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Task Force for Business and
Stability Operations (TFBSO)

Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO)

The Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO) was created to focus on economic redevelopment in US war zones - such as Afghanistan and Iraq. TFBSO began operations in Afghanistan in 2009; after having its initial start in Iraq. TFBSO concentrated on attracting private foreign investment, corporate development, agriculture, mineral extraction, information technology, and administration of economic sector ministries. The job creation efforts were seen as an important aspect of the overall U.S. counterinsurgency mission in Afghanistan.

USAID not the Pentagon. Many of the Democrats in Congress saw the Pentagon's participation in economic development as stepping over the line. They felt that TFBSO should fall under the State Department not the Defense Department. 1. The leadership of the TFBSO contended that 'tactical economic development expertise' and 'business development' was against the nature of USAID - a humanitarian services organization.

$43 Million Gas Station. One of the most famous TFBSO endeavors occurred in 2011 when the U.S. built a natural gas filling station in Afghanistan that should have cost about 1/2 million dollars. The gas station was built in a city of 100,000 with very few vehicles suited for natural gas and with a natural gas pipeline that was incomplete. 2., 3. 


Websites about TFBSO

Official TFBSO Website. Website location for the TFBSO was at http://tfbso.defense.gov but it is no longer available.

Official TFBSO Blog. There was also a TFBSO blog at http://tfbso.ntis.gov/blog but that has been taken offline as well.

TFBSO by WikipediA.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Task_Force_for_Business_and_Stability_Operations

Twitter Feed. Lots of past stories about the organization can be found on the Twitter feed @tfbsoafg.

YouTube and TFBSO. YouTube has lots of videos about TFBSO available at www.youtube.com/results?search_query=tfbso


Papers, Reports, and Publications about TFBSO

SIGAR, DoD Task Force for Business and Stability Operations in Afghanistan: Preliminary Results Show Serious Management and Oversight Problems, transcript of testimony before the Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support, U.S. Senate, January 20, 2016. Statement of John F. Sopko (SIGAR).
www.sigar.mil/pdf/testimony/SIGAR-16-14-TY.pdf

RAND, Task Force for Business and Stability Operations: Lessons from Afghanistan, RAND Corporation, January 2016. This 139-page report uses semistructured interviews and both public and internal documentation to identify lessons from the Task Force's activities in Afghanistan, offering insights for similar projects in the future.
www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1243.html

SIGAR, Letter from SIGAR to SECDEF, November 25, 2015. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter received a letter from the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) about the use of private villas and expense security details by the Defense Department's Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO).
www.sigar.mil/pdf/special%20projects/SIGAR-16-05-SP.pdf

SIGAR, Afghanistan's Mineral, Oil, and Gas Industries: Unless U.S. Agencies Act Soon to Sustain Investments Made, $488 Million in Funding is at Risk, SIGAR 15-55 Audit Report, April 2015.
www.sigar.mil/pdf/audits/SIGAR-15-55-AR.pdf


Afghan War News Blog Posts on TFBSO

April 29, 2015. "SIGAR: $488 Million at Risk - TFBSO". AWN Blog.

See all Blog Posts by AWN about the TFBSO
http://afghanwarnews.blogspot.com/search/label/TFBSO


News Stories about TFBSO

January 28, 2016. "Legacy Rising: DoD Business Task Force Impact Evidence Grows", by Jeff Goodson, Real Clear Defense. Goodson, a retired Foreign Service Officer with three deployments to Afghanistan, comes to the defense of the TFBSO.

December 3, 2015. "SIGAR: DoD Task Force Shelled Out Millions to Live in Kabul Villas", Defense News.

December 3, 2015. "Pentagon wasted 'tens of millions' on private villas in Afghanistan", Stars and Stripes.

November 23, 2015. "A Pentagon Whistleblower Says He's Being Punished for Calling Out Waste in Afghanistan", VICE News. COL John C. Hope, who spent nine months as the top official with TFBSO in Afghanistan, is getting punished for reporting on waste, fraud and abuse with TFBSO.

November 11, 2015. "The Pentagon's Afghan 'Slush Fund' Will Now Have to Answer to Angry Lawmakers", Defense One. The DoD has not complied with requests to turn over data files and documents relating to the TFBSO - now the Senate Judiciary Committee is angry and writing letters to DoD . . . .

November 3, 2015. "The only thing more absurd than the $43 million gas station . . . ", Quartz.

July 20, 2015. "Pentagon Continues to Stiff-Arm SIGAR on TFBSO Investigation", Isenberg Institute of Strategic Satire. DoD is rebuffing the investigative efforts of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction into allegations of $800 million wasted.

December 16, 2014. "Pentagon sent Afghan jewelers on lavish 'months-long gem training programs'", Fox News Politics.

November 18, 2014. "SIGAR: Pentagon's economic development in Afghanistan 'accomplished nothing'", Marine Corps Times. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction is investigating the Pentagon's efforts to spark that country's economic development - which costs about $700 to $800 million.

March 24, 2011. "Defense task force on Afghanistan development unravels", by Rajiv Chandrasekaren, The Washington Post. Resignations in the organization is taking its toll as well as congressional scrutiny. The move to put TFBSO under USAID - shifting it from the Pentagon is being resisted by TFBSO leadership.

August 27, 2007. "Pentagon official is under investigation". Los Angeles Times. The head of TFBSO is under investigation by the Defense Department on mismanagement allegations.


 


Endnotes

1. For more on Democratic opposition to TFBSO under the Pentagon see Congresswoman McCollum's Statement on the Task Force for Business and Stability Operations in Afghanistan (Admendment to H.R. 2219), July 6, 2011.
http://mccollum.house.gov/congresswoman-mccollums-statement-task-force-business-and-stability-operations-afghanistan-amendment

2. See SIGAR letter of inquiry on the $43 million gas station dated December 11, 2014.
www.sigar.mil/pdf/alerts/SIGAR-15-15-AL.pdf

3. See CNN report (Nov 2, 2015) on $43 million gas station in "Report reveals Afghanistan gas station cost U.S. $43 million", CNN Politics, November 3, 2015.

 


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