Thursday, February 19, 2009

Is DOD making a play against State's Civilian Response Corps? - DoDD 1404.10

Deputy Secretary Gordon England signed off on DoDD 1404.10 on January 23rd, just after inauguration. It establishes a DOD Civilian Expeditionary Workforce (CEW) that sounds a whole lot like State's Civilian Response Corps (CRC), run by the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization.

Couple relevant questions:

1) Will S/CRS have any authority over the CEW per NSPD-44?

2) Will CRC and CEW be poaching one another's personnel and missions? Or will those personnel become dual hatted?

3) Does the issuance of the directive shortly after inauguration indicate the Obama Administration's preference for a capability that could stand up more rapidly than it's State counterpart?

4) Will CEW be strictly "out of hide," or will new personnel be hired not only to manage it, but also fill capability gaps (e.g. agriculture, urban planning)?

On the first two my bet DOD's preference will win out, and bureaucracies prefer autonomy. Yes they want capable civilian partners, but under uncertainty they'll likely take an in-house capability, especially if they can foist it on DOD civilians instead of uniformed military.

On the third point, the instincts of Pres. Obama, VP Biden, and Sec. Clinton almost certainly lead to a preference for increased capability in State, USAID, etc. - but you can also imagine a decision being made to just get it done. (S/CRS promises to have a capability stood up this year undermining the latter point.)

Ultimately I can't imagine the Administration giving something like this any attention on January 23rd. This has got to be a pure DOD initiative. Perhaps waiting till after inauguration was a tactic to get past NSPD-44 before the new Administration took ownership of the policy.

I am a huge fan of Secretary Gates. It sometimes seems there's no vital reform he isn't addressing. Certainly he was a better advocate for the State Department than Sec. Rice. In itself DoDD 1404.10 is absolutely the direction DOD needs to go - but how this Civilian Expeditionary Workforce interfaces with S/CRS and the CRC will be a genuine litmus test for Sec. Gates's support of increased civilian capacity outside the DOD.

Because Congress won't fund redundant capabilities.

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