Sunday, August 2, 2015

Afghan News Snippets

Alcohol Free Beer in Kabul. It appears that a new drinking trend is taking hold among Kabul residents. Learn more in "Kabul Vendors Buzzing Over Alcohol-Free Beer", Radio Free Europe, July 27, 2015. Perhaps some enterprising capitalists can bring some in past the guys guarding the RS HQ gates.

National Defense Magazine. The August 2015 issue of National Defense is now online.  55 pages of defense news a click away! JSTARS, Geospatial-Intelligence, Ground Robots, Drones, and more.

Troop Levels in Afghanistan 2007-2014. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has published a report entitled Department of Defense Contractor and Troop Levels in Iraq and Afghanistan: 2007-2014, by Heidi Peters, Moshe Schwartz, and Lawrence Kapp, July 22, 2015. Posted on the website of the Federation of American Scientist.

War Funding Explained. The Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) has produced a 4-minute long video that explains the past, present and future of war funding. Posted on YouTube June 1, 2015.

Drones and Contractors. The Air Force has a shortage of drone pilots and 'screeners'. It has to rely on private contractors to fill in the empty seats. Read more in "When you mess up, people die: civilians who are drone pilot's extra eyes", The Guardian, July 30, 2015.

Overhauling U.S. Security Assistance. A recent article from Brookings suggests that it is time to overhaul the U.S. security assistance program. According to the authors we are throwing good money after bad when we emphasize "security" over "governance". Not too far off the mark - just look at how much we have spent propping up the security forces of the ineffective and corrupt governments of Afghanistan and Iraq over the past decade or more. (, July 22, 2015).

Kabul Lacks Coherent War Strategy? An article in Tolo News (July 27, 2015) cites several commentators who have offered sharp criticism of the national unit governments handling of the insurgency since taking power in late 2014.

COIN a Failure? Not so much. Tom Ordeman, an American risk management specialist, provides his perspective on the perception that COIN is a failure in "No, COIN is Not a Proven Failure", Small Wars Journal, July 28, 2015. The ensuing comments below the article about COIN in Afghanistan are worth reading.

How to Transition from FID to UW. Sometimes Foreign Internal Defense (FID) doesn't work. Sometimes the very related endeavor called Security Force Assistance (SFA) doesn't work either. (Read about the difference between FID and SFA). So what do we do when FID (or SFA) doesn't work out? Just start an Unconventional Warfare campaign! Read From Foreign Internal Defense to Unconventional Warfare: Campaign Transitions When US-Support to Friendly Governments Fails, by Jason Martinez, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, May 2015.

Lessons Learned? Learn all about the resources available to the Army. (Stand To, Jul 30, 2015).

Afghanistan and the Iran Nuclear Deal. Michael Kugelman thinks that Afghanistan is a big winner in the U.s. - Iran deal (War on the Rocks, Jul 29, 2015).

NATO's Comprehensive Approach in Afghanistan. "The international effort in Afghanistan has been plagued by the presence of too many intervening actors with different interests and approaches going about their specific tasks without proper coordination with each other." NATO, in an attempt to solve this problem, adopted the 'Comprehensive Approach' (CA). Read more in NATO's Comprehensive Approach in Afghanistan: Origins, Development, and Outcome, by Sverrir Steinsson, July 26, 2015. Posted on E-International Relations.

Central Asia's Stake in Afghan War. Tamin Asey thinks that the Central Asian states need to become more involved in the Afghan War since Afghan forces are fighting Central Asian extremists. (The Diplomat, Jul 29, 2015).

British Troops in Kabul Profiled. A news story in the Peterborough Telegraph (July 28, 2015) provides information on the British mission in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Assessing Kandahar Airfield. Military engineers from the Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan (CSTC-A) and advisors from the U.S. Department of Commerce are working with Afghan counterparts to turn over buildings and facilities at Kandahar Airfield. (DVIDS, Jul 28, 2015).

US-Pakistan Relations. The Atlantic Council has a private briefing with a former foreign minister of Pakistan. Chats on the Pakistan economy, India-Pakistan relations, and talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

Video - Georgia, NATO, and Afghanistan. At this time Georgia is the second largest contributor to the Resolute Support mission. Learn more in a short 2-min NATO video entitled "NATO tests Georgia's best", posted on YouTube July 30, 2015.

Culture - Bacha Bazi. A columnist, Maya Wesby, explores the world of crossdressing boys and girls in Afghanistan (Newsweek, July 25, 2015). The are benefits and pitfalls with the custom - disguised daughters attend better schools and play sports; dressed as girls, poor young boys become sexual slaves.

Corruption Breeds Violence. Michael Coleman writes about the experiences of Sarah Chayes (who lived in Afghanistan for a number of years) with corruption and the Afghan government. (The Washington Diplomat, Jul 29, 2015).

Intelligence of Marine Corps Officers Declining? Brookings has come out with a study that finds that the quality of officers in the Marines, as measured by test scores, has steadily and significantly declined in the past 34 years. There were fears that when the U.S. ended the draft in 1973 and transitioned to an all-volunteer military that the quality of enlisted recruits would decline. However, contrary to popular thought the intelligence level of enlisted significantly increased. Read more in "Understanding the steady and troubling decline in the average intelligence of Marine Corps officers",, July 24, 2015.

New PT Standards for Air Force. The Air Force, recognizing that many of its members have developed a paunch, has adjusted how they measure the waistline for the physical fitness test. Read "Air Force Announces New 'Tape Under the Fold' Regulation for PT Test", The Duffel Blog.

Security Cooperation and the Army Reserves. The U.S. is attempting to influence events around the world and one way of doing this is through Security Cooperation (SC). The United States Army Reserve plays a role in SC - read more in "USAR Security Cooperation", by Benjamin Flosi posted on Small Wars Journal, July 30, 2015.

Women in Combat. A new book explores women's challenges in combat zones. Read a book review of the book - Women at War -  by Patricia Kime at Military Times (July 27, 2015).

Female Ranger Students. It appears that two females currently in Ranger School are nearing the finish line. They recently passed through the Mountain Phase and are entering the Swamp Phase (Florida). Read more in a news report by Army Times (Jul 31, 2015).

Female Marine LtCol Wants Change. A female Marine officer, Kate Germano, is advocating higher standards for women Marines and she is getting into trouble for her views. (The New York Times, Jul 28, 2015).

Women and Special Operations. The head of U.S. Special Operations Command (General Votel) and Eric Olson (former SOCOM Cdr) talk about women in Special Operations and the Cultural Support Teams (CSTs). (Defense One, July 24, 2015).

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.