"Following two high-level policy reviews and the appointment of a new overall U.S. commander in Afghanistan in 2009, the Obama Administration says it is pursuing a fully resourced, integrated military-civilian strategy that will pave the way for a gradual transition to Afghan security leadership beginning in July 2011. The policy is intended to address what the Obama Administration considered to be a security environment that was deteriorating despite an increase in U.S. forces there during 2006-2008. Some of the deterioration was attributed to Afghan disillusionment with corruption in the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and the relative safe haven in parts of Pakistan enjoyed by Afghan militants. Each of the two high-level policy reviews in 2009 resulted in a decision to add combat troops, with the intent of creating the conditions to expand Afghan governance and economic development, rather than on hunting and defeating insurgents. A total of an additional 51,000 forces were authorized to deploy by the two reviews--21,000 in March 2009 and another 30,000 authorized in December 2009. Each review was accompanied by announcements of force increases by U.S. partners in Afghanistan. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who was appointed top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan in May 2009, is a key architect and proponent of the current strategy. The strategy is predicated not only on creating secure conditions, but also empowering and improving Afghan governance and promoting economic development. These functions have involved a significant buildup of U.S. diplomats and other civilians as advisors and mentors."
CRS Report for Congress, RL30588