US gov't inspector: Problems plague Iraq, Afghanistan reconstruction

A government inspector told a House of Representatives panel Wednesday that a $2 billion provincial reconstruction program in Iraq and Afghanistan remained plagued with problems but "has come a long way" in the past year. The Defense Department, which operates the Provincial Reconstruction program jointly with the State Department, is having problems "finding people with the right skill sets," and it was an "almost an impossible challenge" to get Iraq's local and central governments to work with each other, Deputy Special Inspector General Ginger Cruz testified. Also, she told the House Armed Services oversight subcommittee that the State Department has struggled to find adequate numbers of civilian advisers, which the Democratic chairman, Rep. Vic Snyder, called "abysmal." She also said coordination with the Iraqi government posed a "significant challenge."