The Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee met today for a hearing on Afghan National Security Forces: Afghan Corruption and the Development of an Effective Fighting Force. Chairman Rob Wittman made the following statement available as prepared for delivery:
Today the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee convenes the fifth and final hearing in our series related to the Afghan National Security Forces.
This afternoon we have before us a panel of experts to provide testimony about how corruption in Afghanistan might impede the development of that nation's security forces.
Corruption could prevent army and police units from successfully assuming responsibility for securing Afghanistan from internal and external threats after 2014. Corruption also potentially reduces the operational effectiveness of security forces and jeopardizes their legitimacy with the population.
In order for the United States to achieve its strategic goal of denying terrorists safe haven in Afghanistan, it is essential that Afghan forces be capable of maintaining security and stability after transition is complete in 2014. Our purpose today is not to undertake a comprehensive assessment of corruption in the region, but instead to narrowly focus on how corruption affects the development of an effective Afghan army and police.
Our panel today includes:
- Retired Lieutenant General James M. Dubik, Senior Fellow at the Institute for the Study of War;
- Dr. Vanda Felbab-Brown, a Foreign Policy Studies Fellow at the Brookings Institution; and
- Dr. Kenneth Katzman, Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs at the Congressional Research Service.
Thank you for your participation. We look forward to your testimony.
I note that all Members have received your full written testimony. It will also be entered into the record as submitted. Therefore, this afternoon I ask that you summarize your comments and highlight the significant points to allow Members greater time to pose questions and ask for additional information.
This hearing marks the conclusion of a seven week effort overseeing the development of the Afghan National Security Forces and the timetable to withdraw U.S. combat troops and cede security responsibility to Afghan units.
The subcommittee has held five hearings and received one classified briefing on the topic. In addition to our three panelists today, we have heard from sixteen other witnesses. Among other topics, these specialists have assessed the president's declared strategy and drawdown schedule, and the method by which the United States and its allies train Afghan forces and measure the results.
The subcommittee has also taken testimony from historians who reflected upon applicable lessons from earlier cases in which indigenous forces assumed security responsibility from withdrawing allies.
Like the remarks we will hear today, the briefing statements and testimony have informed subcommittee members about the situation in Afghanistan, and they equip us to consider how the United States should proceed.