24 June 2008

PR# 2008-286

ISAF Forces open Garmsir Civil Military Operations Center

KABUL, Afghanistan — Marines and the British Forces of Task Force Helmand opened a Joint Civil Military Operations Center (CMOC) yesterday in the vicinity of the British Forward Operating Base Delhi, in Garmsir District. On its first day the CMOC had 31 visitors and paid 15 claims.

The Marines established the CMOC; provided the initial administration, command and control to run the centre; and will continue to maintain the secure environment in which the centre will operate.  The Marines’ focus will be battle damage reparations and coordinating with those follow-on agencies to continue the work of reconstruction and development.

Task Force Helmand will focus on building an enduring capability to support stabilization, reconstruction and development. 

Already the British Forces have assigned a Stabilization Advisor to Garmsir.  The Stabilization Advisor will work with the local government, military and support agencies to assist and coordinate reconstruction and development efforts as it applies to governance, law, security, and the economy.  The Afghan government is also committed to Garmsir’s reconstruction and has assigned a representative from their Ministry of Reconstruction and Rural Development. Afghan locals will be hired for administration and support roles in the CMOC.  Other governmental and non-governmental agencies will come online as needs arise and capabilities become available.

“We need to have a measured approach to the influx of supporting agencies,” said Col Peter Petronzio, commanding officer, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit. “If we aren’t careful we will do more than can be sustained upon our departure.  Our guiding principle needs to be the needs and desires of the people of Garmsir.”

“The ultimate purpose, aside from assisting the Afghan citizens, is to make the eventual departure of the Marines as transparent as possible to the local community,” said Chief Warrant Officer Rene Cote, Civil Affairs Officer, 24th MEU.  “Our approach is to work with alliance partners and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to build capacity in a manner that is sustainable after the eventual departure of Marine forces.”

For more information, please contact Capt. Kelly Frushour, 24th MEU Public Affairs Officer at Defense Switch Network (DSN): 314-351-1014 or commercial: (country code 93) 079-635-5259.

Contact Information ISAF Public Affairs Office
Tel: +93 (0)799 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 pressoffice@hq.isaf.nato.int - www.nato.int/isaf/