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Commander's Emergency
Response Program (CERP)

One of the more highly-regarded programs in the counterinsurgency effort in Afghanistan was the Commander's Emergency Response Program or CERP. This program put money in the hands of lower-echelon commander's that could be used in a quick (not always) fashion for a variety of purposes - usually associated with development at the community or district level. Certainly there was a lot of waste and inefficiencies involved in CERP; however, despite the program's many critics it served an important function during a critical time.

State Department Interference. Unfortunately, late in the war (circa 2012-2013) there were some regional command Senior Civilian Representatives (SCRs) that shut it down (regrettably). In January 2014 SIGAR launched an investigation as to why only 57% of CERP funds were executed in Afghanistan in five years (can you spell State Department?). See CERP Investigation.

Websites with Info on CERP

Blog Posts by Afghan War News Blog

Papers and Pubs about CERP

RAND, Investing in the Fight, RAND Corporation, November 2016. This 320-page report assesses the use of the Commander's Emergency Response Program in Afghanistan in support of tactical operations during the counterinsurgency campaign.

News Reports about CERP

February 5, 2021. "Congress calls for end to program that gave billions to win support in Iraq and Afghanistan", Stars and Stripes. New language inserted into the annual national defense bill may see an end to the program.

January 6, 2017. "Did U.S. aid win hearts and minds in Afghanistan? Yes and no.", by Renard Sexton, The Washington Post. The author, a doctoral student, says that CERP was effective in secure districts but not so effective in contested districts.

May 15, 2015. "How U.S. Commanders Spent $2 Billion of Petty Cash in Afghanistan". Pro Publica.



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