Deputy Secretary Lew today visited Atterbury-Muscatatuck Center for Press Roundtable in Indiana.
At the Press Roundtable, Mr. Lew said the training they are watching today tell the story of the civilian program in Afghanistan.
“It really underscores the importance of having our team, our civilian and military team, working together, going out prepared with the right skills, so that as – we’re fond of saying that we have the right people in the right place at the right time.” -Mr. Lew
He said it is important to recognize that it is a new approach to training. He said the traditional approach to training was the military trained the military and civilians trained civilians. He added this is truly a joint venture.
“This is military-civilian cooperation beginning with the training and the preparation so that when our folks go out and when they’re going to be living together and working together, they know what that’s going to look like. They can’t be prepared for every situation, but they can be prepared for many kinds of situations.” -Mr. Lew
He cited that there’s really two aspects to the training. One is the training for civilians to work in a military setting, which many of the PRTs and the forward-operating bases are. And there’s also training to work in an environment that is uniquely challenging, as the Afghan environment is.
He stated that they have started with 320 civilians on the ground at the beginning of the year, and they are on track to fill 974 positions. He said they will be adding, as they need additional civilian personnel.
“The question I know is on everyone’s mind with the strategic review, on the military side: What does that mean in terms of civilians? It’s important to remember the civilians don’t deploy in battalions. We deploy civilians one by one. We recruit people to fill specific positions, and the numbers will never be exactly parallel to the kinds of numbers that military deployments involve.” -Mr. Lew