Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-1) today questioned officials from the Department of Defense (DoD) on current and future plans for training and equipping Afghan National Security Forces as the United States looks ahead to 2014, when U.S./NATO combat forces are scheduled to depart Afghanistan. Wittman, Chairman of the House Armed Services Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, chaired a hearing on "Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF): Resources, Strategy, and Timetable for Security Lead Transition," following his return from a trip to Afghanistan last week.
"Today the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee convened the first of a series of hearings related to the Afghan National Security Forces as we look critically at the coming transition of forces in Afghanistan," Wittman said. "Today's hearing was a great opportunity to hear from DoD officials on their plans for training and equipping the ANSF to lead security in their country, as our U.S. and NATO troops are scheduled to depart at the end of 2014.
"We want our men and women of the Armed Forces who have served and continue to serve in Afghanistan home as soon as possible. They also deserve the continued commitment of this country's leadership, including the Congress, to oversee a transition that does not put in jeopardy the gains they have made. I look forward to continuing the discussion on this critical national security issue."
The hearing confirmed the importance of accurate assessments of ANSF performance in ensuring the ANSF is able to assume security lead and allow for U.S. force drawdowns. The hearing also made clear that future events and conditions on the ground might force some current transition plans to be altered.
During the hearing, Wittman cited his recent conversations with leaders in Afghanistan, addressing his recent trip to the country: "I have just returned from leading a Congressional trip to Afghanistan. During my visit, I traveled to several provinces and met with local leaders, including the chiefs of police. I also had the opportunity to talk to military commanders, who provided their impressions of the level of support that will be needed to create a self-sustaining ANSF."