Showing posts with label Campbell. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Campbell. Show all posts

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Change of Command for Resolute Support Mission

On March 2nd, 2016 the Resolute Support Headquarters conducted a Change of Command ceremony. General John Campbell passed command of the NATO mission in Afghanistan to General John Nicholson. General Campbell spent 18 months at the senior NATO commander in Afghanistan. He succeeded General Joe Dunford (now chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff). At the end of 2014 Campbell oversaw the transition from the ISAF mission to the Resolute Support Mission. Nicholson begins his fourth tour in Afghanistan.

Read some related news articles and videos on the CoC Ceremony:

"Dunford Arrives in Kabul for Change of  Command, Consultations with Afghans", DoD News, Mar 1, 2016.

"A new U.S. commander takes over at deteriorating Afghanistan war", Los Angeles Times, Mar 2, 2016.

"NATO Secretary General welcomes change of command in Afghanistan", NATO, March 2, 2016.

"New U.S. General Takes Command of Coalition Forces in Afghanistan", The New York Times, March 2, 2016.

Change of Command at Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, Resolute Support, March 2, 2016. 2-minute long video posted on YouTube of the CoC ceremony in Kabual.

Gen. Campbell's Last Media Engagement in Afghanistan, Resolute Support, March 2, 2016. 7-minute long video posted on YouTube by RSM.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Gen John Campbell Moving On

Campbell Completes Command Tour. General John Campbell, the last commander of ISAF and first commander of Resolute Support, is completing his tour of duty in Afghanistan and will soon retire from the U.S. Army. By all accounts he has done a fine job. Read a short biography about General Campbell.

Final Comments. General Campbell was interviewed by Michelle Tan of Army Times on February 22, 2016 where he provided his observations of the Afghan conflict saying that 'A lot of challenges remain'.

Gen Campbell - Receives Afghan Award. The commander of the Resolute Support Mission, General John Campbell, was recently awarded a highly regarded Afghan medal by the President of Afghanistan. Read more in "President Ghani Confers High State Medal on General John Campbell"Khaama Press, February 26, 2016.

Sunday, January 3, 2016


Gen Campbell on NATO's Commitment and Performance of ANDSF. COMRS or Commander Resolute Support has provided us with his perspective (think positive) on the situation in Afghanistan. He acknowledges that over the past year the persistence of the Taliban, growth of ISIS, continuing presence of al-Qaida, and insurgents pushed by a Pakistan-offensive into Afghanistan have presented challenges to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF). Yet he points to ability of the ANDSF to roll back Taliban gains (I guess he is ignoring places like Helmand, Bakdakshan, Nuristan, and other provinces), the formation of a new government (yes, he means the dysfunctional National Unit Government known as "NUG"), and the initiatives of the Afghan government and security forces to address corruption (Ummm, SMH), promote human rights and gender equality (which ISAF and now RS says about the Afghans each and every year). All in all this end of year pep talk includes all the important phrases such as "continuing improvement", "remain optimistic", "the insurgents cannot win militarily", etc. This assessment was issued just a week or so prior to six U.S. personnel being killed within the outskirts of the largest U.S. base in Afghanistan. Read "Commitment to Afghan National Defense and Security Forces is Working", Defense News, by General John Campbell, December 13, 2015.

Adm Stavridis on Afghanistan. The retired Admiral - now working at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy as "Dean", tells us that all is not lost in Afghanistan and he recommends 5 steps we should take to improve the situation. I think he is overly optimistic and somewhat influenced by the holiday spirit. (The World Post, Dec 23, 2015).

"Losing the War at Every Level". Anthony Cordesman injects some reality into the assessment of the Afghan conflict in his report entitled "Afghanistan a Year After Transition: Losing the War at Every Level", Center for Strategic & International Studies, December 22, 2015.

The Aftermath of Kunduz. Residents of Kunduz now live in constant fear that the Taliban will come back, retaking the city (if only for just days), and wreaking havoc once again. Read more in "Afghanistan: After Kunduz", by Patricia Gossman, The Diplomat, December 16, 2015.

Afghanistan - Another 30 Years War? Mark Thompson, writing for (Dec 22, 2015) says we might be in for another 15 years of conflict in Afghanistan. Read "Fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan Echoes the 30 Years War".

An Assessment & Recommendations. Michael O'Hanlon gives us his take on the current situation and proscribes the way forward (what he would do if King) in "Why Americans Are Still Dying in Afghanistan", Politico Magazine, December 22, 2015. (Caution: Cheerleader at work!). Read an article by O'Hanlon entitled "Afghanistan - the case for staying", USA Today, December 28, 2015. (More of the same). O'Hanlon does, however, point out that we should maintain TAAC's at each of the six ANA corps as well as some selected brigades. Good insight to pick up on that and spot on. Why we pulled our brigade level Security Force Assistance (SFA) teams off is a mystery. And to pull the corps level advisory platforms off of the 203rd and 215th ANA corps is simply bewildering!

Essay on Ground Combat. The U.S. has an effective military that can fight extremely well in conflicts such as Desert Storm and the initial weeks of Operation Iraqi Freedom. It has not done so well in conflicts that are essentially irregular, hybrid, or insurgent in nature (as in Afghanistan). David E. Johnson, a historian with RAND Corporation, provides us with his thoughts in "Ground Combat", The Cipher Brief, December 20, 2015.

Rule of Law Culture. A 320-page publication and practical guide by the United States Institute for Peace (USIP) entitled Towards a Rule of Law Culture explores effective responses to justice and security challenges. (USIP, Washington, DC, December 2015).

What of the Taliban? Chayankika Saxena, a research associate at the Society for Policy Studies in New Delhi, provides her assessment of the current state of the Taliban - to include aspects including peace talks, ISIS, Pakistan, Helmand province, public support, and more. Read more in "What has become of Taliban in Afghanistan?", South Asia Monitor, December 29, 2015.

What is BPC? The U.S. has military members spread across the globe in an attempt to increase the security and counterterrorism capabilities of our allies. This type of mission has been called many different names to include Foreign Internal Defense (FID), Counterinsurgency (COIN), Security Cooperation (SC), Security Force Assistance (SFA), and many more. Each has its own niche to fill although the terms could really be interchangeable. One such term in 'Building Partner Capacity' or BPC. Read an explanation of BPC in What is "Building Partner Capacity?": Issues for Congress, Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report, December 18, 2015. This 64-page report is posted on the website of the Federation of American Scientists (FAS). Pages 20-23 specifically address BPC in Afghanistan from 2001-2015.

UW - Can the U.S. Government and Military Accept It? Dave Maxwell, a retired SF officer and now Associate Director of the Center for Security Studies in the School of Foreign Service of Georgetown University, is one of the Special Force's community's foremost experts on Unconventional Warfare. In this article he talks about the recent passage of the NDAA of 2016 and verbiage in it that proscribes a more robust involvement of the govt and military in UW and counter-UW activities. Read "Congress has Embraced Unconventional Warfare: Will the US Military and the Rest of the US Government?", Small Wars Journal, December 29, 2015.

India-Pakistan Detente - Good for Afghanistan? Colin Cookman has penned an article entitled "How India and Pakistan Detente Could Carry Over into Afghanistan", World Politics Review, December 21, 2015. He examines the possibilities - but let's not hold our breath.

Afghanistan's Various Challenges. "Security in Afghanistan deteriorated in 2015, while the national government struggles to promote national unity and economic development". New Europe provides an analysis in this Dec 23, 2015 article.

CVE and Gender Inequality. Julia Santucci, she works women's issues at the State Department, has penned an article entitled "Countering Violent Extremism Means Countering Gender Inequality", War on the Rocks, December 16, 2015. Not so sure there really is a connection; but she seems intent on spreading the message.

Don't Abandon Afghanistan. Amb. Ron Neumann, Vanda Felbab-Brown, and David Sedney collaborate on a piece in Foreign Policy (Dec 22, 2015) encouraging the U.S. to stay the course. Read "Now is not the time to abandon Afghanistan".

Army War College. Adam Davidson recently spent time in a classroom at the United States Army War College at Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Read his observations in "Rebuilding the Middle Class the Army Way", The New York Times Magazine, December 15, 2015.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Gen Campbell Chats With U.S. Senate

General John Campbell, the commander of the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, was in Washington this past week making the rounds. One of those stops was his appearance before a committee of the U.S. Senate where he gave an update on the situation in Afghanistan and answered the questions posed to him. Some questions were softballs while others were hard-hitting. One of the most touchy topics was the recent bombing of a Doctor's Without Borders hospital in Kunduz City where over 20 non-combatants were killed during an AC-130 attack. Another thorny issue was the taking of a provincial capital by the Taliban (Kunduz City) - certainly not a good news for some who would like to say that the Afghan security forces are getting better. In fact, General Campbell made it known that he supports a plan that would leave more troops in Afghanistan than is currently planned after 2015 and 2016. You can watch a video (more than 2 hours long) of his testimony before the Senate Armed Services committee held on Tuesday, October 6th, 2015. Several media outlets reported on his testimony. Read more in a news report by U.S. News & World Report, October 6, 2015. See also "Top US General in Afghanistan: Afghan Security Forces Could Potentially Collapse", The Diplomat, October 7, 2015. Not to be outdone, the U.S. DoD has issued its press release on the testimony with "Afghanistan at 'Critical Juncture', Campbell says", Defense Media Activity, October 8, 2015.