Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"Civilian Surge"

There's a good article on ForeignPolicy.com about the desperate need for more civilian aid workers in Afghanistan and Iraq and across the globe in Embassies. Current hiring of Foreign Service Officers is barely keeping up with attrition in the State Dept and USAID. Many embassies are understaffed, and effective COIN in Afghanistan certainly needs civilian effort as well as military. Secretaries Clinton and Gates both understand this need, but have been unable to get the funding to drastically increase FSO hiring.

I'll admit I have a dog in this fight, since I applied for the Foreign Service and didn't get in. (What's a QEP, anyway?) Come on, increase those hiring numbers, I would love to work for the State Dept or USAID!

And, of course, I can't help but criticize congress about this (like everything). Congress seems to be concerned about cost (and the deficit) only on programs that don't directly benefit their districts. These same projects, however, are often far more important to the health of the country as a whole than the projects they fight tooth and nail to protect. (Corn ethanol bullshit subsidies, anyone?) Ladies and gentlemen: your representative democracy.

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