Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Daily News Snippets (Dec 24, 2014)

Contractor Overbilled Pentagon. Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems over billed the Pentagon for work performed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Firm will repay $27.5 million to settle over billing charges. (Defense One, Dec 22, 2014).

Fixing America's Aid to Afghanistan. Jordan Olmstead, a freelance writer and Research Affiliate at the Southwest Initiative for the Study of Middle Eastern Conflict, says that the US needs a more strategic approach in providing assistance to the two troubled countries. He states that "An ideal aid program would be guided by four key principles: targeted, conditional, tiered, and post hoc." The Diplomat, Dec 23, 2014).

General John Campbell, COMISAF, accompanied Afghan Army Chief General Sher Mohammad Karimi on a visit to the Pakistani Chief of the Army General Raheel Sharif in Islamabad, Pakistan. The meeting focused on coordinating Pakistan-Afghanistan military and counter-terrorism operations on both sides of the border. The generals agree that their subordinate commanders will begin meeting immediately to further coordinate border area security operations. (Editors Note: Up to this point the Afghan military representatives to previous border meetings have been outclassed by their Pakistan counterparts. And outmaneuvered.) Read more in a new release by ISAF News, Dec 23, 2014.

Pay Raise for Army. U.S. Army Soldiers will receive a one-percent increase in basic pay in January. Read more in a news release by DoD News, Dec 22, 2014.

Broke Afghan Government. The Kerry-brokered Afghan power-sharing agreement hasn't resolved any problems, or appointed any ministers. Read more in "Afghanistan's Still-Broken Government", The American Conservative, December 23, 2014.

COMISAF Spells It Out. Are you wondering what the mission is in Afghanistan? How well are the Afghan National Security Forces doing? General John Campbell spells it out in an article found on the website of Defense News (Dec 23, 2014).

China Hacking Afghan Gov Websites? It appears that someone in China is hacking the websites of the Afghan government. Read more in "Is China hacking Afghan government sites", The Hill, December 22, 2014. See also "China Blamed for Operation Poisoned Helmand Attack on Afghan Sites", Info  Security Magazine,  December 23, 2014.

Analysis of Peshawar School Massacre. John Wilson has penned a piece for Eurasia Review (Dec 22, 2014) entitled "Peshawar Massacre: What Now?" where he explains the complex situation of "Good" and "Bad" Taliban and how the Pakistanis seem fixated on establishing "strategic depth" by continuing to back the Afghan Taliban in its fight against the Afghan government.

Afghan Film Breaks New Ground. A film depicting life in northern Afghanistan has been released that depicts the harsher side of Afghan culture. Read more in "The Afghan film where a Buzkashi game decides a woman's future", BBC News Asia, December 23, 2014.

Taliban Smelling Blood. The ISAF information operations machine tells us that all is well, the Afghans are in the lead, the transition is a success, and that we merely have to educate the Afghans on how to properly fill out their MoD 14s so their logistics system will work. Others, however, are not buying the PR offensive of paradise in the Hindu Kush. Read "Afghanistan: From Bad to Worse", Asia Sentinel, December 23, 2014.

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