Showing posts with label Dunford. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dunford. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

New Chairman for the JCS?

Barbara Starr is reporting that President Barack Obama could announce his pick for the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff this week. The front runner remains General Joseph Dunford, currently the commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps and a former commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. Looks like we will all become Red Sox fans in the very near future. Perhaps we will see the "Boston Mafia" that reigned in Afghanistan the last few years make more rank in the services! Warning: If you are briefing him and you got a New England accent he will query you on your knowledge of the BoSox! See the CNN story (April 27, 2015).

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Former COMISAF Now Commandant of Marine Corps

General Joe Dunford, the former Commander of the International Security Assistance Force (COMISAF) is now the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps. He is the 26th commandant, replacing General James Amos. Dunford also served in Iraq as the commander of the 5th Marine Regiment. Read more in "Dunford takes over for Amos as commandant of the US Marine Corps", Stars and Stripes,  October 17, 2014.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

COMISAF Issues Threat Advisory In Light of Karzai Verbal Attacks on the United States

A cautionary advisory has been issued to troops in Afghanistan by the Commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) because of recent anti-U.S. statements by President Karzai. Karzai has been coming out in recent weeks with several inflammatory statements and orders concerning the presence and operations of ISAF troops in Afghanistan. the ISAF commander is clearly concerned that there will be acts of violence (possibly insider attacks) against members of ISAF as a result of the Karzai remarks. Read more in "U.S. General Puts Troops on Security Alert After Karzai Remarks", The New York Times, March 13, 2013.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Karzai: Afghanistan's Erratic and Irrational Leader

Many of President Karzai's statements about the United States and ISAF have been highly questioned. The most recent bombshell was his charge that the United States and the Taliban were colluding to keep Afghanistan in a state of de-stabilization. This would provide an excuse for ISAF to remain in the country beyond 2014 as occupiers. Some of his more recent actions include ordering the removal of special operations Soldiers from Wardak province, forbidding his Army and police to call in ISAF close air support (CAS), and demanding the turnover of the Bagram detention center. All of these recent demands are counterproductive to helping the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) take over the lead in security operations. The ANSF continues to need ISAF air support (although their artillery is becoming more proficient), it's specialized units and the ALP need their SOF advisers, and the Afghan prison system is notorious for instances of abuse, torture, and the release of hardened Taliban fighters through corruption.

The new ISAF commander is in a difficult position. He needs to navigate the political minefield strewn about by Karzai very carefully. On one hand he needs to recognize the sovereignty of Afghanistan and on the other provide the military advise and assistance and conduct the military operations to keep the Taliban at bay until the ANSF is ready to take over 100% of the lead in security operations.

General Dunford has provided some insight into the perplexing Karzai problem in a recent news release by the U.S. Department of Defense. He cites the ongoing negotiations with the Afghans about the turnover of the detention facility in Parwan and the transition of security operations in Wardak to the Afghans that are taking place at the ministerial level. He states that ISAF relations are good with the Afghan Ministry of Interior (MoI) and Ministry of Defense (MoD).

Dunford has concerns about the Taliban information operations campaign - and indicates that ISAF has not done well in fighting the perception that the Western nations are occupiers in Afghanistan for the long-term and that ISAF is abandoning Afghanistan with it's withdrawal (two conflicting views but widely held). Dunford believes that there is a psychological aspect to the transition that has affected some of the Afghan leadership. You can read more of his comments on this topic in "Dunford: Uncertainty Poses Greatest Risk to Transition", American Forces Press Service, March 11, 2013.

It may be that the "uncertainty" cited by General Dunford is causing a "messaging problem" with the Afghan leader. However, a more likely story is that the irrational and erratic Karzai is conducting "appeasement operations" in hopes that the Taliban who do come to the negotiation table in the next few years will look favorably upon his hostile pronouncements against the Western allies. Other Afghan leaders have swung at the end of a rope from a Kabul lamp post after their foreign backers left and Karzai may not want that same fate.