Aug 22 , 2021
The Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) is telling personnel not to personally assist “friends and former colleagues” stuck in Afghanistan.
“If any Afghanistan national contacts a DCMA employee for assistance with asylum, the employee should in no way suggest or represent that the individual or DCMA is in a position to help,” the email read. “The employee should only inform the Afghanistan national that the State Department is the appropriate organization to contact.”
The email comes as veterans are scrambling online to help Afghans fleeing the Taliban. The official process for Afghan allies is proving difficult to navigate, with several indicators showing these channels are sorely lacking in expediency and competence.
A National Review article reported Saturday that an email dedicated for Priority 2 referral – for Afghans not eligible for Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) – has been full for at least half a day. While this email appears to be separate from the one listed in the DCMA’s guidelines, it serves as an example of the struggles Afghans are having in getting through using official channels.
The DCMA email noted the State Department has set up an email address to handle inquires and informed DMCA employees that “there are strict federal guidelines for asylum requests” that do not include the agency. This particular email address was established “to facilitate the increased numbers of requests” the State Department is seeing, the DCMA memo noted.
In addition to the email address provided, the DCMA email suggested employees direct Afghanistan nationals to the State Department website for SIVs.
“There are also humanitarian relief efforts conducted through religious or other non-profit organizations,” the email read. “Referring Afghanistan nationals to this support, or otherwise assisting in these efforts isn’t prohibited. However, it must be done with the understanding that it’s a personal activity, and not being done as a federal employee, and not during official duty time.”
“We have a natural instinct to help, particularly those we have come to known [sic] through work in austere conditions,” the DCMA wrote. “While our intentions may be good, the most direct and effective thing we can do is refer people to the organizations that are authorized and set up to assist.”