There And Back Again
Me trying to understand my orders from AFPC
My apologies for suddenly disappearing. I spent the summer deployed to Kuwait, where I had lots of time in crew rest in which to write. Since returning I have been extremely busy, especially given the massive life disruption because of my unexpected reassignment to AfPak Hands.
I spent the ensuing month reorienting my life around AfPak Hands. I made contact with some inspiring AfPak Hands like Michele Poole and Fernando Lujan, with whom I was greatly looking forward to working. I bought a large stack of new books on Afghanistan and Pakistan and subscribed to a new list of blogs like Registan and the Kabul Cable. I began all the usual chores associated with a new assignment, like figuring out what to do with my house and working out the logistics of where my family should live when I deployed. Work on my blog ceased; if I was going to spend the next year advising Afghans, blogging about controversial aspects of Islam didn’t sound at all like a good idea.
Despite the disruption, I came to be really excited about the program. So it came as another seismic shock when, several weeks later, I got a second unexpected e-mail telling me that the assignment was cancelled. I had fully accepted the assignment and was charging full speed ahead, but during some internal deliberations way above my level the Air Force Personnel Center (AFPC) suddenly decided that they didn’t want to kill my long-term career by assigning me to AfPak Hands at this particular time. However, I will still be at the top of the list next year–once I’ve met some career milestones necessary to progress in the Air Force.
So to put it mildly, the last two months have been insane. Life is more or less back to normal now, but I’m not sure what the future will hold. All I know is that I am on a year of borrowed time, during which I need to learn all I can about leadership in the Air Force. After that, I will be swept off again–either to AfPak Hands (if it’s still the priority) or to another foreign affairs-related job.
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