By JAKE WIENS
Who will step up to the plate and take on one of the most critical jobs in government?
Herb Richardson, the Acting Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), is stepping down from his post after only six months at the helm, according to a report by Foreign Policy’s Josh Rogin.
As Rogin notes, this leaves SIGAR without a leader for the second time this year. Prior to the tenure of Richardson, SIGAR was led by Arnold Fields. Back in September 2010, POGO joined a bipartisan group of Senators in calling for the removal of Fields, citing his office’s poor performance under his leadership. Fields announced his resignation in January 2011.
At the time of Fields’ departure, POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian issued this statement:
This is an important step towards more aggressive oversight in Afghanistan. General Fields has served the country with distinction in the military, however, an Inspector General needs to be cut from a cloth where challenging authority comes easily. The Afghanistan watchdog is one of the most important and difficult jobs in the federal government. It is time for new leadership to better account for the billions being spent with little accountability.
As we’ve noted before, U.S. taxpayers have provided at least $51 billion for Afghanistan reconstruction since 2002, according to the SIGAR, a figure that is expected to increase to $71 billion this year. For that reason, the importance of having an independent and aggressive watchdog overseeing those funds is absolutely essential.
So now, with Richardson’s departure, we’re asking our readers to help out. Go ahead–start throwing out some names of tough-minded, qualified people that would be impossible for the White House to ignore. Who do you think would be a good nominee for this job? This is an amazing opportunity to lead an absolutely essential organization–is it you?
Jake Wiens is a POGO Investigator.
Image of provincial reconstruction team in Afghanistan by The U.S. Army.