Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Thursday told Marines being deployed to Afghanistan that a U.S. victory there would look similar to progress in Iraq, but he cautioned that more civilians with skills beyond the battlefield will be needed.

The Obama administration has called up 17,000 more troops to supplement the 38,000 American troops already fighting a resurgence of the Taliban. It 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.