Flournoy and Patraeus Emphasize U.S. Progress During Senate Hearing

Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy and Commander of U.S. Central Command Gen. David Patraeus remained confident in their assertion of military progress in Afghanistan, despite an onset of doubt from Senate members during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

During the hearing, chairman Carl Levin and Sen. John McCain presented their perspectives on the direction in which the U.S. progress in Afghanistan seems to be heading. McCain said, “As I gauge the progress of any war effort, I look at the broader trend lines and it is for this reason, I am deeply concerned about our campaign in Afghanistan.”

Flournoy reassured that U.S. efforts have been a “gradual but important progress.” She reiterated that she agrees with McCain’s opinion that troops should not be pulled out of Afghanistan at an immediate rate, but gradually as to remain committed to supporting the proper growth of Afghan National Security Forces.

She made this apparent as she delivered her speech. “I want to emphasize here that transition does not, does not mean abandonment or withdrawal.”

Flourney referred to the gradual transition from dominant U.S. control to the takeover from Afghan security forces.

This was a main theme in Patreaus’ address to the Senate. The head of U.S. Central Command explained that the size and capabilities of the Afghan national police are on track and will continue to do so as efforts continue to make progress. He explained that it is important to do it right so that the forces will be able to eloquently and properly transition from U.S. military support.

“The concept is to provide the Kandaharis a rising tide of security. One that will expand over time and establish the foundation of improved security on which local Afghan governance can be built and will enable improvements in the provisions of basic services in other areas as well,” said Patreaus.

Flourney and Patraeus remained committed to U.S. progress throughout Senate questioning. The hearing was postponed and will resume tomorrow.

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