News: RC-East, USAID leaders plan future Afghanistan development
Story by Spc. Nathan Hutchison
By Spc. Nathan W. Hutchison
22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - The leaders of Regional Command-East and United States Agency International Development met, March 6, in order to bridge the information gap between the two groups.
"USAID is an independent agency within the structure of the state department," said Leon Waskin, mission director, USAID in Afghanistan. "We create a sustainable environment for development and reconstruction for development."
Waskin said they accomplish this mission by following several strategic objectives including economic growth, democracy, governance, education and health.
"We could not do our work without the full support and cooperation we've enjoyed from the military," he said.
USAID has been in Afghanistan since 2001, and has worked along-side and in close collaboration with the military during that time.
"Our president has made it clear that reconstruction and development in Afghanistan is one of the keys to long-term success, and likewise, it is a priority of ISAF," said Army Brig. Gen. Rodney Anderson, deputy commanding general, RC-East.
"We are partnering with the USAID and other elements that have a role in construction and development to advance all our goals here in Afghanistan," Anderson said.
"Previous rotations have been more focused solely on defeating the enemy," said Army Lt. Col. John Strandberg, civil military operations, RC-East. "Bullets aren't going to win the war for us."
RC-East is much more committed to the non-lethal efforts involved in a counter-insurgency fight like we're in here, Strandberg said.
"We can't achieve what we want to achieve here in Afghanistan without the collaboration of RC-East and I'm very grateful to General Anderson for helping launch that process," Waskin said.
"The experience of USAID in reconstruction and development is essential for us to make wise choices in how we commit our resources, and today's conference has done much to advance the communication, coordination and collaboration of our various programs, projects and policies," Anderson said.
"I think we've put in place today, thanks to General Anderson and his team, a process of collaboration that's going to continue to progress in the months to come," Waskin said.
This commitment, after less than two months in command, is just another example of RC-East's dedication to going above and beyond the expectations of the Army.