Sunday, March 1, 2009

Now I've Been Officially Quoted...

...and it made me sound a bit dim.

Yesterday the headquarters Public Affairs Office issued the following press release:

International Security Assistance Force – Afghanistan
Committed to the security, reconstruction and extension of governance in Afghanistan

PRTs exchange ideas at ISAF

KABUL, Afghanistan (February 28) - Afghanistan's 26 Provisional Reconstruction Team (PRT) commanders, along with 400 multi-national representatives attended the quarterly PRT conference held at International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Headquarters, Feb 25-26.

The goal of conference organisers is to host a forum where every PRT commander can see plans simultaneously, have to opportunity to ask questions and then take back their newfound knowledge to their respective province.

An additional benefit of the conference is that it serves as an opportunity to exchange information with counterparts and talk about lessons learned by bringing everyone together providing an invaluable opportunity to network.

"You can communicate a lot of things through e-mail, but there are a lot more items that you don’t think of while you are typing that you think of while you are standing right next to them" said U.S. Navy Lieutenant Shawn Thorsson, a PRT engagement officer for Regional Command-East (RC-E).

More than two-dozen briefings took place over the two-day conference covering a wide spectrum of topics including border security, disaster assistance, counter-narcotics and best practices.

"I think the sessions are good since each one is unique"' said U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Andy Torelli, the Zabul Province PRT Commander. "I was talking with a Czech Republic PRT commander and he mentioned they are doing a hydrology study that peaked my interest because we need to do that in our area, so I asked what they are doing and now I can take his advice back and use it in my province."

Renee Thakali, a U.S. Department of Agriculture advisor who has only been in Afghanistan for a few days said the conference gave her the background information she needs.

"My PRT has 30 different projects going on and this conference gives me the opportunity to network with others. It’s been a great way to start my new job."

Kabul, Afghanistan—Participants in the PRT Conference held at HQ ISAF listen and take notes on the panel discussion. The conference gives all attendees an opportunity to voice best practices and lessons learned from their respective province. (ISAF photo)

Kabul, Afghanistan—ISAF’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Stability, Rear Admiral Mattieu Borsboom, along with other panel members give insight to PRT commanders at the quarterly PRT Conference held at HQ ISAF 25-26 Feb. The conference gives all attendees an opportunity to voice best practices and lessons learned from their respective province. (ISAF photo)

I ended up chatting with the interviewer for quite a while and I'm disappointed that she couldn't find a use for any of the slightly brighter things I said in the interview. I'm also not sure why she didn't get a byline (TSgt Nipper was her name, incidentally) but maybe they're not supposed to do that for a press release. Who knows.

So that was exciting I suppose.

I'll be posting the same story (from my own particularly charming, bitter, little angle) as soon as I get a chance. Stay tuned.

1 comment:

  1. The quotes are usually chosen for their ease of reading, press releases are never supposed to be written above an 8th grade reading level. Beyond that who knows what the motivator was...or who edited it and told her which quotes to use.

    I don't think you sounded dim, just stating kind of the obvious. Looking forward to reading your take on the event.