- By Josh Rogin
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C.
When Anthony Cordesman puts out a report on the military, the Washington community takes notice. His research shop inside the Center for Strategic and International Studies has a reputation for producing exhaustive reports on the defense department, the military, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that are as well sourced as they are blunt.
Cordesman’s latest product, released today by CSIS, is an unvarnished and sober look at the progress of the Afghan National Security Forces, the key organization that will have to take over control of large swaths of Afghanistan when U.S. troops begin to withdraw next summer. According to Cordesman, their capability to do so is in serious question.
"President Obama‘s new strategy for Afghanistan is critically dependent upon the transfer of security responsibility to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). His speech announcing this strategy called for the transfer to begin in mid-2011. However, creating the Afghan force needed to bring security and stability to the region is a far more difficult challenge than man realize and poses major challenges that will endure long after 2011," the report states.
"There is a significant probability that the ANSF will not be ready for any significant transfer of responsibility until well after 2011," Cordesman writes, adding that speeding up the expansion of the Afghan forces is a bad option because it risks building a force that is not up to the task.
"America‘s politicians, policymakers, and military leaders must accept this reality-and persuade the Afghan government and our allies to act accordingly-or the mission in Afghanistan cannot succeed."
The report laments eight years of failed policy regarding how the United States approached the training and development of Afghanistan’s military. It blames senior leaders in Washington and pleads with them not to underestimate the scope of the problem or paper over it with false hope.
"The war will be lost if the U.S., our allies, and ISAF do not learn and act upon these lessons," Cordesman wrote. "It will be lost if efforts to meet political deadlines try to rush ANSF development beyond what is possible, or in ways that do not create strong, growing cadres and forces to take over responsibility for security."
You can read the entire 250-page volume here.