ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: I’ve got to tell you, I left Basrah with a sense of some optimism that this program is actually going to work. You, of all people, I suspect are aware of where things were in Basrah only a few short years ago, and if you take that as your starting point and then assess where we are now – which I was able to do yesterday, tooling around Basrah – I think it’s an indicator of a hell of a lot of progress. I am not trying to downplay, minimize, or ignore the continuing challenges in Basrah or anywhere else in Iraq. I urge everyone, my own team as much as you, to try to keep in mind and compare where we are today compared to where we were as little as five or so years ago.
After I was in Venezuela, I was in Colombia, thank you very much, and I often found myself making exactly that point during my three years in Colombia when people would point correctly, wisely, intelligently to problems that they still were encountering – violence, security, human rights, and a number of other absolutely legitimate points. But from time-to-time, I would urge people to pause, take a deep breath, jump into the way-back machine with Mr. Peabody, and imagine where you were ten or twelve years ago. Then ask me if that would’ve been the question you would’ve been posing to me ten or twelve years ago – or here, five years ago. End of my pitch. I’m sorry, I got carried away.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: Expectations pretty low? Reality, much better.
MS. JAKES: Your main pitch here, I take it, for these couple of days that you’re in country are for the police training program, is that right?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: Remember, that is INL’s piece of the Iraq . While the ‘N’ of INL actually stands for ‘narcotics,’ that’s actually a tiny, tiny percentage of the program here. The ‘L’ stands for ‘law enforcement’ or ‘rule of law’ or ‘police’, and as a consequence that is what we’re engaging in.
MS. JAKES: Ok, so that’s an interesting point. Would you say that the training program is going to be on some of the police training, “this is how you hold a gun”-type thing versus rule of law issues, or where is the focus going to be as INL moves forward over X amount of years?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: What an excellently brilliant question, because I would suggest to you that we are in a transition in a number of ways, and we talk - and we correctly talk - about the transition from military management and military control supported by civilian agencies to the transition to civilian management and control supported by the military, and that is a very important transition. But another transition we’re in is from what I would classify as basic police training – which obviously is essential when you’ve got a police force that, as it was five years ago, was basically battling for survival. I mean, it was in many ways, in many cities, as you well know, largely non-existent or at least invisible. And the sort of training that the Armed Forces have been providing for the last five years has correctly been focused on standing up a basic police force, a presence in the communities that can, by its very existence, at least provide some degree of security.
It’s now 2011. My argument, and one of the things we are discussing in my visit here in Iraq with Iraqi counterparts, is we now have a basically trained community police force in most parts of Iraq. The moment has arrived where we can go into the graduate-level of the training where we can actually train on the issues, such as the visit I just did this afternoon to the forensics lab and the forensics training facility at the Baghdad Police College where they’re starting to deal with fairly sophisticated stuff – DNA evidence, chemical and biological evidence, the sort of stuff that you see on CSI and Law and Order, so it must be cool, and it must be state-of-the-art or they wouldn’t do entire TV programs about it – and to suggest that we’ve actually reached that point. My argument would be, yes, and that’s kind of the message that we want to get out to Iraqi law enforcement, as well - that they, themselves, have graduated to that point.
I think it does wonders for the image they have within their communities which is very important if this is going to play out as a success at the end of this process, but also to a considerable extent their self-image, because you know, they were down pretty-low five or six years ago, and the truth is, it is in many ways an effort in psychology to take a group of men and women – because I was delighted to bump into female instructors at the Baghdad Police academy this afternoon – to take an organization that had come pretty close to touching bottom the last five or six years and give them a sense of self-respect and convince them that they are actually an essential player in the future of this country. My view is that we’re in that transition, as well.
MS. JAKES: I’ll come back to the forensics piece in a second, because I’m interested in that, but when we talk about the Iraqi police – as you know, there are so many jurisdictions, not just the traffic police or the city police, but also the federal police, and the Kurdish police have a whole different system. What jurisdiction will be the focus of the training from the get-go?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: Valid question, although may I tell you that last week I spent just one to two days in Mexico. Do you know how many police forces there are in Mexico? Two thousand one hundred. You think it’s slightly challenging here? Imagine trying to put together a single, coherent law enforcement cooperative program in a country that has two thousand one hundred different police forces. You know a country that has even more than two thousand one hundred police forces?
MS. JAKES: The United States?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: Exactly! So it’s not as though you and I don’t have any idea what we’re talking about right now, do we? The answer to your question is, I represent the national government of the United States of America. We will obviously interact with the national government of Iraq. As a matter of law, as a matter of practice, and as a matter of politics, we’re not going to do anything behind the back of or without the concurrence of the national government. There is more than enough challenge here, I would suggest, for us to work with the national police institutions of the Republic of Iraq. That said, the objective, and you’ve probably read about it, but if not I’ll tell you – right now, our strategy is to establish support for three core training centers in Iraq – Baghdad, Basrah, Erbil. And from those three centers – or hubs, if you wish – we would allow spokes that would allow us to get out to as many as 28 different sites from those three spokes.
Don’t hold me to that figure, because politics, budget, security, all of those are going to come into play. The number of spokes might rise, the number of spokes might drop, but for planning purposes that’s what we have in mind. And if you’re asking me will we react to, respond to, and deal with political, cultural, linguistic, historical realities in any particular region where we are operating, training, and advising, the answer is, of course we will. But the program is a program between the national government of the United States of America and the national government of Iraq.
MS. JAKES: So it’s the federal police force that are going to be the primary benefactors?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: Exactly. The primary, but don’t suggest that I have said exclusively because I reserve the right for us to make decisions as we go along, and if there are places where the logic is to roll into or cooperate with regional or more local police entities, I reserve the right to consult with the national government of Iraq, and if they believe that makes sense and is a good thing to do, then we’ll deal with that.
MS. JAKES: Ok, what’s the universe of the federal police right now as you understand it in terms of how many really need this kind of training at this point? As you know, some of this training has been going on for several years. Does everybody need more training at this point?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: I’ll give you my sense off the top of my head, and if you’re wise enough you’ll not take my numbers as gospel. In the course of the day today talking to a number of Iraqi government counterparts, the number that they use in terms of how many police are on the ground in Iraq today vary from between 600-650,000 to a high of, I think a heard, up to as much as 750,000.
MS. JAKES: Yeah, those are all your traffic cops-
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: I’m with you. And they note that is an increase from a 60-65,000 number of some ten years ago. My own view is, and this is based upon this stage, I suppose almost decades of hard-earned experience on this front. You – no country that I’m aware of has the resources to do a police training program that will actually reach out to touch and deal directly with every single law enforcement person in the country. Lord knows we don’t, and as a consequence what we are trying to do is engage first with individuals who could serve as leaders and trainers of their own – the train-the-trainer process.
Second, to get a decent enough sample so that you’re training and advising will permeate virtually all parts of the country – not all parts, because I’ve already told you we only have three hubs and a maximum of 28 spokes, and that’s going to leave some parts of the country not directly touched, but we are going to work fairly hard to get at least representatives from those untouched police organizations into some of these training facilities so that there is at least some degree of contact with them.
And then third, we are assessing – and we do this bilaterally – dialogue, communication, conversation with the government – what are the areas where they find themselves in the greatest need? And then figure what are the organizations, the members or leaders of their law enforcement community that would most profit from that. Is it explosive devices and how to handle them? Investigation as well as prevention? If so, that leads us to one particular part of the policing community. Is it crimes of violence? Is it assassination? Is it drugs? Actually I don’t think it’s that, but if it were, that would take you to a different element.
And at the end of the day, I would suggest to you that this is a work in progress. It is going to continue to be a work in progress. If anyone ever tells you that the INL police training and advising program in Iraq is absolutely, definitively finished in terms of the program, and here is exactly what it is going to do, you are authorized to say on my behalf, “Brownfield says that is complete and utter . . um, balderdash”, because I am on the record, and it’s not going to happen. Good Lord, we started planning Colombia twelve years ago, and we’re still fiddling with that like every three months in terms of moving a focus or a priority to a different area, and that’s going to continue here, as well.
MS. JAKES: Well, at the risk of talking balderdash, what’s your projected dollar and time this will be taking? And if you can’t look that far down the road, what do you perceive for the upcoming fiscal year?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: Sure. I mean, that’s at least a two-part question. At least it’s a two-part answer. Let me answer the first part – the easy part. The easy part of the answer is, if you were to go online and pull up the State Department’s appropriations request for Fiscal Year 2011, and I believe you now have available Fiscal Year 2012, you would find that we have requested approximately $1B for each year, largely for the police development program. There are bits that are for other programs, but the overwhelming majority is for the police development program. We’re serious about that, and in our judgment, this is in fact what we have planned for and what we have built a strategy around.
The second part of my answer to your perfectly legitimate and valid question is – I suppose the follow up question would be “Right, that’s what you’ve asked for, now what are you really expecting to get?” And I will tell you with uncharacteristic but amazingly becoming honesty that this is one of the oddest budget years that I have lived through in my 32 years in this glorious business and this glorious profession. And I’ve got to tell you I’m not sure what’s going to finally come out. I do believe there is great receptivity and support in the United States Congress to the concept of the civilian side of the United States Government – largely the Department of State, but to be clear the Department of Justice is playing an important role, and the Department of Homeland Security has pieces of this, as well as USAID, and I’m not ignoring them – but there’s great receptivity to the argument that as the United States Armed Forces gradually disengage and begin the process of drawing down, the logic is that the civilian side of the house would come in and fill some of the holes and the gaps. And we have made a very compelling argument that this is very much in the interest of the American taxpayer.
The figure that we have thrown out, and Virginia may correct me on this, but I think we have used publicly the figure, that the Department of Defense saves like $51B by not having to do much of this mission in exchange for which the State Department is suggesting that we could use, I think about $6B total. This is not just the INL account, but other pieces from the State Department’s overseas contingency account. And saving $51B for the cost is a pretty good deal. And I sense considerable receptivity to that argument, as well. That said, as you no doubt have noticed even from over here, it’s a different budget year this year than in years past, and I will confidently state to you that I’m not positive what’s going to come out of this, but I’m pretty optimistic.
When you asked, you also stated a timeframe, and while I do not have a formal time frame, I’m prepared to say to you what I have said to the cowboys and cowgirls that work for me in the INL bureau. I have said to them, “Let us, for our own internal planning purposes, operate on the assumption that we are working a program for two to five years.” Two means it’s got to go two years, and five means we’ve got to have an end line out there somewhere. Five years seems as good a place to put it as any. Could it go on longer than five years? You betcha it could, but if it did, I would expect that I, or my successor, would have to explain to the United States Congress, the government of Iraq, and to other entities around the world why it is that this program should continue longer than five years.
MS. JAKES: Do you- just one more nitty-gritty budget question then I want to get back down to the police stuff that’s kind of specific. Out of the overseas contingency budget that I think is $156B or something for Iraq and Afghanistan – do you know what State’s piece of that is?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: Oh yeah, State’s piece is – I want to say $12.7B–
MS. RAMADAN: Iraq and Afghanistan, I think-
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: Gosh darnit, Virginia-
MS. RAMADAN: The Iraq program I think is $6.2B – that also incorporates FY11, you know-
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: I want to say it’s like $12 point something-billion. I think the overall State Department budget is – regular budget and don’t hold me to these numbers – go online, you can get them, because the Secretary of State has done her budget presentation. This year, for the first time in recorded history, the State Department is doing what the Department of Defense has apparently done for an extended period of time. It’s broken its budget into two categories. One is our basic operations – what we need to continue to do what we do on a year-by-year basis in the management of the United States’ foreign relations with the rest of the world. I’ve gotten the word that it’s $4B – it’s the regular State Department budget. Then we have broken out a separate category – and these are exceptional cases – where we are working in tandem to handle crises. Overwhelmingly Iraq and Afghanistan – I think we have put Pakistan in that package, as well – and I want to say that the number – well, if I say it and I’m on the record, you’re gonna quote me – look it up. It’s a different number, and it’s a much smaller number than the overall State Department budget.
MS. JAKES: Yeah, I thought the DoD overseas operating contingency budget for Fiscal ’12 was like $150-something, but that was mostly operations for Iraq and Afghanistan, and what I was looking for was someone to break out what the State Department piece of that will be just for Iraq. Do you think that’s the $12B?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: No-
MS. JAKES: Ok-
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: And I’m not sure about that number, but whatever number we have thrown out is all three of the major contingency countries, which is Afghanistan, Pakistan, plus Iraq, so Iraq would have only a percentage of that. My guess is somewhere between 30-40% of that total package. And second, I do not believe our programs are embedded in DoD’s budget request. I believe this is the State Department’s specific budget request to the United States Congress. Remember, we seek an appropriation through a different subcommittee and a different process from the Department of Defense. We go through the Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations and/or the Commerce State Justice Subcommittee whereas the Department of Defense goes through a different subcommittee.
MS. JAKES: Yeah, my bad. Green mistake.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: That’s five minutes in the penalty box.
MS. JAKES: Ok, I’ve been penalized. All right, so when you go back to some of the conversations you’ve had with the Iraqis, you mentioned some things that they may say are their top concerns whether it’s explosives, prevention, detection, investigation-
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: Yeah, and I was just giving for examples, but go ahead.
MS. JAKES: Right. The point is, what do they tell you? What do they want to focus on? What’s their top priority?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: First, and I’ve heard this at almost every conversation with an Iraqi counterpart, and that is they want more focus, more attention, more training, more support on investigation and investigatory techniques and capabilities. Now they’re talking across the board in this regard. And by the way, I think they’re right. I think they’re very right and very correct and very wise to concentrate on this. They’re talking about interview and interrogation techniques – that’s the most basic. How do you seek information from a criminal suspect? And there are, as you well know, good ways to do it and bad ways to do it.
They have also - by virtue of their own decision, as to where they are focusing their forensics laboratory training – have clearly indicated an interest in such cutting-edge technology as DNA and biological and chemical evidentiary presentations. I think that is useful and positive, as well.
They have indicated an interest in building the capabilities of a specific body within their overall police structure that would be trained in investigative techniques and in other words, not be just street cops – a concept that is not unknown in our own country. At the federal level, we call such people the Federal Bureau of Investigation – at local level, we tend to call them detectives, and even at a state level, there will usually be a state bureau of investigation. So in fact, I not only understand the logic of their wanting to focus there, I support it because in a sense this is the natural evolution of a police organization that is finally permitted to focus on something other than simple security, which is to say staying alive and somehow keeping your community alive in the face of individuals who want to do violence to your community.
And in fact, I think it’s terrific news that they actually can pause, take a breath, and say these are additional capabilities that we would like to have in the future. And I’m ready to work with them. Now the other areas I threw out as examples - I honestly don’t know if they’re going to want to move in those directions or not. There’s some logic that they would want to develop expertise in the matter of explosives but that’s a decision for them to make. There is some possibility that they would want to develop greater capabilities on narcotics and narcotics-related matters – God knows we have plenty of experience to share with them on that front, but I have to tell you counternarcotics right now from the INL perspective is a teeny, miniscule part of our program, and I don’t envision it getting hugely bigger in the course of the next couple of years. Kidnapping? Is this an issue where having a greater capability would be important? Possibly.
I am quite willing to work with them if this is their desire, in training on gender-based crime and ensuring that that sort of specialized skill set is rolled into their overall toolkit, or call it vulnerable populations as we call them elsewhere, which brings in others, as well – children and those whose lifestyle is sufficiently different as to make them vulnerable. These are all the sorts of areas where they might wish at some point in time to develop some skill or expertise.
My own position is they have a right to determine their own priorities. We have a right to offer them our response to that. We reach some sort of conclusion and we proceed, and by the way, because I’m on my soapbox now, please keep in mind Brownfield’s Brilliant Continuum on rule of law, and we’re only right now talking about, in essence, the first two of the five elements on the continuum. If I had a blackboard here, I would write for you the continuum. On the far left-hand side, because I’m speaking in English now, the continuum starts with basic community policing – street cops, you know, how do you arrest people?, how do you give parking tickets?, that sort of stuff.
Next on the continuum is investigation, somewhat more sophisticated. A street cop, quite often, is at best basically educated, and in some ways, that’s ok, because he’s the one who’s interacting most directly on a daily and almost minutely basis with the community and that requires the least amount if you will of formal education. Investigators have got to be a bit more sophisticated, particularly if he or she is dealing with forensic elements.
The third element on the continuum is prosecution, and that is how do you link up investigation, traditionally a police function with prosecution, traditionally a – what do you call it? – it moves into the judicial function, how you take your package of evidence and actually turn it into a case for prosecution.
The fourth element on the line is the courts themselves – judges, but it’s a bit more than judges, it’s administration of courts, and IT obviously plays into all of these areas, but for the most part it’s how you have a core of judges that are capable of actually delivering justice once street cops, investigators, and prosecutors have presented a coherent case before them in their courts.
And the fifth element, which we have frequently forgotten in the past, is the corrections system, because as we have learned the hard way over the last several decades, you can get the first four elements all right, but when you get to the fifth one and it’s nothing more than a graduate school for taking a minor criminal and turning him into a much more sophisticated criminal, you actually haven’t accomplished anything other than taking him off of the street for a short period of time before he loops back around and becomes a far greater threat to the community than he was before. Keep in mind that, while it’s costing less, nevertheless, we’ve got to hit all three elements, because if we leave one completely untouched, it’s like a chain – you only have to take one link out of the chain and the chain is broken – I guess, unless it’s a free end of the chain, but I don’t want to take that metaphor any further because you’d slice me to ribbons in a brilliantly journalistic manner.
MS. JAKES: I don’t slice anyone to ribbons. But $1B doesn’t even sound like it’s going to scratch the surface of some of the things in the second part of that continuum, including forensics, for example. How would you even attempt to address all five of these steps over the next five years?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: Brilliantly, of course, but in somewhat greater detail, I would remind you that if you read our budget request for FY11 and FY12, the request is $1B per year, so do not mistake the figure I threw out as a five year figure.
MS. JAKES: Yeah.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: I did say I told my team to plan for a 2 to 5 year program, but I am operating on the assumption that we would have the finances provided to us by Congress each year at whatever level they themselves decide to provide.
MS. JAKES: I’m just assuming that you’re not doing this in a vacuum – that as you work on the investigative part, you’re still trying to chip away a little of what’s down the road with the prisons or the prosecutors or the judges.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: That’s a very good assumption, and the good news right now is that the other three elements in the continuum – including investigation, so that would be four elements – are considerably less expensive right now because they do not require the same massive scale that the police training and police development program requires. I mean, in terms of police development, we’re talking about hundreds – we’re trying to have an impact on hundreds of thousands of individuals in the Iraqi law enforcement community, and there’s no way you can reach out and touch that many people without a program of massive scale. There are far fewer judges, prosecutors, and frankly professional investigators than there are cops, and the corrections system at the end of the day is, by its very nature, we hope, much smaller than the police community, otherwise your society is badly distorted and out of whack.
Now, the logic is, and I hope we get to this logic – you start and prioritize at your police level, because that’s where you were in crisis five years ago. As you begin to improve your police at basic levels, you’re able to move up the continuum, but you’ve got to move up in a logical or systematic way, because if you do not – and this is a global observation , not an Iraq-only observation – if you do not, you run the risk of having a situation where you have trained up your police to where they actually can do credible investigation, deliver quality evidentiary packages, and push something up to trial, and if they do not see a result form that effort – which is to say suspected criminal X is prosecuted, tried, sanctioned and goes to jail, you’re putting inevitable pressure on that police organization to provide justice on their own.
And this has happened in countries where in essence one part of the continuum has gotten out of sync with other parts of the continuum, and that produces a bad outcome. It’s for that reason that we have to link this whole thing together. I do not apologize for it. I think we’ve made exactly the right decision to prioritize the police. If we’d made any other proposal – if we had marched in in 2005 and said “we’re gonna train up criminal investigators so that we can get to the bottom of some of these bank robberies and car thefts”, people would have looked at us and said “are you completely out of your mind? The cities have completely broken down in terms of law and order and you’re telling us you want to train up a little FBI?” It would’ve made no sense whatsoever. It was the right thing to do, just as it’s the right thing now, in my humble opinion, to move up the continuum.
MS. JAKES: The forensics piece of this interests me a lot, because the system of prosecution in Iraq for so many years was based on confession system. I’m wondering where the training piece will fit in on forensics as a focus of investigatory tools, especially in the light - if budget cuts prevent that from being as wide or broad as you would like it to be.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: Although remember, forensics doesn’t have to cost a great deal in terms of training. In any police community that I’m aware of – and I’m not aware of all of them – the experts in forensics, your lab techs and those that know how to put together a technical package of evidence, are a very tiny part of your apparatus and your entire law enforcement community. In fact, I think today – I’m uncertain, my Arabic is a little bit rusty - but I believe I was led to believe today that there are technical forensics labs in only three cities in Iraq – Baghdad, Basrah, Erbil - 3 cities we have chosen as hubs for our training effort.
By the way, this is not surprising – there’s only one national FBI lab, located in Washington, and a tremendous amount of forensics are schlepped off, even if the crime occurred in Fairbanks, Alaska, they will often have to go back to Washington to get that kind of technical skills and capability. I make this point to let you know it’s the sort of thing that can be done at a lower cost. It’s much more sophisticated and technical, but you’re often dealing with a much smaller group of people who tend to be starting from a much higher knowledge and education base.
You know, someone who is largely illiterate is probably not going to be a particularly effective technical expert on evidence collection or development in a technological sense. The guys at the lab today at BPC were all commissioned officers in the Iraqi police and all had college educations, and those are the people with whom you can pretty quickly move the ball down the field when you sit down with them and start working through more technical stuff. I would argue we’ve got a good plan, and the plan is to initially focus on the police. We have been focusing on the police, and it costs a lot of money, because there are a lot of them, and to touch them, we’ve got to be in a lot of areas. But as we move up the continuum, the number of people we have to deal with becomes smaller, and the skill set is already much higher, and the logic is – if I were talking to you, and you were a Congresswoman, I would say “Yes, Madam Chairwoman, I do realize that a billion dollars requested for FY11 or FY12 is a lot of money. No, I don’t envision asking for that every single year, year after year. The logic is, as we have an impact at the police level, our ability to move up the scale on rule of law becomes less costly but still delivers good value for the United States of America in terms of ensuring that our very big investment in terms of treasure and lives is in fact a successful investment.
MS. JAKES: You mean to say that all the work that’s been put into the United States’ mission in Iraq up to now is continued?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: Yes, from 2003 to this moment, because in a sense that is what we are talking about. It doesn’t take an idiot to realize we’ve already made announcements in terms of when the U.S. Armed Forces will withdraw from any combat role. It doesn’t take a genius to realize – in fact it’s already been announced, the numbers they’re indicating in terms of drawdown as opposed to those that will stay behind. We’re fully aware of what is coming down the pike. What we are trying to do at the lowest cost possible, but with enough resources to make it probable that we’ll succeed – is how we can lock in the progress and gains they’ve delivered at great cost over the last five years to producing a stable, secure, and even prosperous Iraq, which is, at the end of the day a very Iraq-centrist, and might I suggest, in the interests of the United States.
MS. JAKES: How many trainers do you expect will be coming? And these will most likely be contract trainers, right?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: Not so fast. We have mentioned this number, right? The number we have briefed to the Congress is 190. That would be a combination of both police trainers and advisors, and you can figure the difference. The trainers are obviously in the actual training facilities and in fact co-located and jointly training with Iraqi trainers. The advisors are out in the field with police units themselves, either in headquarters or in some case at police stations. One hundred and ninety is the number we’re working with. Of that number, a substantial percentage will in fact not be contractors, but will in fact be U.S. government employees.
MS. JAKES: From what agency?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: From the Department of State, hired under the authorities of Section 3161 of a law that permits the hiring of U.S. government employees for a period of 3 years, extendable for 2 more years, in areas that have been specifically identified as crisis areas by the United States government. Those areas would include the Republic of Iraq, and two other countries off to the east, slightly north.
MS. JAKES: Gotcha.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: And they are- I want to emphasize this, because we have heard criticism in the past – never from the media, the media has always been completely fair with us, but from some within the Beltway, in Congress and others who carefully assess, audit, and inspect what we are doing, there have been occasional bits of criticism, not just of INL, but of many parts of the U.S. government for over-reliance on contractors. I don’t say I agree with all the criticism. I do say I think I’m smart enough to try to respond to it, and one of those responses is to insert more U.S. government employees into these programs.
The problem we’ve had until Section 3161 was enacted is, as you well know, U.S. government employees tend to be rather expensive. They come in for an entire career, they don’t just come in for a year or two. When you bring one in, you’re bringing them in with the expectation that they’re going to be working for you for the next 30 years or so. The compensation package is rather enormous, and with the exception of a couple of specific services like the foreign service or the Armed services, moving them around is tricky. When you’re in the civil service, you only move if you specifically agree to move, and then after you move, moving them from that site to another site becomes complicated. This is why sometime in the early 1990s, as budgets started to be whacked, many agencies started relying on contractors to do things that previously they had done with their own employees and personnel. The pendulum has swung far in the other direction, and I accept responsibility for trying to get some degree of balance, and that’s what I am shooting for in terms of INL’s police development program in Iraq – some balance between contractors and INL employees under Section 3161.
MS. JAKES: Is it more than 50/50?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: My guess is we’re gonna start with more than 50% contractors and fewer than 50% 3161s, but if you were to ask me what our target is, my target would be just about that – about 50/50. I’d be comfortable with that, if we could get to about a half and half situation that would make me happy. Or happier. I’d hate to acknowledge being happy about anything. The NFL season’s gonna go down the tubes this year. I mean, what’s left to be happy about? The Orioles once again are not gonna make the playoffs.
MS. JAKES: The Oilers?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: No, the Orioles! It’s a baseball team! They’re located in Baltimore!
MS. JAKES: Oh yes, yes, I’ve been there before. The crabcake kingdom.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: Only stadium in the country where you can get a crabcake sandwich. Can’t get ‘em anywhere else. Can’t get ‘em at Fenway Park. Ha, Fenway Park. They don’t do crabcakes up there.
MS. JAKES: I want to break down a little more about the 3161, about how many of them are current U.S. employees versus people who are being hired from-
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: Yes, and it’s a moving train. The best you’re going to get is a snapshot as of this moment. But I have honestly, openly, transparently and with self-effacing modesty, given you my target. What I’ve told Virginia [Ramadan] is, I’d like to get to about 50/50. I’m not sure if we’re going to get to that figure, but that’s the goal I’ve set for INL.
MS. JAKES: But let me break it down in simple terms. Is this like an agent from the FBI who might come TDY here, or is this somebody who has been retired from the Albany police department?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: They’re a different category. We will have - I believe the plan is about 45 that would be coming from other government agencies that would be inserted into this program – that would be Department of Justice, law enforcement–in addition to the 190-law enforcement agencies and others from DHS, from the Department of Justice-
MS. RAMADAN: DHS is within the 190.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: Isn’t it annoying to have an expert sitting right behind you?
MS. JAKES: You know, I’ve just got the people who are watching the clock, so-
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: What we are envisioning under 3161 would be some of the same kind of people that might have come in as third party contractors, but will instead come in and be directly responsive to and work for the INL director here in Iraq, and to a certain extent, given that degree of balance, their boss is not the contracting company, but their boss is the INL director in Baghdad who in turn reports to the Ambassador, but he gets his budget from me and will presumably be aware and say to his 3161 employees “Please remember who’s signing your paycheck” and that presumably gives you some degree of extra certainty that your equities are being taken into account.
MS. JAKES: Ok, anything else you want to add. This has been a great interview on my part.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: No, you’ve drilled virtually all of it I think, and my brain is now absolutely vacated, but just in case I was so stupid as not to get my fundamental message across to you, may I say it one more time. It’s 2011. I believe - this is transition year – I believe we are transitioning on a number of fronts. We are transitioning from military in the lead to civilian in the lead, from military responsible for security to police being responsible for security, from police being trained at basic, street cop-level to police being trained at a more sophisticated level. And finally, it is a transition I hope, and I genuinely believe, in terms of how much the U.S. national treasure must be put to this project, because the U.S. Armed Forces are the best in the world and do any mission better than any other armed forces in the planet, but they are not the cheapest option. What we hope to be able to deliver to the taxpayer is a program that accomplishes the same thing at far less cost. I hope the brilliant men and women who are privileged to read your product will understand this message as they read and consider what we’re doing here and hope to accomplish. Since that is a succinct summary of what I was blabbering about for the last 45 minutes, I am prepared to conclude.
MS. JAKES: Thank you so much.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: I realize I was on the record, but let me say the Orioles, once again, will not make the playoffs.