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[The government] said last month it would send several hundred citizens, from agronomists to economists, to work on reconstruction and development issues as part of the military's counterinsurgency campaign.
That has proven to be difficult, and the Pentagon said Thursday that reservists, who often have the skills needed in such a buildup, might be asked to fill the gap.
"I am concerned that we will not get the civilian surge into Afghanistan as quickly as we are getting troops into Afghanistan," Gates said during a daytrip to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. He said he is asking for volunteers who have specific skills "who might serve as a bridge, getting them out of there quickly, and then bringing them back when their civilian replacements are hired."
The Pentagon has been asked to see if it can find 200 to 300 reservists. Officials are canvassing the force to find the needed experts — educators, engineers, lawyers and others, said Bryan Whitman, a Defense Department spokesman.