By CNN Senior National Security Producer Charley Keyes
A new report released Monday raises fresh doubts about the success of a key element of U.S. policy in Afghanistan: Beefing up the local security forces as American troops withdraw.
And the problems are completely divorced from the ongoing military challenge of the fighting between U.S. forces and Afghanistan insurgents.
Instead the culprit is poor coordination, planning and communication inside the U.S. government, between the departments of State and Defense.
The inspectors general of both departments focused on the difficulty of switching control of police training from State to Defense. "DoD and DOS officials did not conduct sufficient planning to include developing a comprehensive transition plan or a memorandum of agreement to guide, monitor, and assign transition responsibilities," the report said. "Instead, DoD and DOS officials relied on independently developed contractor transition-in and demobilization plans, some of which were not feasible and did not address inherently governmental tasks."
And the private contractor, according to the report, was denied sufficient information to achieve a smooth transition. "DoD and DOS had no guidance for planning the transfer of contract administration responsibilities from one agency to another, which contributed to contractor schedule delays. Specifically, the Departments lacked guidance for planning or conducting complex transition-related activities," the report said.
Too few employees were in place to ensure the training program could proceed.
"The incoming contractor did not have 428 of the 728 required trainer and mentor positions in place," the report continues. "Field police units and Afghan training command were not receiving the mentoring essential to developing a self-sustainable Afghan Government and Police Force."
And the lack of planning extended to how to oversee weapons and security clearances for the police training.
This is the second of a series of reports on training Afghanistan security forces and the latest volley in ongoing official U.S. scrutiny of how billions of American taxpayer dollars could have been better used. An April report from the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said that despite $1.5 billion for investment and training of Afghanistan police, much of it provided by the U.S., it was still impossible to say how many police were on the job or whether the right people were being paid.
Other reports have questioned whether the Afghanistan government will be able to maintain and sustain police training facilities and other major projects once the U.S. military departs.