Report from Kabul, Afghanistan COL Sam YOUNG157, 9/1/2010
Report from Kabul, Afghanistan COL Sam YOUNG
(Editor: This article contains only a small part of what COL Sam Young and his staff are doing.)
COL YOUNG begins with, this has been a very busy day, 24 January 2004, with potential for great things to happen with the Afghan National Army in my functional area. Naturally it deals with money.
(1) The Afghan Ministry of Defense (MoD) leadership has not yet accepted the idea it will sometime in the near future have to start paying the salaries of its soldiers which the U.S. is now paying. They have surplus year end money which, after purchasing the things they need, can still pay two months of a percentage of the soldier's salaries (exactly what the U.S. leadership has unsuccessfully sought). The MoD does not want to give any money back to the Ministry of Finance. I tentatively secured approval for the MoD to start paying some of the salaries.
(2) The new leadership of the MoD and the General Staff has identified computer requirements which they want the U.S. to buy (there are very few computers in the MoD). I showed them they could use some of their year end surplus to purchase the computers themselves. They agreed!
(3) The culture here in the military is the officers and their families are provided for, the enlisted soldiers are not. I was asked to agree the Medical budget which the Finance Director and the other key leaders felt was to low. I told them I could not do that as I did not know their applicable laws, did not know the details behind their medical requirements, and only could see what was on the sheet they gave me (officers & their families health care provided, enlisted soldiers their's are not). I asked them to consider changing the law or policy, whichever applied, to allow the enlisted soldier's families to receive health care. I explained my reasoning which they agreed with (conscripted vs non-conscripted). Now we need to work to make that happen.
Today a U.S. Army Reserve Finance Lieutenant Colonel arrived for from 3-6 months temporary duty to work a military pay issue. Although she does not work for me, she works with me. I am asking that she work all military pay issues for the Afghan military which will take a "Sam deferred" load off of me. That will happen!
I also have a newly arrived MPRI contracted RM retired Army Lieutenant Colonel working for me. He is starting to teach some classes and work the automation requirements in the finance offices of the military and to place the Ministry of Finance automated funds management system in the MoD (1st Ministry to receive it - again my initiative).And there is another MPRI RM type on his way here to assist me in the budget area.
I am excited about the way this is going and what I am getting to do.