Mark Thompson writes about the the War on Terror in "The Long, Hard Slog Continues", Time.com, November 23, 2014.
If you are looking for a job in Kabul, Afghanistan the U.S. State Department is hiring for positions at the Embassy. Some jobs available include supply supervisor, administrative clerk, residence manager, regional security technician, bodyguard, facilities, protocol, security investigator.
Reuters is reporting that the target of the bombing in Paktika province was a local police commander - Bawar Khan. There were about 500 people watching the volleyball match where the bombing occurred. (Reuters, November 24, 2014).
A neat video showing a night-time parachute jump from a C-130 (?) by members of the 7th Special Forces Group at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. A USASOC PAO video uploaded onto YouTube on November 24, 2014.
Read the ISAF Joint Command news release on the two ISAF casualties from a November 24, 2014 enemy attack.
Georgia. The nation of Georgia has been a consistent and reliable ally in Afghanistan. It has also worked very closely with NATO in other areas as well. Georgia may well be on the road to NATO membership - which will certainly cause tension with Russia. Read more in "Georgia Promised Eventual NATO Admission", Silk Road Reporters, November 24, 2014.
Insurgencies throughout the ages have been started over a number of issues - many of them religious. a recent essay by Jason Klocek expounds upon this theme in "Rethinking the Role of Religion in Counterinsurgency", Cicero Magazine, November 24, 2104.
1st Brigade Combat Team returns from Afghanistan. Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment served as the Theater Reserve Force in Afghanistan for 9 months. (Fayetteville Observer, November 24, 2014).
The new SECDEF will not be confirmed in 2014 - Senate members seem to think that it is 'logistically impossible'. (Defense News, November 24, 2014). NBC News reports that Hagel's Predecessors resented the White House micromanagement. The Washington Post reports that the White House is looking for a stronger hand to manage difficult problems. Max Boot provides an analysis of a possible national security shakeup (with the news of Hagel's departure). (Commentary Magazine, November 24, 2014). Hagel's successor should be named shortly (the Senate will hold confirmation hearings).
China. Teshu Singh, a senior research officer for the Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS), has penned an article entitled "China's Endgame in Afghanistan - Analysis", Eurasia Review, November 24, 2014.
The Navy's Sexual Assault Prevention & Response (SAPR) Task Force has decided to temporarily halt (allowing time for a re-write) the production of a training video that would feature the actor and comedian Bill Cosby. See "Navy Quietly Scuttles Bill Cosby Sexual Assault Prevention Video", Duffel Blog, November 25, 2014.
Night Raids. Ankit Panda writes in The Diplomat about the return of night raids - a controversial tool in the fight against insurgents in Afghanistan. This should increase the operational flexibility of NSOCC-A in the conduct of special operations (CT) in 2015 and beyond. A commentator on Afghanistan, Gary Owen, writes "Afghanistan Never Really Banned Night Raids in the First Place", Vice News, November 24, 2014. See also "Report: Afghanistan lifts ban on night raids", Stars and Stripes, November 24, 2014.
On Monday a White House spokesman, Josh Earnest, quibbled with reporters on the shift in the Afghanistan mission. A few days earlier the press was alive with reports that Obama had signed a "secret order" authorizing the use of combat troops and close air support to assist the ANSF if needed; extending this type of operation for yet another year (2015). Earnest maintained that there is no change - other than what was planned in the transition from OEF to Resolute Support (SFA and limited CT). I watched the news conference on C-SPAN - he had most of the audience perplexed with his response. He is a smooth talker but like most White House spokesmen - lacks credibility. Read more in "Role of U.S. Troops in Afghanistan to Shift to Training: White House", The New York Times, November 24, 2014.
The U.S. Army has published an updated Army Regulation 525-93, Army Deployment and Redeployment, November 12, 2014.
The U.S. Army has published ATP 3-07.31, Multi-Service Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for Peace Operations, 1 November 2014.
A State Department DIPNOTE entitled "Advancing the Rule of Law Provides Protection for Women and Girls in Afghanistan", November 24, 2014.
The Air Force is worried about the job stresses suffered by intelligence analysts working with drones and other ISR assets. Read "Leaders monitor burnout among intel analysts", Air Force Times, November 22, 2014.
Geospatial intelligence webcast. To gain some clarity on the value of geospatial intelligence watch a webcast provided by C4ISR Networks (November 19, 2014).
Abdullah Abdullah, the new (sort of elected) Chief Operating Officer for Afghanistan, says that forming a cabinet will take more time. See "No Discordance with Ghani, New Cabinet Soon: Abdullah", Tolo News, November 15, 2014.
The Navy SEALs are getting quite a lot of press recently about the mission that killed Osama bin Laden. Unfortunately it is in the form of unauthorized "tell all" books where individuals on the mission go public. In an attempt to get out in front of the news cycle and have the media concentrate on the issues and stories that the SEAL command want aired in public they have formed a new elite SEAL unit. Read more in "Navy Forms Elite New SEAL Team to Write Best-Selling Tell-All Books", The Onion, November 7, 2014.
UK Royal Air Force personnel have now departed Kandahar Air Base ending British operations there. (Airforce-technology.com, November 25, 2014).
Melanne Verveer, the Executive Director for the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security, has penned a piece in The Huffington Post (25 Nov 14) entitled "Moving the Needle Forward on Women's Rights in Afghanistan". A conference was just held days ago in Norway called the Oslo Symposium on Advancing Women's Rights and Empowerment in Afghanistan. The article talks about the conference and the importance of women's rights in Afghanistan.
What Will Out-of-Work Intel Analysts Do? Now that the war in Iraq ended in 2011 (sort of) and the Afghan war is coming to a rapid close there are a lot of young intelligence analysts out there looking for work. You know the type - contractors on the FOBs working at the brigade headquarters tucked away in the S-2 or on the even bigger FOBs working in the RC J-2 shops. Young, scruffy looking (jeans, sweatshirts, running shoes, long hair, beards) kids that had four years in the Army, got out as a SP4, who are now enjoying the ability to not salute officers or listen to SGMs, and are now making the big bucks as a contractor. They knew where the secret parties were and talked to each other in hushed tones about who just got a "resupply" delivered. Well the future does not look too bleak for them. The global geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) market is expecting to expand dramatically. Read more in "GEOINT market to reach $9.7 billion in 10 years", C4ISR, November 25, 2014.
What Will Out-of-Work Drone Operators Do? The future for these folks looks promising. Read "Get a Drone Degree, Make $100,000", AOL Jobs, November 25, 2014.