Thursday, February 08, 2007

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

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."

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told Congress yesterday that more than 40 percent of nearly 300 State Department positions to be added in Iraq as part of President Bush's new strategy will have to be filled by military personnel.

"Frankly, the agencies of the U.S. government cannot fill that many posts" as quickly as necessary, Rice said at a hearing of the House Foreign Relations Committee yesterday morning. "And so our agreement with the Department of Defense was that for a period of time . . . we would actually use reservists to fill those positions."

The State Department has asked the Pentagon for 129 people to fill slots in "business development, agribusiness, medicine, city management" and other areas for 10 new provincial reconstruction teams (PRTs), according to David Satterfield, Rice's coordinator for Iraq, who spoke to reporters in an afternoon briefing.

Read the rest at the Washington Post