In Lieu of Secretary Lew’s Remarks on Civilian Resources

December 10, 2009 By Jordan Smith

Speaking before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Jacob Lew made important points about the civilian components of the war in Afghanistan.

For truly sustainable progress, our troop increase must be matched by a stronger civilian effort and additional foreign assistance. We are working with OMB to ensure that our civilian programs are fully resourced, and we will work with the Congress to ensure that our funding levels match the requirements identified in the President’s strategy.

Secretary Lew pointed out that the civilian agencies will outlast their military counterparts, which makes them doubly important:

The State Department, USAID, USDA and other civilian agencies are working with our Afghan partners to bolster institutions at every level so that they are ready to take more responsibility when our combat troops begin to depart. The President’s timeframe for transition to Afghan responsibility gives the Afghan government and President Karzai a sense of urgency in making necessary reforms. Better governance and stronger institutions will enable the Afghans to guarantee their own long-term welfare and security when our combat troops begin to depart. Our civilian effort will continue long after our combat forces have begun to draw down, as a key part of our enduring commitment to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the region.