Anti-corruption programs established to combat graft and fiscal malfeasance in Afghanistan are struggling with a daunting mission. Sparsely resourced, US military and civilian groups battle malign networks that connect distracted American officials, for-profit corporations, predatory Afghan insiders and the Taliban in a toxic system so pervasive that American taxpayers are funding both sides of the war. Keep reading →

AFGHANISTAN: International Special Operations Forces play an important but largely unheralded role in Afghanistan. American Army Rangers, Green Berets and Delta Force, along with Navy SEALs and Air Force specialists work with the best from Britain, Australia, New Zealand and a host of other allied nations to kill and capture insurgents and terrorists. They also train Afghan militia, police and soldiers.

Combined Special Operations Task Force 10, part of ISAF Special Operations Forces (one of several Special Forces commands in Afghanistan) includes troops from Romania, Hungary and Slovakia — among others — and trains Provincial Response Companies, little-known, high-end police units belonging to the Afghan Ministry of Interior. Keep reading →

Reaping the Benefits of a Global Defense Industry

Greg Sanders CSIS photo

  As the Defense Department’s budget goes down, the number of contracts awarded without competitive bids is going up. The share of contracts awarded without competition has risen from 39 percent in 2009 to 42 percent in 2012, according to a report I co-authored with Jesse Ellman and Rhys McCormick on DoD Contracting Trends. The news for… Keep reading →

Since many of our readers are thinktank experts or Pentagon officials who will be thinktank experts in 18 months or so (length of average stay — not when next election occurs) we thought the following item could be highly useful. At least, we will all get a chuckle out of it. We live to serve. Note: we don’t know who wrote this — and if we did, we probably wouldn’t tell you! It came in over the email transom.

“How to be an Afghan Expert (and/or enjoy a think tank sinecure along the way)” Keep reading →