Archive for the ‘Afghanistan’ Category

“Fifth Generation War”

January 18, 2009

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War has evolved rapidly in the last 100 years, prompting historians and strategists to come up with new terms for new ways of fighting. They call mechanized warfare, which originated in the early 20th century, the third “generation” of war, and ideological warfare waged by guerilla groups the fourth.

But what about guerilla-style warfare waged by non-ideological groups against traditional states — pirates, for instance, whose attacks can destabilize trade-dependent nations, but who don’t have strategic goals beyond just getting rich? Free-for-all violence, with indirect global effects, represents a fifth generation of war, according to some experts. And when it comes to defeating fifth-gen enemies, “the old rules of warfare do not apply,” declared Marine Lt. Col. Stanton Coerr, writing in Marine Corps Gazette, a professional journal.

So the U.S. military and its government partners are writing new rules, and putting them to the test on the first of the fifth-generation battlefields emerging in Africa.

Fifth-gen enemies do not have traditional “centers of gravity” — armies, governments, factories, charismatic leaders — that can be destroyed by military attacks. By their mere survival, these enemies undermine the notion that nation-states, their ideals and their economies are viable in the modern world.

Examples of emerging fifth-generation wars include: Read the entire article at World Politics Review

Army Pilot Trainees Go Straight to Combat

January 17, 2009

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The days of sending pilots out of Fort Rucker’s aviation flight school for a year of on-the-job-training are over, said the installation commander there.

“We’re now sending many of them directly into theater. And, feedback so far from commanders is that they’re doing pretty well,” said Maj. Gen. James O. Barclay III, the commanding general of the U.S. Army Aviation Warfighting Center and Fort Rucker, Ala. He said the Army aviation community is experiencing a very high operating tempo.

“While the combat brigades are drawing down in Iraq, Army aviation is seeing a plus-up with shorter times away from the fight and less predictability in deployment cycles,” Barclay said. “It’s not an easy business right now and I don’t see any changes in the near term.”

The general said that with forces thinning in Iraq, demand on remaining troops increases, requiring them to be in more places. That puts an increased demand on aviation units. He said Army aviation is increasing its presence in Afghanistan as well.

While focus on the combat mission is clear, Barclay said the lines are blurred between training and operations commands involving the aviation community.

“We quit separating the components and commands,” he said, indicating the units train, fight and talk to each other more than ever before. Organizations he was referring to include: Training and Doctrine Command, Forces Command, Army Materiel Command, Fort Rucker and Installation Management Command, as well as Guard, Reserve and active components.

“We’re truly a combined force, tied at the hip. We have to be. It’s about being more effective, not just more efficient,” he said, citing the Army Enterprise best practices model as aviation’s campaign plan.

Barclay said there’s a continual and rapid movement of personnel and their equipment from training to deployment to reset, then looping back to training, with relevant and responsive feedback throughout the cycle. For example, he said, lessons learned in combat are immediately applied to training and to new aviation equipment design.

Although the aviation community is combat-oriented, planning and rollout of new manned and unmanned aircraft to meet current and future needs is still a high priority, with design for crew survivability ranking at the top, he noted.

There is also an emphasis of empowering leaders from the bottom up and giving them more responsibility.

“There’s an effort of decentralization of leadership; a push-down of tasks and decision-making designed to enfranchise the small-unit leaders,” he said.

Although it is a busy time, he said the aviation community is not broken. Barclay noted that although dwell times in and out of theater are not good-about a 1:1 ratio for the aviation brigades-the enlistment and reenlistment rate is “doing well, despite not only the time deployed, but also attractive job offers from the contracting community.”

Barclay said that while improved technology is important, success still depends on good people. He said leaders “must keep the focus on our young men and women who voluntarily answer the call to duty and go in harm’s way over and over again.”

David Vergun (ANS)

$ 70 Billion Needed For Next 6 Months of War

January 13, 2009

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has outlined a $69.7 billion estimate of funds needed for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan from the spring through September, a sum he calls a “personal assessment” that includes $23 billion for new weapons but does not account for costs associated with a likely increase of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

In a Dec. 31 letter to the leaders of the four congressional defense committees, Gates said the estimate — which would bring total fiscal year 2009 war costs to $135.6 billion — “would fund operations through the remainder of the fiscal year; replace combat losses, worn-out or stressed equipment; and replenish supplies.”

Gates characterized the figure as a “personal estimate” and not the position of the Bush administration or the incoming Obama administration. “As such, I fully expect that the new administration will conduct a fresh review of these matters and provide an updated and more authoritative proposal” once in place, he writes.
Read the full report at www.insidedefense.com (paid subscription required)

12 things soldiers can expect in the new year

January 8, 2009
Naval Calendar 2009
Naval Calendar 2009

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From a new commander in chief to a revamped method of PT, soldiers will see a slew of changes in 2009. Some might make Army life tougher. Some might make it easier. But there’s no doubt it’s a packed agenda as the Army’s active and reserve forces shift gears in Iraq and face likely increased action in Afghanistan, along with keeping up with the day-to-day demands of running the service and meeting the needs of families on the home front. Army Times highlights the 12 most important developments, from pay to deployments.

Charleston Airlifters Deploy

January 7, 2009
Aviation Calendar 2009

Aviation Calendar 2009

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More than 140 Airmen from the 16th Airlift Squadron and the 437th Operations Support Squadron deployed to Southwest Asia from Charleston AFB Dec. 29 as part of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom.

For this deployment, the entire squadron is deploying to a single base where they will fly and manage missions in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan. The 16 AS will take control of the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron from the 15th Airlift Squadron based out of Charleston AFB, who will be returning home next month.

“I am excited,” said Maj. Todd McCoy, 437th Operations Group assistant director of operations. “We have trained for almost a year and are now ready to go out and do the mission.”

The 16 AS will be transporting service members and supplies in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan. They will also fly aeromedical evacuation missions.

This deployment marks the eighth time an entire C-17 squadron will deploy for an operation.

For some Airmen, this will be their first time deploying and leaving loved ones behind. Over the past ninety days they had a pre-deployment checklist to complete and a cluster of classes to take in order to prepare for their deployment.

“I feel well prepared,” said Airman 1st Class Thomas Farmer, 437th Operations Support Squadron. “The classes package the information really well.”
Positive reinforcement throughout the squadron has brought high morale to Airmen getting ready to deploy.

“It is almost overwhelming how supportive people have been from the First Sergeant to the spouses,” said Airman Farmer. “Now we can all get on that plane together and do our job.”

Ian Hochlaender

US Forces Seek Alternate Supply Routes for Afghanistan

January 7, 2009

Our military Aviation Calendar 2009 features 13 images of US and allied military aircraft in action. Buy the Aviation Calendar 2009 exclusively at the PatriArt Gallery for only $ 19.99. Worldwide delivery available.

Aviation Calendar 2009

Aviation Calendar 2009

As Pakistani troops apply renewed pressure on militants who have threatened a major supply line, military transportation officials are seeking alternate routes for supplying U.S. and NATO troops deployed in Afghanistan. 

Pakistani forces Dec. 30 renewed offensive operations targeting militants who, in recent weeks, have attacked some supply convoys that transit the Khyber Pass.

That supply route runs hundreds of miles from the Pakistani port city of Karachi to Peshawar in northwestern Pakistan and then through the Khyber Pass into Afghanistan. The Khyber Pass route provides about 75 percent of the U.S. supplies to troops in Afghanistan.

The Pakistanis’ action, which caused a temporary closure of the Khyber Pass supply route, was hailed in a joint statement issued by NATO’s International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces Afghanistan.

“We are pleased with the operation to clear out the insurgents in the areas adjacent to the pass, so that our supplies can get through unhindered,” the statement said. “This temporary delay will result in long-term gains for all that use that passage route.

“There is no immediate impact on our ability to provide supplies to the troops,” the statement concluded.

Still, military officials have been looking for other options. U.S. Transportation Command’s top officer, Gen. Duncan J. McNabb, traveled to several Central Asian countries in November to explore options for establishing added supply routes for Afghanistan operations, Transcom spokeswoman Cynthia Bauer said Dec. 31 during a telephone interview with American Forces Press Service. Transcom is based at Scott Air Force Base, Ill.

Mrs. Bauer declined to mention specific countries, but Central Asian nations north of Afghanistan include Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. Kyrgyzstan allows U.S. military cargo flights to use its airfields.

“We’ve been looking at alternate distribution routes for a while,” “[It’s] just good business practice and U.S. Transcom’s responsibility,” Mrs. Bauer said, especially given the unpredictability of war.

“This is a comprehensive enterprise to bring supplies to the troops in Afghanistan, accomplished through teamwork with commercial partners and working relationships with other governments,” Mrs. Bauer said.

Transcom would use private contractors for supply distribution, Mrs. Bauer said, noting this process would provide potential economic benefits for Central Asian countries and Eurasia’s Caucasus region. Local purchase of supplies needed in Afghanistan is another possibility.

Contractors crossing the Khyber Pass from Pakistan are trucking mostly nonmilitary items such as food and other basic needs to troops in Afghanistan, Mrs. Bauer said.

“You’re not seeing MRAPs” going through the Khyber Pass, she said, referring to the acronym for the mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles used in military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

U.S. forces in Afghanistan also have stockpiled supplies, Mrs. Bauer said, noting there’s no danger they’ll run out.

Gerry Gilmore (AFNS)

Gates Pledges “Active” Role as Obama Defense Secretary

December 13, 2008

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Tuesday that he had no intention of being a “caretaker” at the Pentagon and that he agreed with what he termed President-elect Barack Obama’s “responsible drawdown” plan for American combat troops from Iraq.

The defense secretary did not explicitly endorse Mr. Obama’s campaign pledge to withdraw all combat troops within 16 months.

Instead, Mr. Gates said he supported the broad outlines of Mr. Obama’s Iraq strategy and gave indications that he and the president-elect could reach common ground on troop withdrawals over the next year.

Read the full article at NYT

Obama’s National Security Advisor Speaks Up on Afghanistan

December 13, 2008
Falcon Fireworks

Falcon Fireworks

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OR

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James Jones, President-elect Barack Obama’s new national security adviser, said a U.S. troop surge in Afghanistan will work only if other changes take hold there, including a strengthening of the judiciary and national police force, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The WSJ quoted the retired Marine Corps general as saying that Mr. Obama’s campaign pledge to move as many as 10,000 U.S. troops from Iraq to Afghanistan must mesh with a concentrated international effort to bolster government and eradicate the vast heroin trade.

“You can always put more troops into Afghanistan,” he said. “But if that’s all you do, you will just be prolonging the problem.”

Military Preps for Afghanistan “Surge”

December 12, 2008
Aviation Calendar 2009

Aviation Calendar 2009

Our military Aviation Calendar 2009 features 13 images of US and allied military aircraft in action. Buy the Aviation Calendar 2009 exclusively at the PatriArt Gallery for only $ 19.99. Worldwide delivery available.

President-elect Obama has called Afghanistan the central front in the war on terror. As the government conducts three strategy reviews of the conflict there, unanswered questions remain — such as whether to negotiate with the Taliban and how Afghan troops might be called on to defend their country.

But even without the answers to those questions, the buildup in U.S. forces is already under way. At least 20,000 more American troops are expected to be sent to Afghanistan in 2009. Read the full NPR Report

John McCain Foresees Afghanistan Surge Success

December 9, 2008
Naval Calendar 2009

Naval Calendar 2009

The US Navy destroyer USS John S. McCain graces the front of our TEAMultimedia Naval Calendar 2009. Our Naval Calendar 2009 features 13 images of US Navy and allied naval forces in action. Buy the Naval Calendar 2009 exclusively at the PatriArt Gallery for only $ 19.99. Worldwide delivery available.

“Here in Afghanistan and in neighboring Pakistan we’re at a tough place, but we have confidence that working with our allies here, working with the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan, with the new effort and the new resources that will be brought in we can conclude these fights as successfully as we’re progressing in Iraq,” US Senator John S. McCain said while touring war-torn Afghanistan. Read the complete article.