Pentagon Will Fill Civilian Jobs in Afghanistan
Reservists to fill up to 300 positions intended for nonmilitary experts
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2009 6:21 AM CDT
An Afghan girl looks on as U.S soldiers of 101st Airborne Division patrol in Parwan province, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, April 6, 2009.   (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
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(Newser) – The Obama administration is being forced to fill hundreds of new positions designed for civilian experts in Afghanistan with military personnel, mostly reservists, reports the New York Times. The shortfall results from insufficient funds to hire and train nonmilitary people for work in combat zones, and the fact that agencies outside the military cannot compel employees to take posts in less desirable areas.

To fill the gap in Obama's pledged "dramatic increase in our civilian effort," the Pentagon may call up as many as 300 reservists with civilian experience in fields including law, agriculture, sanitation, education, and air traffic control. Members of the military may shoulder as much as half of the "civilian" development effort, Pentagon officials tell the Times, as one undersecretary in the department says the government is "playing a game of catch-up" after years of neglect.