussion, he said that stabilization is keeping insurgents from -- you said that stabilization is keeping insurgents from returning. my conversations with general carter, even general nicholson, the got an impression that in places like that, the insurgents never left. they just went underground when
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we went there. they were sadly part of the they were sadly part of the society. the objective is the stabilization, have we picked up the wrong target? john: that is a good question. maybe by saying they always stay, think what we are indicating is that this problem is an afghan problem. it's not the people are going to run back to pakistan. but, when the area is, unstable those people, or whatever the terrorist group is have to be taken out of the way. eliminated in one fashion. if they decide to go underground and join a reconciliation group and become a part of the
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government, that is another way. you have to provide a service, which in many of these districts, they provided. that is part of the idf's is creating a central government that can walk -- run afghanistan and have government control over a region that does become a hotbed for other terrorist activity. john: can i does add one thing? we keep referring to pakistan as being the key problem. the problem also, as we saw in this report, was that the afghan government at times, was significant lee viewed very negatively by the local people. what you really need is to insert a government that the people support, a government that is not predatory. a government that is not a bunch of lawless warlords. that is a key thing. that is one of the things that i did not talk about when we
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poured so much money into these on stage stable environments. we continued to that problem of creating more powerful people have basically take the law into their own hands. in essence, the government introduced, particularly some of the local police forces were just as bad as the terrorists that were there before. john: let me add to this. one of the things i would tell the president is it is something that we learned, not just in afghanistan, but we had seen it somewhere in iraq. we really saw it in columbia. some days, there's a distinction without a haze. within the insurgent and the criminal. i don't think we got a full grip on that in afghanistan. in my mind, there was a
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triangular threat to afghanistan's future, but also the military contact. you have the ideological insurgency, which you can call the taliban. you have drug enterprise, which fueled an awful lot of insurgent and criminal behavior. and then you had the criminal patronage networks. i don't believe we were properly organized to deal with this. in my mind, how we get ready to go, my first, to the president would be you must assume there will be an inherent, sometimes an inextricable link between criminality and the insurgency. you have to give the military commander capacity to bring to bear forth law enforcement and drug enforcement capabilities and the right numbers in dealing with the insurgency. if they are not properly mixed that way, we will fool ourselves into believing we defeated the taliban.
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only now we have the criminal patronage networks. there will well fueled with the drug enterprise. we have to be thinking of those multidimensional ways. we will take two more general questions. -- yes, sir? >> my name is jeff and i used to herbst. ambassador john i spent a few years now doing global development consulting. my company has a more projects in afghanistan than anywhere else. i we -- i will be headed back on a human contract in a couple of week's. my first question has to do with maybe one of the elephant in the room, which are the afghans themselves. i imagine that you gentlemen and a lot of people here might agree with something, an observation along these lines. we have all met a lot of afghans who are actually pretty darn good. who are well traveled, who speak
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a lot of languages, who have great skills. a lot of them are young. if they could only get the leaders on top of their organizations, who tend to be corrupt, out of the way, there's a lot of capacity already there in kabul and other cities in afghanistan to make use of. my first question is, would you agree with that? the second has to do with the donors that you mentioned for the ends of your remarks. i remember meeting some eu police folks working on a long-standing project the eu has had. we obviously had to spend much of our time coordinating with the u.s. a much bigger police training program. their observations are very much in sync with yours and have been there for years. some of the additional complaints they would make or were where that while they were seasoned detectives, and essentially, sergeant and
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essentially,- sergeants and captains and what have you, their american counterparts were very young, hired from all over the u.s. then of course, if we got honest with ourselves, we got into a period of militarization of our police training. and that was something that the eu is very sensitive to. one last thing about the eu, that was something that the eu is very sensitive to. one last thing about the eu, they set up a project in cozumel with a set up a bill justice ministry. every top official there, had an eu advisor. the question is, given that the eu does not have a great reputation in this town and even more so since the election, are
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we also able to learn lessons from some of our allies and friends? you brought up at the end, you said donors were all there and we are putting on contingencies and things. who funds that? should be the u.n. on occasion? john: first to your question on afghans. my personal experience is they are a remarkable people. while i met a few that i probably wanted to tame from time to time, the vast majority stems from the most modern to the most traditional. they were extraordinarily admirable people. i have ultimate commitment to them until i take my last breath. when i was the commander of the eu, i felt that the eu was a good part for us. they did good work. in some areas where, i'm sure you are familiar with this, we had provincial reconstruction
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teams that were locally owned. often use the term caveats. there were national caveats with stabilization. the eu worked very hard to fill in those gaps. the eu remains a credible player. is it the perfect outcome? we can all do better, but the eu has been a good partner for us in this regard. we may have a different opinion than some places in washington, but i think the u.n. will continue to be an important partner. i think what we will discover is one of the heroes of that was a woman in the undp. we were able to put together a stabilization fund that came in immediately behind the clearing,
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where we were able to put in stabilization money. the u.n. is a great partner and have to be the right moment for them. the eu is a great partner. this is a matter of ultimately us having the capacity for strategic planning in this regard. not trying to put it together on the ground. that is too late. if there's anything you like to add? john: i agree with the general and the one thing i would add, i do the youth in afghanistan as sort of the canary in a coma. as long as the current government is still surrounded by these young, honest, honorable well educated. and they are taking a lot of
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risk supporting the government. i meet with the president almost every time i go there. i see his top advisers. as long as i see them, i feel optimistic. when they disappear, we have some problems. i agree with that. we issued a report on security sectors, where we talked about and tell, the whole issue of police training. that was one of the problems we saw. we should have police doing police training. john: when we are in the rim advising the president of the united states, one of the key pieces of advice you must give that individual. we have to support their aspect of civil society, their role within the stabilization and those efforts that can capitalize on that and leverage it will accelerate the role of women in a society, but also
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leverage one of the most powerful influences in the society as well. this will be the last question we have on this panel and then we will break and go to the regular panel. >> from the u.s. naval academy. very interesting, i will leave this short because it doesn't dovetail the previous question and some of your answers. that is just to take the comments on coalition a little bit further. how do we actually accomplish addressing those problems with the coalition? do we do that nato? does the u.n. take it over? does the united states taken over? what you suggest that we learned
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these lessons and where and how do we do that? john: you take it. john: i think on our security sets, we have sector assistance. we talk about having to take that into consideration early on with the coalition. that was just in the security sector. we have not either in this report or in our lessons learned report on private sector development really looked at that issue yet. that is something, we have a lessons learned report called divided responsibilities that we are looking on right now which tries to look at the whole issue of responsibilities and authority. it is sort of that gap between them. i don't have a better answer yet. i know as a practitioner, you had to deal with this on a daily basis. john: that was in ad hoc coalition in which nato had an interest in nato has -- nato was a former partner -- formal partner. you're going to be quickly
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organized diplomatically to determine where this priorities are and establishes priorities within the coalition. as a matter of importance, ad hoc coalitions can only get you so far for a certain. of time -- certain period of time. the night before, you need to be thinking about you are going to hands off to if you don't complete the mission. it might be that a coalition will get handed off to nato for the security purposes and handed off to the eu for stabilization purposes. i will tell you, as we begin to build it, we have five lines of effort one of the earliest of the five flights of effort, we established early on the emirates took the lead on stabilization. from the very beginning of the
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counter i select for -- isil effort, stabilization was important. it was much more difficult and i think we have one of the panelists who will address this. it was much more difficult to undertake coherent stabilization and syria. we have to think about areas where we would conduct a stabilization or we are either in opposition to the government. we have to have the flexibility in that regard. the grand a strategic meeting has to occur early in the process whether it is nato-led, a u.n. coalition. that process of early leadership to determine from the very beginning as it begins or stabilization place in a process. it cannot be an afterthought. it cannot be something start to think about as we finally clear the first village. i am sorry we went over just a
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couple of minutes. my apologies to the next panel. thank you for your contribution this morning. [applause] john: thank you very much.
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>> ladies and gentlemen, good morning. while my colleagues are getting themselves miced up, let me welcome you all to the second part of our this caption. -- discussion. i'm delighted to lead a conversation with a fantastic group appear. you have their full biographies, so i will give them brief introductions. in medially to my left is van my colleague andda, senior fellow here at the foreign policy program. in many places around the world where conflict organized crime and terrorism combined to pose major challenges to security and stability. next to her is jb. the kernel is currently build as an alumnus of the brookings
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institute. he was here in 2016-2017. he comes to us with three combat tours in afghanistan and one in iraq. a lot of relative experience and familiarity. you heard a little bit about the province where he was operating in afghanistan. to his left, delighted to welcome francis brown. she joined carnegie after doing quite a bit of work in the u.s. administered -- u.s. government. she is now writing a work on stabilization in syria, which is a topic i'm sure we will spend some time on over the course of our conversation. finally, not last or least,
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david young is the team lead for stabilization for the report your hand -- holding in your hand. he is an experienced analyst of governance and stabilization issues inside and outside the u.s. government. i am going to turn it over to david first. to clue us into the other findings and especially forward-looking lessons for the u.s. government on stabilization issues coming out of this report. inspector general sopko laid out one central finding this morning, that urgency and intensity, imperative to win
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control in contested areas let in many cases to stabilization operations where the preconditions for success were not there. there was too much violence. i am curious, first of all, where there pieces of success? what were the conditions for success? we can talk a little bit about this integrated military civilian toolkit that seemed so critical to successful stabilization. david: thank you for having us and for moderating. we found some of the critical ingredients included a willingness to collaborate among civilian and military officials, both afghan and coalition, a willingness for those individuals on the ground to provide robust services, including what of limiting partners sometimes did with direct implementation, and that you had to have the right people
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in the right places. we had that in a few places. what we found most of all was stabilization efforts across the country mostly failed. we traced that to two critical issues. the first was we prioritize the most dangerous districts first. there was debate about this throughout the campaign. some believed the best way to sequence stabilization programming was to build out spots from relatively stable areas, including provincial capitals and work your way gradually toward more insecure areas. doing so would build momentum for that effort. this was tried in 2006 and 2007, for that effort.
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but mostly failed due to a lack of resources. the idea was these were tipping point districts. if you go after the easier places, it paves the way for the harder places. by 2009, that model was flipped on its head. for the rest of the campaign, the idea became going after, prioritizing the most insecure parts of the country first with the hope that if you take the worst places out, it would create what is called a cascading impact into the lower hanging fruit areas and that the rest of the country would sort itself out if you took care of the most problematic areas first. unfortunately, what ended up happening and set up that cascading impact was we got bogged down in insecure areas. the inspector general highlighted, civil servants were afraid to work because of widespread taliban campaigns. civil servants that did work had trouble moving around in the country because of the danger of doing so. and limiting partners had trouble implementing projects, etc.. these areas we prioritize were so dangerous we had little hope
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to convince the population they would be able to be protected when the drawdown eventually occurred. i want to emphasize these were areas that were so dangerous many of them had seen little to no governance in years. they needed more time to actually come around and except and adjust to a new sense of normal. there was no time. which brings me to the second critical decision. we drew down forces and civilians on timelines that were unrelated to conditions on the ground. if you remember, there was a surge from -- an 18 months surge from 2010 to 2011 and a transition period from 2011 to 2014. the obama administration had good reasons for these time-based timelines.
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we had the financial crisis, and every dollar spent in afghanistan would be one less to spend on economic recovery. there was a sense that a prolonged surge would give senior u.s. military officials more room to request for more extensions and escalations down the road. finally, there was a sense that these open-ended timelines would allow -- would exacerbate afghan dependency on american aid. while these reasons were very good, we found they were just not good enough. the government in afghanistan simply cannot be reformed on the timeline in the scale we had envisioned. believing we could do so let us to make a number of critical compromises on programming, planning, and staffing that nearly guaranteed the effort would fail. for instance, military planners in kabul had to change, had to come up with new objectives for the campaign plan to accommodate these new timelines. as the inspector general mentioned, usa have problems with staffing, but they were not
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alone. the department of defense had a civil affairs unit. they converted chemical warfare companies into civil affairs to lament their programs using four weeklong training cycles that were entirely powerpoint. village stability operations, another dod program, scaled quickly, unsustainably fast, because there was this pending cents at the end of a drawdown that would have to come. the clock was ticking and we had to make as much progress as we could. i wanted to highlight one last thing regarding the service delivery model. we talked about the service -- the hopes dashed hope stabilization occurred that you would convince the population government role was better. the same system which try to
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help the government provide, were far more ambitious than they needed to be, and poorly suited to the afghan context. the taliban mostly secured the support of the population through coercion. simple forced cooperation under threat of death. in theory, it should not require a great deal of social service delivery to win the hearts and minds of a population being terrorized by the taliban. the bar should be low in those circumstances for winning them over. they are looking for a safe alternative. they are looking for essentially rudimentary law and order as a prerequisite to anything else we might provide them. it's not clear that this robust service delivery model was necessary in many cases where
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coercion was the main method for securing the population's support. in other places, the television actually went beyond coercion and provided limited service delivery specifically, security and dispute resolution. instead of us using that as a model, instead of us competing on the terms of the taliban, we tried to provide a diverse array of relatively advanced services, ranging from agricultural guidance to agricultural equipment to health care, education, that went well beyond what the television provided. and in some cases, what the taliban had done to accrue legitimacy in the eyes of the population. in our eyes, instead of doing dispute resolution, or programming along dispute resolution like the taliban was doing, we build courthouses.
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we trained prosecutors in fiercely contested districts because even though afghans found them unfamiliar, slow and corrupt. we did this despite the fact that 90% of afghans resolve their disputes through informal means, because according to one senior usaid official we talked to, we want to give them something they never had before. this was a chronic mismatch between what afghans find effective and occasionally legitimizing and what we want to provide them. it points to this need in our eyes to pinpoint what the governments's pitch should be based on what had been provided to them in the recent past it, and allow them to accrue that legitimacy. tamara: thank you. i think it is important to highlight here, sigar's mandate is brought. what you have done in this lessons learned report is you
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are not only looking at and limitation. in many ways, what you have identified is -- yes, some failures of implementation. primarily a failure of design. a failure of the theory of the case of civilization in these circumstances. i want to turn to you for comments on precisely that point. one of the findings david just laid out is this idea that the u.s. set the bar too high. it was trying to provide governance at a level beyond where it should have been trying to compete with the taliban, which is about basic security. do you agree? >> absolutely. i think there is a mismatch of expectations and provinces. fundamentally, i agree with david. a key part of the taliban's
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entrenchment was fundamentally its ability to provide order. often very brutal order, but predictable order. i frequently encountered very similar narratives from people about the taliban and the relationship of television to the populations -- of the taliban to the populations. afghan people would say, we don't like taliban. but when the taliban were in power, you could travel from kandahar to cobble with -- kabul and nobody would rob you. printable brutality is easier to develop coping mechanisms then i'm stability -- instability. what happened with the u.s. intervention was not that we provided far more ambitious governance. we promised far more ambitious governance. what we often provided was ms.
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governance by the afghan government and associated officials. the tremendous amount of corruption, unpredictable, and abuse that was partially conditioned by the fact we often take as our crucial partners, highly problematic warlords to him we relied because of the lack of u.s. troops, international troops. they often proved highly territorial toward populations, abusive, and unpredictable in their predatory behavior. with often minimizing access to markets for local populations, not simply resorting to imposing a set of rules, but becoming very exclusionary as to how people could go about their lives.
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i would also posit that a crucial element is -- that applies in afghanistan, people often have far greater expectations of what a government should provide than what an insurgent group should provide. it is the classic rise of expectations with a different kind of entity to rule you. my view is not that we give them too much. we give them actually far less than they got under the taliban, but we promised far more. tamara: excellent summary. i have to ask you, as well, vonda, and we heard john allen and eiji -- ig sopko earlier. how much of a problem is the afghan government yet the -- government? vanda: it is a fundamental part of the problem. this goes back to the relationship between pakistan and afghanistan.
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afghan people will tell you if pakistan was not across, there would be no problems in afghanistan. indeed, pakistan has been a complicated actor. no doubt about it. however, if there were good governance in afghanistan, the stabling effective pakistan would be far more limited than they have been. the destabilizing affect of pakistan would be far more limited. people have expectations on how the government would deliver more printable governance, -- predictable governance. it has been a struggle for the unity government with disappointment, unmet expectations, and because of a reduction in troops, continual reliance on highly problematic warlords, military powerbrokers as forces of delivery of governance i would highlight one other set of actors. more broadly, the afghan political class.
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it would be inappropriate to put the blame solely on the afghan government. a large part of afghanistan's continuing troubles is the fact the political class continues to see its role as constantly engaging in brinkmanship and rocking the boat of the state to gain privileges and engaging in political competition for economic spoils, never coming together, even at times of great crisis and potential inflection points to put national interest and some sort of basic unity in
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place for govern is to take place. no one in afghanistan governance. people engage in politicking. tamara: i want to come to you on this question of expectations and shifting expectations. i have been thinking about this as well because the u.s. went through parliamentary elections very soon after the territorial defeat of isis in iraq, though there is work to do. one of the striking outcomes of that election was that in the areas that isis held the hardest for the longest, around mosul, there was the least sectarian voting. the most interest expressed in effective governance. in service delivery. i'm curious whether what vanda is describing, does that ring true to you based on your experience?
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>> absolutely. thanks for having me. it is apparent i am successfully perpetrating academic fraud. [laughter] that's what we do. >> a citation management is a challenge from a strategic level. my particular case study in 2010 in afghanistan worked there for a couple of reasons. i will not say it is a model for everywhere. i will close with the salient lessons learned for potential syria stabilization or other places the military and civilian apparatus would be involved. i will not go over the entire piece, you don't need that thanks to david's great work.
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in 2010, we came in at the start of the surge in the strategy was to do counterinsurgency, of which the center of gravity are the people. winning them over. the people gravitate to the side or sides that are winning. at that time, to paraphrase a former speaker of the house, our politics is local. you want to have people connect to their district governments. everybody here gets their drivers license and most of their interaction with government at a local level. i don't think you go bang on the white house every day to get services. maybe you do. the same thing in any other country. you want the interaction to happen. we had 13 districts, only three of which were key district because they had most of the population. a district set two columnar's away from the capital, but it
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did not have anything going for services. it was a transit route for insurgents and had been historically. the gateways to kabul. when those provinces fall, kabul has always fallen. those are the places they successfully fought the soviets. the soviets could never find purchase their. 2010, a similar situation. every terrorist group was out there from al qaeda, a local afghan taliban, the taliban leadership, all of it wants to take the region. you had sanctuary, the terrain, the capabilities. we in with lessons learned in afghanistan and iraq previously. this is a whole of government problem, not a military problem. there are things we can do to enable. in the month we were there before the case you read about in the book, that was june 2010,
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i lost nine soldiers. the conditions were bad. there's a giant red arrow pressing on -- we had a suicide bombing ring we picked up by lock in that month. there was pressure everywhere. winning over the people was not going to work until we can set the conditions for that. it was that. -- bad. we got with our partners. we were so lucky to have them embedded with us. what i would call in military, arranger regiment. they're doing a precision, surgical, and they can make quick effects by synchronizing tactical teams on the ground. they are kind of an advance guard. a very effective tool for us. we had a provincial reconstruction team that was civilian and military. eta folks there, department of
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agriculture folks. you can it -- you can integrate capability. later on, we had to go into more war, because we had to clear out significant threats the district. the military side of that was pretty effective because we were able to pull insurgents away over 30 days. the main effort and the integrated plan from the beginning was the ability for stabilization efforts, contracts, and the government to own the problem immediately. once hostilities ended, trucks were coming in. we had contracts prewritten. we had worked that out with the district governor, who had looked at where he could have employment and work for law abatements that prevented flooding, for farm animals, we had veterinary capabilities, we did all of that immediately to show, we are here, we're going to stay.
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it helped the district governor was a former mujahedin. this gregarious, red bearded, hated the soviets. he thought there. he not only knew the players, both sides, he knew the terrain, and he knew -- he get great advice on how to meet expectations by under promising and over delivering. a key point. the end state, it was about integrated people. we were lucky. in the army we say it is always about leadership, people in the communication between. coming up to the operation, we had talked to elders in the valley. we got them to come in and say, we are here to help you. i was looked in the face by
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members of the taliban who said, do not ask us to help you. this is our government. that was shocking, isn't it? they were getting some of those dispute resolutions in the valley. that is my partial land. no it's not. pay me a thousand rupees and i solve it right now. it's done. the acting government cannot compete. but the brutality element. beheading elders was too much. we had three data -- free that up. some of the lessons learned are very applicable. the military plane is key from jump street. a consistent plan over time that is not going to wax and wane with political will. you have got to have rolling partners . you cannot have somebody who's going to pull out.
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you cannot have somebody who has one tell in the water. -- toe in the water. this may not be replicable other places. you cannot want success more than the people do. you cannot want success more than the people you're trying to help. you can't do that. i can go on for days about examples. i will leave that bumper sticker there for you. persistence, competent dialogue. greg mortensen wrote a book called three cups of tea. that is incorrect. it is three gallons of tea. socializing all the time is part of it. the discussions before and after operations, when the military side is done, it continues. you are not just going to create a government. you guys got it. it's going to require systems and effort. they have to wanted to. seek out the true spheres of influence. knowing the power brokers are
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key and essential. sometimes they are very hidden. we were challenged culturally understanding those differences and aspects. people who had gone into hiding because they were targets could pull people together when they wanted to. we had to find out what their motivations and incentives were. that was hard. the human mapping of what we do was very difficult. measures of performance, and mr. sopko mentioned this, do not equal measures of success. handing out money as a measure of effectiveness is an incorrect measure. you are not successful. nobody asked for that. you pulled men out of the village during harvest season.
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the road looks great, there are pumpkins rotting in the field. the road to. hell is paved with good intentions sometimes you're dealing with interactive human systems. a system of systems. you cannot predict how this is going to end. you have to be persistent. you can't drop in and leave. not just from a security standpoint, but the be there with the people you are helping to stabilize, your partners have to be the lead. they have to. everything is hard. it's hard all the time. many things are symbols but the simplest things are difficult. persistence pays off. we had a great series of partners. those operations you read about, that first month we were there, nine soldiers i lost, i lost
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another eight between the two operations keeping the district stable. there is a cost to that. memorial day is coming up. there will be a cost. you have to assess and analyze stabilization, the cost of human capital is real capital. you have to ask yourself, how does this end? tamara: thank you. i want to come back to this issue of integrating the military-civilian toolkit and how in washington we set that up for success. i think that's a key policy question for the future. francis, i want to bring this to you now. i know you have been thinking a lot about stabilization. it is something i have been working on with the world bank. one lesson they have taken away from their experience in places
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like iraq is less emphasis on physical infrastructure, more emphasis on human infrastructure. the problem is, they are not well set up to do that sort of work. i think one of the great challenges in these environments is that human terrain is so shaped by conflict. you have a politics and economy of civil war. in afghanistan after decades of civil war in syria after nearly a decade of civil war, this gets entrenched. how do, especially when you are not working for a central government, like the syrian case, how can the united states or other outsiders do this work without reinforcing that warlordism and setting the conditions for conflict relapse as soon as we are gone? are you rewarding the guys who won with the most brutal tactics in their own local areas? they have set up their own systems to sustain themselves in power, and you're saying, i now give you legitimacy with my money and investment.
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you know, and that is a deal that can break apart as soon as our money and investment are not there. >> that is so important, and that is a lesson that comes through with the lease and -- the recent syria experience in this report on the afghan experience. if we are thinking about stabilization, we need to be thinking about a realistic political and state. that's needs to be local and applicable, needs to pertain to the national government. in the outside case is made very clear, the afghan case, we had a transformative almost -- political and state in mind. it was clearly stated, but it had no bearing on the realistic timeline that change would take, the karzai government's willingness to perform, and as you say, local powerbrokers
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willingness to cede responsibility and accountability to the local level. our political desired end state in the afghan case was a real mismatch. in the syrian case we have a different mismatch ongoing on the realistic political and state, very much exacerbated by the economy. in the syrian case, our problem has not been -- our problem has been both we have not had a realistic stated political and state, or a clearly stated and state we're trying to stabilize toward. stabilization programs need to be in service of a broader goal. i would say in the syrian endeavor it has been a remarkable progression of not clearly stated end states.
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in the ears -- early years we had a statement that was not backed up by security choices for many reasons. in that sense, it was not a realistic political end state. in the middle years it became unclear what our programs were stabilizing towards. we had a stated policy of out -- of assad must go. i the same time from the u.s. standpoint, we prioritized the fight against isis. our revealed preference was in that direction. we saw this come through in the confusion on the ground within our stabilization programming at that point. are we empowering local actors, in order to be responsive and advance a post-assad future? are we empowering the factors to enforce a counter-isis objective? tamara: or are we just
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empowering the people who are good at fighting isis? frances: precisely. that begs moral hazards. there was a real line of clarity there. you really need clarity of of objective from every level in order to achieve the impact we want. the effect we want. the current day, stabilization programs are underway still. we have a less clear political end state. there has been from the trump administration a revealed preference for the counter-isis side. former secretary tillerson stated a much more ambitious, going back to the lack of real -- a much more ambitious set of objectives for syria. since his departure, it is unclear what our actual objectives are. meanwhile, we are sending mixed signals. the president himself has called into question our forces in eastern syria, backing up stabilization efforts as well as the actual programming.
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without a realistic political objective, i do not see any way of getting it around these exact challenges you mentioned of confusion and perverse incentives on the ground. tamara: i want to turn to this question of how to build a better effort. i think one of the big issues raised by the report is the insufficient capability on the civilian side. but also the primary recommendation of the report to the executive branch and congress is to compel the state department to take the lead across the area and develop a copperheads if, hold government strategy -- comprehensive, whole government strategy that somebody has got to direct. the capability problem, but also a leadership problem. i was discussing this,
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integrating the toolkit challenge with some colleagues last week, and one of them challenged us to say, what is a successful example of the united states ever fully integrating the toolkit on behalf of a major stabilization mission? i think when we add to that the political role question, a lot of people question whether this is something we can effectively do. i am curious for your thoughts on that. is there a successful mission you would point to and is this something you can't fix merely by developing a strategy, but you need somebody who is given congressional -- congressionally allocated authorities, presidentially invested
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authorities across the interagency to direct that strategy and implemented, not just design it. i think in particular, the effort that was put into play after the fall of the berlin wall, obviously this was a very different circumstance. but congress and the administration mobilized the freedom support act. those new authorities and investments were developed by somebody who had congressional authority and a presidential letter to bring the interagency together. that office still exists in the state department, although i think that with all of those
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original authorities. do we need a stabilization czar? i don't mean that in terms of title, but legal authority as well. vanda, do you want to start? vanda: i guess i'm not fully comfortable with the term -- the example. the crucial reason is because our fundamental problem is not simply the lack of our coworker nation and the illusion of the government approach. i would say the crux of the problem far more is the cross purpose workings of our counterparts. when that was not an issue in germany, the german leadership had a very strong vision of what it wanted to achieve. it had a very strong commitment to integrate east germany. a vast amount of resources, and still, with three decades now past, no level of disparity we would see elsewhere. the crucial problem is not our decisions. there are very big problem. the crucial problem is the
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local. there the was often highly parochial, rather than building an equitable state. we have not developed any roadmap as to how to go about it. we saw in the obama administration, they struggled with it terribly in afghanistan. they would put pressure on karzai. karzai would sabotage and we would pull back. we would constantly be afraid if we lose any kind of conductivity -- connectivity. there have been real limitations with the government and what it had performed. amy, that is the crux of the problem. how do we get our local partners, despite all the rhetoric, the strategy of building local partners, the capacity to embrace the same
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political vision of good governance, inclusion, and equity. the more we build up warlords, the more we hand over military agreement, ironically, the more we are undermining that larger political. tamara: thank you. i take that point. i am not yet going to let go of the question of authorities and washington decision-making. david, let me ask, did you consider as you were developing the recommendations, whether congress might assign these authorities as a slate of? david: -- authorities legislatively? vanda: -- david: this was already established and petered
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out. i think to your issue of, can it work ever, i have not seen any evidence it can. in these specific areas like vietnam, iraq, afghanistan, but the issue of who should be in the lead in the interagency disputes, we recommend the state should be in the lead. the recent review also says they should be in the lead. usa's lead implementing partner and support their efforts. what is on paper is not always what is in practice. it is important to note the regional stabilization strategy was drafted by states. in theory, they were the lead drafter. the reason we are enforcing it again and again is once that strategy made it down the channel to a country, state was in control in kabul and dod was in control outside of kabu -- kabul. the defense department is in charge of determining what stables -- areas need to be stabilized. that is one of the things that
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cause these risks. it comes back to resources. how can we, and sigar recommend that state be in the lead? we are recommending the revival of the civilian response corp. with necessary modifications. no effort could be let on the ground outside of kabul if it was -- if it stood up the data strategy is launched rather than between the continuous operations. we feel it is important to establish these institutions so that we are prepared. the military is accustomed to
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being prepared for the worst between contingencies. state and a are not given the political bandwidth or the resources to do anything between these wars. tamara: from a military perspective, yes, these are inherently political missions. everything you were describing about the work you are doing is politics. local politics. but the military's mission is counterterrorism. the mission that drove us there is counterterrorism. if you look at syria, that's even more prominent in ways that frances was saying. are there ways we can get past that fixation? col. vowell: the short answer is yes. the counterterrorism mission of going after networks in there home areas, that is an aspect. what we were doing was counterinsurgency, the broader application of force in stabilization against insurgents who kept that region so unstable that transnational terrorist groups could have that purchase
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to project their extremism to other places. from a military perspective, there is a role we have to play to enable stabilization to happen. i think the report did a great job identifying what the military was trying to do too much of in the political environment. i saw that at my level. we were the only thing that could get a lot of things done at a tactical level. i don't think state ever reached 1000 officials in country, even during the surge. 120,000 multinational soldiers on the ground in the surge. security -- numbers are going to go toward the resourcing of security.
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we have to get better at that when we plan. how do we keep this strategy over time wherever we are? there was a great description of serious problems. there is no military answer. if we are to find the problem -- is important. you mentioned were has stabilization been successful. it was not fully rebuilding, but kosovo. ongoing mission. there are good aspects, there are things that don't the destabilization model. we have not really done a good stabilization effort since japan. vanda: even bosnia is hardly settled. deeply unsettled elements. tamara: yes, although one must always make these judgments in relative terms.
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good, i want to come back to you on this. frances first. on the issue of integrating toolkit? frances: such a challenge. i agree with david, the review provides a valuable definition of whose lane is hughes -- lane is whose. the state should provide a strategy. the indian support -- that very much tracks with what those agencies would like to do. in most of these environments we have to ask, which part of the state? state is not a unitary actor. as in many bureaucracies we have a breakdown between regional expertise and functional. when you can see the stabilization mission, you have the ambassador who is chief of missions, is he devising strategy? which bureaus are support? the stabilization folks or the regional folks? sometimes there is friction there.
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additionally, from the nsc perspective, having had the functional perspective, i can say the functional person at the nsa does not have the wherewithal to leave his efforts in every country under which we are undertaking stabilization. i think we're making progress things to reports like this and the stabilization assistance or be. -- review. i think it is always going to be challenging. tamara: you made the very worthy point, vanda, that one of the key challenges is persuading the governments of these places to embrace a different model of government that -- seeing the government as a mechanism for patronage and division of spoils is a recipe for continued instability. i guess, number one i want to challenge that a little bit. i think we see cases, lebanon is
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one, where the division of spoils works very effectively to give all of those parties an incentive not to conflict. it is not great in terms of delivering government services. civil society has developed alternative mechanisms to meet its needs, including the patronage system. but it works. is that so bad if you can get to that place? maybe that is ok to get to that place from warlordish division of spoils. the second question is, if you are sitting in front of the afghan political elites, what is the case you make to them that persuades them that shift is
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nepal has got out of the civil war and the country is deeply troubled. the government is absolutely paralyzed and deeply dysfunctional. very potentve a insurgency running on at the same time. the level of frivolity and spoils you can extract and a time throughout this piece is very different than when you have an insurgency burning. nonetheless, to me a crucial inflection point that was missed
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can this province in 2015 fell to the taliban. the taliban look like they were going to take off another province in the north. campingy people readying to go out of the country, everyone was liquefying assets. ultimately with u.s. efforts the taliban was pushed out from kunduz. the taliban was surprised that we were be able -- able to take over kunduz, but this moment there was a moment when the afghan elite was very shook up that the system was finally coming to a crash. that moment was an opportunity
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to say it will all come out it apart unless you start behaving differently. behavior the same behavioral pattern set in. that this inflection point i would identify as probably one of the most distressing ones. the other aspect i would highlight is that the spoils are shrinking in afghanistan to be divided. with the far more limited u.s. presence, the amount of money to be handed out in bags and otherwise is far smaller. the economy is doing better but it is nowhere near what it was in 2010. if you take -- it is not simply
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the taliban that is critically it is everyonepy in afghanistan. including government elites as well as the population. if you get rid of the international money, what is there to divide? my final point is that a crucial problem is that unfortunately in places like afghanistan and pakistan -- it is not just the taliban who owns large amounts of property -- who doesn't? this problem that they can leave and the people cannot that you can play politics thinking it is not going to fall, it is not going to fall over, it is not going to go into the civil war again. , you can bet does
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worried it is your family. comment, we are heading toward a future crisis in afghanistan that will be next year's presidential election. me to open upfor this conversation to all of you. i will follow my bosses lead which is always wise. which is to ask you please to identify yourself briefly before you ask your question. please restrict yourself to one question. you can directed to a specific number or to the panel in general. let's start on the front. please wait for the microphone. >> thank you. i am an afghan american journalists. you have covered so many aspects , it will be hard to keep this question focused.
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i will start with the notion that i heard about afghans having the opportunity to pick up and leave. your commentary really summarized what is the the trouble of what was earlier termed the elephant in the room. i will speak to you as an afghan now. not just as a journalist having watched this whole saga unfold since i was nine years old. when watching the palace being bombed. while the west is on the brink russia, rivalry with while this democracy is trying to survive in the midst of being portrayed at least by your --onents staged to look like we are now in the context of
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afghanistan talking about the close of the situation and you just spelled out that the league could just pick up and leave and parts of the [indiscernible] in the most modern corners of the world in this democracy is well andvalry alive and continues. my question is as this administration makes more clear what is its stance toward afghanistan? very anxious about what will become of their country and with new rivalry is people are even more anxious about what this means. when will the u.s. reduce its involvement there especially
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will we are all talking as experts about how we should handle -- handed the problem over? we are a political system that on our own tends to prioritize the short-term over the long-term. emerging fromsons stemmedersation today from our need for persistence and strategic planning. one, do you think that there is today in the u.s. government having been through these last 15 years, d think there is sufficient will within the government, recognition within the government of the need to keep our hands on the plow in afghanistan? the caseo had we make to the american people that we need to sustain the effort at this stage?
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>> i think that as you say what we have learned from the last 15 years is the need for persistence and predictability. we did see the new strategy come out last august that did lay out a commitment to afghanistan. i did not work on that strategy but that is out there for all to see. i think that is a struggling articulation. i think we need to push on this issue because what we have learned is that we need to instate predictability. it doesn't matter if we have a search for 18 months. calculationsheir based on what they think the
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rules of the game will be. in situations in which they are question,bout that they will hedge and they will board. -- i thinkine stable .e have learned this lesson implementation is always the hard part. maybe the adage is too soon to tell. >> let me make this forward-looking as well. government think onot harder before taking new missions and new places? >> from a military perspective , we are still maintaining a secure environment for the world order.
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it is significant for what we do. did the morehat we it drainshat happens, resources, trains capabilities. that is the cost of doing business. we are constantly engaged. withe entirely engaged people, allies, and partners. that is good. something flares up somewhere else, we have to make decisions. are those decisions reason for the long-term viewer to deal with the 50 meter target right there. i would argue that the armed forces in the u.s. military does not have a good track record of getting the next conflict right. perhaps because we do not have a long-term view sometimes.
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i remember president clinton told us we would be in bosnia for a year, we are still there. there are reasons why that comes at a cost. we have to wait a cost benefit of will we be there longer than anticipated. >> we in undertaking this report, we sought to accomplish we things specifically started realizing these were the two critical objectives. first to raise bright red flags for the enormous investment necessary to even consider making progress with these kinds of environments. so that there would be a one-stop shop a document we can look at 30 years from now when we are considering the next big one. in the event that those
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deliberations unfold the idea is that they can see better principles and can have a better sense of what it would take and whether it is worth it or not to be able to ask that question. is it worth it? even know everything goes well and everything we are able to affect beneficially, there is still uncertainty. when wese risks, if and decide to pursue another long-term stabilization mission like a rock or syria or afghanistan, then the second objective comes into play which is how you go about doing it? what are the boxes you need to check in the best practices? everything from the strategic level of considering the will of the afghan government all the seeing how those
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dominoes fall down to how do you make sureojects to security is not just a collection of one offs. service being provided and continuous engagement with the government. thosee this serves both purposes of a giant red flag for caution as well as if you decide to pursue this, here are some ideas of how to go about it. >> i don't want to throw cold water on the room. i am not persuaded that the white house is as committed to long-term persistence in afghanistan as was announced. i think that the white house was deeply conflicted last summer and there were a lot of tensions in how the decision would be made.
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i see various signs of impatience. as i mentioned we are heading into a difficult situation with the presidential elections that will require a lot of thinking on our side about how do we want to handle that. ofwe want to have a replay 2014 including the u.s. intervention role with all the problems that followed or do we want a prolonged political crisis and what does that mean for u.s. engagement? to the gentleman in the blue tie. i am an active-duty army officer. there seems to be a reoccurring theme for the need to synchronize our redefine the roles of the triad of the usa and the state department and army. what are things that we can do to redefine that to work better
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together? that personal opinion is the military does a good job of collecting lessons learned. as you know we beat ourselves up. the training center is open. techniques?ow the you run through the tape when you prepare for a deployment or for more. specific for afghanistan is stabilization. can, what i see inside the challengesght now is . .he same kinds of threats the military is not running away from the middle east and south asia completely just to focus on
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that. father hisbecause my generation came out of vietnam, we did not do that so well. experiencetake the or regional experiences. we were cracking open the books after 9/11. we were cracking open the books going a while. we have done a better job of doing that and i don't think we are throwing everything out. if you go to the training centers now it is a lot more platform on platform, cyberspace. there is still someone trying to integrate asymmetric threat to your organization. not just decisive action, combat at 3:00 in the morning. -- that a whole network is one of the lessons learned from iraq and afghanistan. i think actually the tactical
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level off in the coordination and integration goes very well. the challenge is then diversion chains of command, many tables to coordinate above that and that can also lead to confusion will,o ill miscommunication. there are also frankly many civilians doing the coordination on each level. there are a lot of organizational challenges that really come before. >> thank you. i teach at a you but i am a franklin fellow in the state department and i'm happy to hear the discussion about the stabilization review. of course they codify a
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particular division of labor the real challenge is going to be now in trying to implement it. that is going to take a lot of time through congress, trying to rebalance the symmetry and the resources and the demands of the state department and the civilian response corps. my point in question is, this inl take a very long time trying to redirect the resources for the division of labor to be effective in our coalition arrangements and everything, in the interim what can be done? andver has been discussion a small exchange of resources from the od to the state department to do some stabilization efforts. for example, we can see if the division of labor happens in our coalition efforts, support
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limitations the u.s. government is limited but other governments do not have those kinds of legal limitations or authorities. what can we do in the interim tactically or specifically what will try to work on the heavy lifting getting congress to give more money etc.. >> how do we do this stopgap work on the civilian side while making the case for bigger civilian capabilities. is there a role that coalition partners can play? >> i think you very well laid out the challenges and interagency effort. moving to the implementation -- i think you always need a proof of concept. i think your idea is to smart smaller is helpful.
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we need to look at aspects in which the division has been tried or is trying. the other thing i think we need in a relatively lower hanging fruit is we need to think of how we monitor and defined success on a was nation. because as we all know metrics drive how we operate in the u.s. government. what i mean by that is that in the stabilization setting in afghanistan in syria and elsewhere, we have edged towards looking at femoral indicators of .uccess we have also gravitated towards anecdotes rather than a more systemic evaluation of how we are doing. i will give you a few examples. in afghanistan, during the height of the search we saw a couple of districts which really turned it around. we would hear about these
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districts constantly. which therereas in was genuine success from a governance stabilization standpoint. the problem was these factors in these areas did not always generalize out the broader effort. last beyond anot couple of rotations. we gravitated towards anecdotes. we looked at a lot at ephemeral indicators. in afghanistan we emphasized tracking local attitudes towards but none ofernments that told us the fundamental -- are wehich is making lasting progress? we have seen a tremendous around -- how areesearch
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these processes working? level, thesear have been meaningful indicators during the stabilization effort but tragically in the syrian case they don't necessarily affect the outcome of the stabilization effort. it is syrian case ultimately military factors that affect whether a local counsel gets to stick around. ifs is all by way of saying we are going to start on the theementation side, bureaucratic soul move backwards from there. >> i will add as someone who ran and assistance program and had to make that case to congress, the development field has moved a long way. it has come a long way.
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that can make a persuasive case. a lot of it does default to the compelling narrative, the great anecdote. that shining example of a provincial governor who is the best partner ever so we can pour lots more money into that place area part of the problem here is what persuades congress. the best social science in the world is not necessarily going to be the story that brings them help on that. case, we oftenn had different comments of the u.s. government persuading conference -- congress in different ways. some of our own bureaucratic exacerbate that. >> i am from insight.
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hard lessons learned. this meetingving at brookings kabul and it were mainly an afghan audience, what do you think their reactions would be to the report? discussed with them had actually gotten feedback? interviews our many interviewed 20 senior afghan officials ranging from ministers to governors to program managers involved in the stabilization effort. their feedback are littered throughout our report. the process of interviewing
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them we socialize are finding with them and they resonate very well. across theprinkled --ernment is representative the u.s. government did not pay enough attention to their , they overestimated their ability to institute reforms and that they capacitytood afghan for willful bad intent. i will give one example. in a 2010 program, it was meant to be the program that deployed civil servants to the districts so that they could then have people better supervised services necessary to stabilize the districts. it was a core component for stabilization. over time, there was a hand receipt progress -- process that meant that when a district
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official needed to buy a table for the office, the receipt for that was hand receipted and was not distributed and took time to get it to kabul. as these hand receipt processes built up, there was a $700,000 shortfall and it was interpreted as misallocation of of funds. this is one example and is probably the most egregious of poorterpreting for capacity for willful corruption. it is difficult for foreigners coming into a country to discern capacity for corruption. this was one of the casualties in that battle. think that points
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-- did youicant gap want to chime in? we only have a few minutes left and i see a lot of hands. i will try to collect a few questions and come back to our panel. -- >> gw law school. kabuled for state embassy as the government's policy cheap. my question is directed to david. what can be called an operational question not strategic or tactical.
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chapter five of the report provides an excellent case study of a few of the key challenges we face with stabilization. first the initial focus on focusing government -- leg levels of governance mainly districts that were not sustainable in the medium-term. problem ofe bureaucratic inertia that prevented all of the different parts of the u.s. effort civilian effort and military effort from focusing on it. my question is is the difficulty in making a clear and coherent policy decision on what is a pretty straightforward question whether we should be focusing
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our governance efforts at the district level or at the provincial level which has giant implications as the difficulty in making a coherent decision like that is an argument against stabilization as a whole or is there something more that can be done to strengthen our ability to make coherent policy decisions like that. >> hang on to that question, we will collect a few more on this side. >> i am with the dod ig's office. you mentioned in syria the evolving end state and how that affects what you are stabilizing toward. what is the end state in afghanistan? what is being stabilized towards? is it realistic, how do you walk back the promises and
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expectations that are unrealistic and unachievable? >> thank you. >> i am from the afghan chamber of commerce. also the international stability operation. the contractors who work to support these missions and you want an ear full, sit down with a contractor and you'll find out a lot of the problems but going back to what the colonel mentioned in vietnam and the courts program and we did have a stabilization czar if you will there in bob who controlled, i wonder if that could be repeated because in many ways, it was successful? >> thank you, and let's take one more on the aisle here. >> thank you. my name is edward. i am a retired former vice president at the world bank group. i know nothing at all about and afghanistan, but the lessons i heard this morning sound very
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logical, rational, very sensible. i wouldn't be surprised if i had heard them 10 years ago. 12 years ago. i am very surprised that i am hearing these lessons in year 15, 16, or 17. that is really surprising. what comes through to me is nothing but a terribly complicated situation is something must be terribly wrong to be listening to these lessons in 16 and 17. my question is, if you had one or two things that you want done so that we don't have these lessons in five years time, what should they be? >> ok. that is a fantastic question to end on. i am actually going to go straight down the line and let david take that at the end. i think that will be a great note to wrap us up. >> one comment about the end
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state in afghanistan. i don't believe we have defined the end state. i don't think it has been defined. there was an announcement that there are no timelines, that the process of u.s. engagement will be condition-based. with very little articulation of what conditions were. in fact, president trump made during the announcement made many statements to the effect, we will not tell the afghans how to run their state, we don't care about the politics, our goal is to degrade the taliban. which were notions that both the george w. bush administration and obama administration flipped back and forth frequently. does stabilization require credible governance or is it enough to kill enough of the terrorists and taliban? subsequently, after the president's comments, many top u.s. officials were walking them back and re-emphasizing the need
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for good governance and emphasizing the need for politics. nonetheless, the message was heard loud and clear in afghanistan and still has consequences with us today. also, we have been flirting back and forth all the time on what is the importance of the taliban being part of the negotiations? in recent months, we have gone back and forth on, is the purpose of the military effort in afghanistan to drive the taliban into negotiations. ? the president and various government officials have made quite contradictory statements. the taliban itself is making very contradictory statements. my take is that our strategy in afghanistan is essentially waiting for the taliban to make mistakes. we're holding the bag. if we go out, full-scale civil war takes place. however, we don't really have a
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strategy to break out of it, so we are holding and hoping that over time, the taliban will make enough mistakes. that is not impossible. militant groups do themselves in. they do make mistakes. critical mistakes were made in colombia at the height of power. those mistakes alone are not sufficient without critical changes taking place on the part of the colombian state, but nonetheless, the mistakes were crucial. nonetheless, we are in this mode . what would shake up the mode is what happens to the political situation after the presidential elections next year. >> thank you. >> on the stabilization theme, i czar. i do think there is a role, it could be a more powered special
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representative or something like that but the challenge you will , run into strategically is you have 50 nations involved, particularly in afghanistan. there is an international multinational component, a nato command component to it in the foreseeable future. you want that. to have one person integrate that is a supreme challenge, the way we set up this byzantine architecture to bring in alliances, and it has evolved over time and particularly in afghanistan. that alone is a challenge for one person to pull together, but i think in concept, absolutely. what was done in vietnam with the courts program was to set stabilization zones throughout the country. a lot of the same problems. sanctuaries in laos and cambodia, sanctuaries in afghanistan. a lot of the same problems. a bunch of support from outside agencies and the compliant population, but until we can control some of those outside factors, stabilization will take longer.
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it will take a lot longer kind. it is an open dynamic, human-based system of systems. fundamentally, someone could as long as the administration and the congress gives them the power, him or her the capabilities to pull that together. i would be rationally optimistic that you would get a better synchronize approach because that person has been empowered to do so. >> thank you. frances: thank you for the question on focus on district level, why the focus and what could we have done to alter that? in my view the focus on the , district level came from an analytic proposition, which was that afghans encounter their government mostly at the local level, helping the government be more responsive and accountable at the local level will undermine the driving factors of the insurgency. also, our focus on the district level came from a romantic notion that things were simpler on the local level. things were more traditional on the local level.
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recapture did not happen on the local level. i think those didn't hold up and that perpetuated some of the reasons. as you rightly point out, the right focus would have been at the middle level of government. getting the provinces right first. there are 34 of them, there are almost 400 district. getting that level first would have been a much better way to go. why couldn't we correct in midcourse? this comes back to bureaucracy. i am glad it got brought up in reference to vietnam. i wrote a piece on afghanistan called "bureaucracy does its thing again" because i think a lot of our inability to course correct when many sharp people around government were pointing and outside of it were pointing out had to do with our own bureaucratic structures. i think there is a lot there. in terms of what lessons, we keep returning to the lessons in what should we take away?
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2018. a key recommendation of mine is do read the report. when i think about the syria context in relation to the report in afghanistan, i am struck by the fact that these are really different paradigms. these are different conflicts. the afghanistan conflict was a stabilization campaign under a counterinsurgency logic. we were extending the legitimacy of the government. these serious stabilization effort is a counter-counterinsurgency effort. we are extending the legitimacy of the opposition. in the afghan case, there is a binary logic. government versus insurgency and in syria, we have a quadrilateral logic or pentagonal logic. we've got the outside government the assad government with armed extremist groups, we want to marginalize the iranians and the russians. it is a more complex dynamic and
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yes, for all those differences between the two conflicts, what i take away from this report is that huge similarities within our own ability as the u.s. government to address these efforts. i think in that sense, our best lesson is to focus a little more on our own organization and our own bureaucratics and read the report. >> ok. with that, we will turn to david . discussed, hewas has been there since the get-go and this is not the first report. this is one that is getting a lot of attention for reasons i think frances highlighted. what can you say about the sequencing of this particular report in the realm of the work and how we think about getting the lessons we need early in the process? david: getting the lessons early, a lot of lessons were coming out early on and we document them.
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part of that problem was -- the problem with learning lessons early on is the nature of the war changed so much that any lesson you might want to impose on the effort became moot shortly thereafter because of new strategies, new agendas, new campaigns, taliban researched, etc. i also wanted to touch, regarding stabilization's role with sigar, we think it is auspicious this report coming out now because of the issues being discussed regarding syria and u.s. government's new concerted effort to delineate roles regarding stabilization. it allows us as we see it hopefully to be able to provide an enormous case study of what implementing stabilization looks like at a large scale while the assistance review can provide the small-scale scope and the beginnings of a small-scale stabilization focus.
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it provides that balance. a couple of other things on what jeremiah had said, if i could finish within those. for those of you who haven't gotten chapter five yet, the provincial level was often bypassed in terms of on budget assistance. there is a couple of interesting reasons for that. as francis mentioned, the district level became the focus but the district themselves only , had $15 to $20 monthly budgets and it was completely unrealistic to try and push on budget assistance down to the district level. one of the most difficult issues with doing that was that according to senior officials we spoke to, the best part about pushing resources down to the district level was it enabled the government to bypass the political entrenchment at the provincial and national levels
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and while understandable, , bypassing the issues where all of the obstructions are happening is exactly the wrong way to go about it. if in fact those obstructions are where the most reform is necessary. there were many examples of this throughout the campaign of working around afghan government structure problems to accommodate whatever priorities were on our plate on that given day. >> david, thank you. i want to thank you for bringing the report to us today, for giving us the opportunity for what i think was a fantastic conversation. folks, i hope you will join me in thanking our fantastic panel. [applause] >> to be continued, thank you very much.
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[indiscernible] tonight on c-span, activist and musician bono sitting down for a conversation with george w. bush about fighting aids around the globe. , we havehappens learned lots of things. as an irish person, sometimes i find it difficult the way some people are very verbal about their faith. i people, it was quite a private thing. into bytry was torn religion. we keep that to ourselves. but i do remember speaking about this disease in those terms.
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we talked about leprosy because it was the untouchable. that is why it was so powerful. when your mother and barbara bush hugged that child and then the man who challenged her, the older adult aids sufferer. the domestic a problem here in the u.s., stigma was a killer, and so you were born of an aids activist, sir, and you became one, and i was thinking today, barbara bush, mother in a strange way. >> you can see this entire conversation with bono and president bush tonight on c-span starting at 8:00 eastern. up this weekend on c-span, facebook founder and ceo mark zuckerberg testify before the european parliament on his company's efforts to protect the personal data of facebook users.
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you can see that tomorrow at 10 a.m. eastern here on c-span. tomorrow night, georgetown university professor michael new york times columnist michelle glover, actor stephen fry, a clinical psychologist jordan peterson debate political correctness at the biannual debate in toronto. that begins at 930 eastern saturday on c-span. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies, and today, we continue to bring you -- filter converge unfiltered coverage of congress or the white house, the supreme court, and events in washington, d.c. and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. >>

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