Friday, February 15, 2013

Gen Dempsey and His Thoughts on the Afghan Mission

General Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently provided his views on how Afghanistan will look in 2014. He stated that the mission will dictate how many troops are in Afghanistan over the next few years.

Well, . . . okay. I sorta think that the number of troops that Obama determines will be in Afghanistan will dictate the mission. In other words he says "You can have no more than 10,000 troops in country by December 2014 and I want to see a steady decline getting to that number over the next 20 months". So I would bet that the ISAF planners have developed plans for 6,000, 8,000, and 10,000 U.S. forces in country - and once they get the word from Obama they launch into fine-tuning that respective plan. They are going to form the mission around the number of troops. That's just how it works.

Currently there are 66,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan (as of Jan 2013) with several more thousand from other Troop Contributing Nations (TCN). The missions of these troops over the next year or more are to keep the pressure on al-Qaida, train up the Afghan Army and police, and withdraw ISAF forces. The withdrawal of ISAF forces includes that equipment that will be returning to the respective ISAF countries - an immense amount considering it has been building up for the last decade.

Other than the special ops guys going after select targets and SOJTF-A working its ANASF, commando, and VSO programs there will be a significant decrease in U.S. military forces conducting combat operations. The Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) are slowly taking the lead in more and more areas of the country. In fact, many of the U.S. brigade combat teams (BCTs), called Security Force Assistance Brigades or SFABs, now deploying into country don't have the operational forces available to do more than provide Quick Reaction Forces (QRF), logistics, force protection, and combat enablers (fires, CAS, MEDEVAC, intel support, etc.) to their SFAATs.

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