Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Pentagon to Fill Iraq Reconstruction Jobs Temporarily

In testimony to Congress about Rice's plan, Defense Secretary Gates said, "If you were troubled by the memo, that was mild compared to my reaction when I saw it... It is illustrative of the difficulty of getting other agencies to provide people on a timely basis."

WASHINGTON, Feb. 19 — The Pentagon and State Department have worked out a deal to send a small number of military personnel and Defense Department civilians to Iraq for several months until Foreign Service officers and State Department contract workers with specialized skills can fill those jobs, senior officials said Monday.

The internal administration discussions over filling the posts had exposed tensions between the military and civilian agencies over how to share responsibilities in carrying out President Bush’s new strategy for stabilizing and rebuilding Iraq — in particular, how to fill hazardous positions in new provincial reconstruction teams.

The State Department had asked the Pentagon to come up with military personnel or civilians to fill about one-third of the 350 new State Department jobs in Iraq. While the numbers involved are relatively small, the debate raised larger issues of whether the government was properly organized to carry out a long-term occupation of a country like Iraq.

Read the rest at the NY Times

Related Link:
Analysis: Few Veteran Diplomats Accept Mission to Iraq

Related Link:
Rice: Military Reservists to be used in place of State professionals in Iraq