Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Pentagon in Search of ‘Secret’ Farmers for Afghanistan

Why is the U.S. sending farmers with high security clearance to Afghanistan?

by Max Fisher at The Atlantic  June 15, 2011

The U.S. Department of Defense is looking to hire agriculture specialists to send to Afghanistan. That’s nothing especially new — Afghanistan’s economy is heavily agricultural, the health of the country’s economy is directly tied to the mission of rolling back Taliban influence, and the U.S. has been sending farming consultants there for years. But writer (and former civilian contractor in Afghanistan) Joshua Foust noticed something unusual in reading the job listing, which had been posted to recruitmilitary.com by a defense contractor. The job requires “secret” security clearance.

Then there are secret farmers. Chenega Corporation, one of the ubiquitous Native Alaskan Owned Small Businesses that gets all sorts of exemptions and set-asides from the government, is hiring cleared agricultural specialists to operate in Afghanistan.

… There’s nothing too nefarious about this–as a deployed DOD contractor it makes sense to have a SECRET clearance, as SIPR is how the Army talks to itself. But still: the war in Afghanistan has advanced to the point where importing American farmers to help Afghans farm now requires a security clearance.

There are two things at play here. First, working for the U.S. government in a war zone often requires security clearance, simply because you’re exposed to many classified documents on a day-to-day basis. Second, the U.S. is working to make infrastructure-building (some might call it nation-building) part of its military mission in Afghanistan, understanding that more self-sustaining Afghan industries will reduce the appeal of the Taliban and decrease violence.

Please read the entire story at The Atlantic

June 15, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Department of Defense, Pentagon, Safety and Security Issues | , , , | Leave a comment