The Department of Defense provided to Congress today the April 2014 “Report on Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan,” a report to Congress in accordance with Section 1230 and 1231 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2008 (Public Law 110-181), as amended; to include section 1221 of the NDAA for FY 2012 (Public Law 112-81); and sections 1212, 1223, and 1531(d) of the NDAA for FY 2013 (Public Law 112-239).
During the reporting period, Afghan security forces sustained the gains they made in the 2013 fighting season and successfully secured the presidential and provincial council elections on April 5, 2014. The Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and Afghan election institutions laid the groundwork for a successful election, registering millions of voters and securing thousands of polling sites, with minimal international assistance.
“The performance of Afghan security forces on election day stands as testament to their growing ability to provide stability and protect their fellow citizens, they’ve come a long way,” said Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby.
Although the ANSF continues to make progress, four key high-end capability gaps will remain after the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission ends on Dec. 31, 2014: air support; intelligence enterprise; special operations; and Afghan security ministry capacity. International funding and coalition force assistance will be critical to sustaining the force going forward.
While the Taliban retained influence in parts of the country and maintained their ability to carry out attacks, the nature of these attacks – which frequently target civilians indiscriminately – highlight the differences between the current situation and that which allowed the Taliban to come to power originally. “Even as the Taliban retain the ability to carry out attacks, they do so at the expense of any claim to significant popular support,” said Kirby.
The report is posted at http://www.defense.gov/pubs/April_1230_Report_Final.pdf
Today’s shooting was a terrible tragedy for the Fort Hood community, the Department of Defense, and for the nation. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. And my sympathies go out to this strong and resilient community, which has experienced this kind of senseless violence all too recently.
There is nothing more important to us as an institution than the safety and well-being of our people, and for that reason I am grateful to all the first responders who rushed to the scene. We will closely monitor the situation at Fort Hood and stay informed by what investigators and law enforcement personnel learn about the shooting.
DOD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Spc. Christopher A. Landis, 27, of Independence, Ky., died Feb. 10, on Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, from wounds received when the enemy attacked his dismounted patrol with a rocket propelled grenade in Kapisa Province, Afghanistan.
He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C.
For more information, media may contact the U.S. Army Special Forces Command public affairs office during duty hours at 910-908-3947 or after duty hours at 910-689-6187.
The Department of Defense announced today the results of the first review conducted under Executive Order 13567 by the periodic review board (PRB) for Guantanamo detainee Mahmud Abd Al Aziz Al Mujahid.
By consensus, the PRB members found that continued law of war detention is no longer necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the United States and that Mujahid is therefore eligible for transfer subject to appropriate security and humane treatment conditions.
In accordance with the executive order, the PRB recommended conditions relating to Mujahid’s transfer. These conditions are consistent with those imposed for the transfer of other Yemeni nationals who are currently in the “conditional detention” category – specifically, that the security situation improves in Yemen, that an appropriate rehabilitation program becomes available, or that an appropriate third country resettlement option becomes available.
In March 2011, the president directed the Department of Defense to establish the PRB process to review whether continued detention of certain detainees held at Guantanamo Bay remains necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to U.S. national security. The PRB process is a discretionary, administrative interagency process intended to assist the executive branch in making informed decisions as to whether detainees held at Guantanamo Bay should remain in law of war detention. The PRB process expands upon many of the features of previous review processes.
More information about the PRB process, as well as unclassified information regarding the review of Mujahid’s detention has been posted to the Periodic Review Secretariat website at: www.prs.mil. Additional information regarding Mujahid’s review, along with information regarding future reviews, will also be posted to the website.
The Department of Defense announced today two community economic adjustment grants from the Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA).
The East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission was awarded an $837,315 grant to assist the region’s response to the loss of 1,200 positions at the Oshkosh Corporation‘s Defense Division. These federal funds are part of a larger $937,316 project to: align local economic development plans and update them with diversification strategies; promote the growth of new and existing businesses in targeted industries through workforce and supply chain initiatives; map the regional defense industry supply chain; and, provide technical assistance to Oshkosh suppliers and affected workers.
Workforce Solutions Northeast Texas was awarded a $456,722 grant to respond to the reduction of 1,225 civilian employees at the Red River Army Depot. These federal funds are part of a larger $517,469 project to study reemployment opportunities for the displaced workforce, identify the region’s comparative advantages, and develop opportunities to diversify local economic activity.
These grants are awarded under OEA’s Defense Industry Adjustment Program to assist states and communities that have been significantly impacted by reductions or cancellations in DoD spending. States and communities can request OEA assistance to: organize representatives to respond on behalf of affected communities, workers, and businesses; plan local community and economic adjustment activities to lessen local economic impacts; and, carry-out plans to replace lost economic activity. OEA project managers work with impacted areas to coordinate a broader program of assistance from across the federal government when necessary. Strategic regional initiatives will leverage cutting edge skills and technology to attract new investments, helping to preserve industrial base capacity even as DoD spending declines. Proposals are considered for funding on a rolling basis, subject to the availability of appropriations.
United States Department of Defense (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Further information about this program may be found on OEA’s web site at www.oea.gov