Competing Missions

The population at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, is expected to rise to 30,000 people—up from 26,000 today—before the NATO combat mission ends in the country in 2014, said British Group Capt. Jamie Johnston, Kandahar’s deputy commander for support. Today, slightly more than half of those stationed at Kandahar are civilian contractors, he told the Daily Report during a July 17 interview there. Kandahar officials are closely monitoring those contracts, he said. Behind Johnston’s desk in the headquarters building is a large, complicated-looking chart listing every single contractor supporting the base and the date on which the individual’s contract is set to expire. Johnston said his biggest challenge is balancing the need to accomplish what he calls “the day job” while at the same time maintaining the right amount of people to successfully draw down. “As we get toward the end of mission, nations are pulling people out, but actually we need extra people to cope with the extra work,” he said. “My challenge is making sure I have the right amount of people to help with the process.”