DIVIDEND$. The August 2015 monthly newsletter (really just a one page PDF) for the Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan (CSTC-A) is now posted online. Topics include joint budgeting process, rule of law conference (attended by Afghans and EF3 advisors), and anti-corruption. http://www.rs.nato.int/images/media/150821augustdividends.pdf
COIN and FETs in Afghanistan. Gabrielle Cook has conducted an thorough analysis of the Female Engagement Teams (FETs) performance. Read Counterinsurgency and Female Engagement Teams in the War in Afghanistan. E-International Relations, August 16, 2015.
DoD Dir - Language & Culture Program. The Department of Defense has release a new directive entitled Defense Language, Regional Expertise, and Culture Program (DLRECP), DoD Directive No. 5160.41E, August 21, 2015.
JMRC - A Lab for a Complex World. The Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC) at Hohenfels, Germany has an excellent reputation for training up European Operational Mentor and Liaison Teams or OMLTs (and later the SFAATs) for their subsequent deployment to Afghanistan as advisors. (I observed two training rotations during 2013 and I was very impressed). Advisor training for NATO has shifted to the Joint Forces Training Center (JFTC) in Poland and JMRC has a change in focus. A recent article posted online provides us an update in "A Laboratory for Preparing Forces to Win in a Complex World", by William R. Orkins, Small Wars Journal, August 20, 2015.
"What Are We Still Doing in Afghanistan?" A combat tourist (okay, he is a news photojournalist) gives us his take on his recent trip to Afghanistan - photos and all. (Slate, August 19, 2015).
Expatriates Sticking it Out in Kabul. Despite the pullout of most international troops in 2013-2014, increased success of the Taliban on the battlefield, inability of the ANDSF to defeat the insurgency, and continued bombings and attacks in Kabul a determined group of expatriates have decided not to leave. Read more in "There's Something Here - The Expatriates Sticking it Out in Afghanistan", Radio Free Europe, August 20, 2015.
CoC of Army Field Support Battalion - Afghanistan. There was a change of command for the Army Field Support Battalion - Afghanistan held on August 5th. Read more in "Susnis hands over command of AFSBn-Afghanistan", DVIDS, August 19, 2015.
Australian Advisors. There are about 400 Australian Defence Force personnel deployed across Afghanistan in a variety of roles as part of Operation Highroad, supporting the NATO-led Resolute Support mission. Read about three of the advisors working in the EOD field in a very short news release by EPE, August 17, 2015. Not much text but some good photos.
EF5 from DCOS-SPT to DCOS-SA. The Essential Function 5 (Force Sustainment) advisors have transitioned from Deputy Chief of Staff - Support to Deputy Chief of Staff - Security Assistance.
DoD IG Audit. The DoD Inspector General's office will be conducting an audit in August 2015 to determine whether contracting officer's representatives were properly appointed and trained and were able to effectively perform their oversight responsibilities for contracts in Afghanistan. See a DoD IG letter announcing the audit.
PTSD and Women. Robert Gebelhoff has penned an article entitled "Military women are at the same risk of PTSD as men, study finds", The Washington Post, August 21, 2015.
Origins of the "Woobie". The Woobie or poncho liner was the greatest invention ever fielded by the U.S. Army. It is warm (even when wet), lightweight, easy to pack, multi-purposed and revered by infantrymen. The poncho liner has been a staple of deployed life since it was first introduced in Vietnam. I never called it a "Woobie" - just called it a poncho liner. Hmmm. Learn more in an article posted on Task & Purpose (August 18, 2015).
Afghan ANA Officer Missing in Australia. The ANA member was attending a training course at the Asia Pacific Center for Military Law. He was last seen in the foyer of his hotel in Sydney waiting for relatives. (Khaama Press, Aug 18, 2015).
JIEDDO Becomes JIDA. The Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization or JIEDDO has now morphed into the Joint Improvised Threat-Defeat Agency or JIDA. JIDA is charged with targeting threats that are improvised but not necessarily limited to explosive. Read more in "JIDA: The next chapter of anti-improvised weapons efforts", C4ISR & Networks, August 18, 2015.