Statement of Subcommittee Chairman Vic Snyder Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Hearing on "Provincial Reconstruction Teams: A Case for National Security Reform?"
February 14, 2008
"The hearing will come to order.
"Good afternoon, and welcome to the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations' hearing to discuss the case for national security reform based on our examination of the Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Afghanistan and Iraq as a study on interagency planning and operations. This is a companion hearing to the hearing we had on January 29th with outside witnesses.
"We've received testimony from numerous witnesses regarding our experience with PRTs and we've heard about their "tactical" successes and shortcomings. Many times the drawbacks we've seen can be traced back to weaknesses in the interagency process at the 'operational' and 'strategic' levels.
"As the subcommittee broadened its focus to the larger interagency context of developing a 'whole of government' planning and operational capability for stabilization and reconstruction operations, the weaknesses, such as the need for a robust interagency planning process and the ability to deploy trained personnel with the appropriate technical skills as needed, have become more evident.
"Secretary Gates has been speaking publicly about this issue and he puts it this way: 'Looking forward, bureaucratic barriers that hamper effective action should be rethought and reformed. The disparate strands of our national security apparatus, civilian and military, should be prepared ahead of time to deploy and operate together.'
"The intent of this hearing is to receive testimony from our government witnesses on how to rethink and reform those bureaucratic structures to support effective action.
"The subcommittee has heard a lot about the lack of civilian capacity, and, in a sense, we're experiencing that here today because, while we very much appreciate the participation of our State Department witness and look forward to his testimony, the State Department was unable to provide a senior witness who can authoritatively address these policy issues from a departmental perspective.
"We are joined today by:
"After Mr. Akin's opening remarks, I'll turn to each of you for a brief opening statement. Your prepared statements will be made part of the record.
"We will use our customary five-minute rule today by seniority and arrival time. Let me turn it over to our ranking member, Mr. Akin."
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