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Contractors Propose US Government-Industry Collaboration Forums for Afghan Drawdown

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The Professional Services Council (PSC), the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) and the International Stability Operations Association (ISOA) have urged the federal government to create two collaborative forums to engage the contracting industry in the planning and implementation of a process to withdraw all U.S. forces from Afghanistan by Sept. 11th.

PSC, NDIA and ISOA leaders voiced concerns over the possible impacts of the drawdown for GovCon companies in a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Samantha Power.

The trade groups said meetings could facilitate information exchange regarding implications of the troop withdrawal effort for contractors who have worked closely with the federal government for nearly two decades to provide training support and other critical services to Afghan personnel.

Federal spending on products and services deployed to Afghanistan hit $3.6 billion during fiscal year 2020, according to the missive. FY2020 contract awards from the Department of Defense, the State Department and USAID were $2.8 billion, $524.3 million and $174.4 million, respectively.

All three trade organizations believe the drawdown would affect the work contractors perform in the region and the lack of collaboration meetings in Washington and Kabul could exacerbate the perceived risk.

“Contractors need up-to-date information from USG officials on the constantly changing drawdown impact on USG missions in Afghanistan and on the security environment for contractor operations,” according to the letter signed by PSC's David Berteau, NDIA's Hawk Carlisle and ISOA's Howard Lind.