Afghanistan Combatant Commander

Diamondback 2/2

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Inspired by the bullshit going on with General McCrystal and other bullshit going on with the war efforts in Afghanistan, I wanted to open the topic of if you were the “Combatant Commander” thread.

Here is the basic poop:

Your new CnC BHO has tasked you as the Afghanistan Combatant Commander. CnC wants your battle plan to carry out the war efforts with the following out come.

1. Destroy TB/AQ.
2. Established Afghan security forces.
3. Build solid pro USA relationship with Afghan Gov.
4. Exit Afghanistan by 2011.

Basic format is what type of doctrine you would use (i.e. COIN, CT, FID est.) How you would adjust the doctrine to fit the strategic objectives. What type of forces you would use to carry out the operational and tactical objectives (i.e. Type of SOF, type of Conventional, or what mixture of the two). What type of civilian assets would you incorporate into your battle plan? How would you meet each objective in your plan and more overly meet the objective of exiting Afghanistan by 2011.
 

pardus

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Dear CnC,

The four tasks you have assigned me are impossible to achieve, by myself or anyone else.
I therefore submit my resignation forthwith.

Respectively yours

Gen "Kill'm All" Pardus




:2c:
 

pardus

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General Faces Unease Among His Own Troops, Too

Riding shotgun in an armored vehicle as it passed through the heat and confusion of southern Afghanistan this month, an Army sergeant spoke into his headset, summarizing a sentiment often heard in the field this year.

“I wish we had generals who remembered what it was like when they were down in a platoon,” he said to a reporter in the back. “Either they never have been in real fighting, or they forgot what it’s like.”

The sergeant was speaking of Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal and the circle of counterinsurgents who since last year have been running the Afghan war, and who have, as a matter of both policy and practice, made it much more difficult for troops to use airstrikes and artillery in the fight against the Taliban.

No matter the outcome of his meeting on Wednesday in Washington over caustic comments he and his staff made about President Obama and his national security team, the general, or his successor, faces problems from a constituency as important as his bosses and that no commander wants to lose: his own troops.

As levels of violence in Afghanistan climb, there is a palpable and building sense of unease among troops surrounding one of the most confounding questions about how to wage the war: when and how lethal force should be used.

Since last year, the counterinsurgency doctrine championed by those now leading the campaign has assumed an almost unchallenged supremacy in the ranks of the American military’s career officers. The doctrine, which has been supported by both the Bush and Obama administrations, rests on core assumptions, including that using lethal force against an insurgency intermingled with a civilian population is often counterproductive.

Since General McChrystal assumed command, he has been a central face and salesman of this idea, and he has applied it to warfare in a tangible way: by further tightening rules guiding the use of Western firepower — airstrikes and guided rocket attacks, artillery barrages and even mortar fire — to support troops on the ground.

“Winning hearts and minds in COIN is a coldblooded thing,” General McChrystal was quoted as telling an upset American soldier in the Rolling Stone profile that has landed him in trouble. “The Russians killed 1 million Afghans, and that didn’t work.” COIN is the often used abbreviation for counterinsurgency.

The rules have shifted risks from Afghan civilians to Western combatants. They have earned praise in many circles, hailed as a much needed corrective to looser practices that since 2001 killed or maimed many Afghan civilians and undermined support for the American-led war.

But the new rules have also come with costs, including a perception now frequently heard among troops that the effort to limit risks to civilians has swung too far, and endangers the lives of Afghan and Western soldiers caught in firefights with insurgents who need not observe any rules at all.

Young officers and enlisted soldiers and Marines, typically speaking on the condition of anonymity to protect their jobs, speak of “being handcuffed,” of not being trusted by their bosses and of being asked to battle a canny and vicious insurgency “in a fair fight.”

Some rules meant to enshrine counterinsurgency principles into daily practices, they say, do not merely transfer risks away from civilians. They transfer risks away from the Taliban.

Before the rules were tightened, one Army major who had commanded an infantry company said, “firefights in Afghanistan had a half-life.” By this he meant that skirmishes often were brief, lasting roughly a half-hour. The Taliban would ambush patrols and typically break contact and slip away as patrol leaders organized and escalated Western firepower in response.

Now, with fire support often restricted, or even idled, Taliban fighters seem noticeably less worried about an American response, many soldiers and Marines say. Firefights often drag on, sometimes lasting hours, and costing lives. The United States’ material advantages are not robustly applied; troops are engaged in rifle-on-rifle fights on their enemy’s turf.

One Marine infantry lieutenant, during fighting in Marja this year, said he had all but stopped seeking air support while engaged in firefights. He spent too much time on the radio trying to justify its need, he said, and the aircraft never arrived or they arrived too late or the pilots were reluctant to drop their ordnance.

“I’m better off just trying to fight my fight, and maneuver the squads, and not waste the time or focus trying to get air,” he said.

Several infantrymen have also said that the rules are so restrictive that pilots are often not allowed to attack fixed targets — say, a building or tree line from which troops are taking fire — unless they can personally see the insurgents doing the firing.

This has lead to situations many soldiers describe as absurd, including decisions by patrol leaders to have fellow soldiers move briefly out into the open to draw fire once aircraft arrive, so the pilots might be cleared to participate in the fight.

Moments like those bring into sharp relief the grand puzzle faced by any outside general trying to wage war in Afghanistan. An American counterinsurgency campaign seeks support from at least two publics — the Afghan and the American. Efforts to satisfy one can undermine support in the other.

The restrictions on using fire support are part of a larger bundle of instructions, known as rules of engagement, that guide decisions on how troops can interact with Afghans, and how they can fight. The rules have shifted frequently over the years, becoming tighter and tighter.

Each change, often at the urging of the government of President Hamid Karzai, has shown the delicacy of the balance.

NATO needs the Afghan government’s support. But restrictions that are popular in Kabul have often alienated soldiers and Marines whose lives are at stake, including rules that limit when Western troops can enter Afghan homes. Such rules, soldiers and Marines say, concede advantages to insurgents, making it easier for them to hide, to fight, to meet and to store their weapons or assemble their makeshift bombs.

It is an axiom of military service that troops gripe; venting is part of barracks and battlefield life. Troops complain about food, equipment, lack of sleep, delays in their transportation and the weather where they work.

Complaints about how they are allowed to fight are another matter and can be read as a sign of deeper disaffection and strains within the military over policy choices. One Army colonel, in a conversation this month, said the discomfort and anger about the rules had reached a high pitch.

“The troops hate it,” he said. “Right now we’re losing the tactical-level fight in the chase for a strategic victory. How long can that be sustained?”

Whatever the fate of General McChrystal, the Pentagon’s Afghan conundrum remains. No one wants to advocate loosening rules that might see more civilians killed. But no one wants to explain whether the restrictions are increasing the number of coffins arriving at Dover Air Force Base, and seeding disillusionment among those sent to fight.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/23/world/asia/23troops.html?pagewanted=2


My :2c: will be later...
 

0699

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Scary. One of those things that has set the American Army apart since WW2 has been our ability to rain death down on our foes using indirect means like CAS, NGF, and artillery. If we're stopping the guys in the field from using these, it'll change a lot of things about the way we fight.
 

racing_kitty

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Since none of my deployments have taken me to Afghanistan, I can't really weigh in with an in-depth opinion on the current state of the ROE. However, to see my brothers-in-arms being hamstrung like this profoundly angers me.

Having some small familiarity with COIN, I can understand why some of the rules are in place. Some, not all. To include the office of the Afghan president would be a smart move, if the Afghan president weren't such a crackpot, with a major drug lord for a brother. As it looks to me, letting Karzai have as much say as he has had in establishing the ROE has been the same as letting the fox set the rules on how the hen house is guarded, only on an exponentially larger scale. US troops are the "hens" this time, and they are paying the price.

My question... how much of the ROE has been established while consulting with Karzai's minions, vs. having been established with an actual understanding of tribal beliefs and alliances? *Question is not meant to hijack the thread. Any enlightenment can be shared via PM.*
 
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7point62

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Is McChrystal setting the ROE or is the White House and Karzai? I know it's natural for troops to blame the CG, but how much of this is politically orchestrated from above...and beyond his control? In my experience the ROE was directed by command but dictated by nervous politicians. Will McChrystal's replacement come in and loosen those restrictions? I doubt it. If anything, any new CG is going to be harder pressed under the Administration's thumb.

And the New York Times giving vent to complaints about a restrictive ROE? It has always been the first to headline civilian casualties.
 

DA SWO

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I'd re-open the burger king and starbucks.
Make the FOBBIT's happy.
Reduce pesence patrols.
Declare victory.
Come home and write a tell all book.
 
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7point62

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It depends on how much of a sycophant I am willing to become. I mean, if they ask me how much of a sycophant I am, all I can ask is how much of a sycophant do they want me to be? :D
 

Diamondback 2/2

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First and foremost I would explain how the 2011 withdraw plan would inherently make the over all success of the mission messy as well as an iffy outcome. With limiting the amount of time for a complex operation with hard to accomplish objectives, you are asking for a half assed job over a long term quality outcome. I would request the ability to maintain a small amount of SOF (No US foot print) forces in Afghanistan until 2020, with a 10 year operational budget plan.

My over all doctrine would be a mix of CT, FID, COIN & UW. I would develop separate regional command structures with commanders who specialize in the particular doctrine need in that region. I would assign minimal SOF forces that specialize in the regional doctrine requirement (i.e. UW region would have ODA’s; COIN region would have CA/PSYOP ect.). I would reduce US military presence to extremely minimal forces, getting rid of massive supply/logistical needy units and reducing the amount of enemy target of opportunity units.

I would use major conventional light units as a QRF type force, pre stationed in Kuwait. I would use these units as a fast strike force on rapid call out for regional commanders. Allowing my regional commanders to quickly (24 hours) plus up and reduce their forces as needed. These forces would be utilized to attack the enemy and withdraw, limiting their needs for massive logistical support and vulnerability to become targets of opportunity.

I would also utilize SOF and conventional reconnaissance and surveillance units along the border regions, with ability to use air support and QRF forces to interdict border crossings and attack enemy movement. I would use every available Intel, recon, scout (eyes on) type unit in the US military for this mission.

I would ask to have the Pakistani military to assist in building, training and equipping the Afghan security forces. I would reduce the amount of US influence in the Afghan security structure and attempt to make it more regional specific (i.e. weapons, tactics and force structure). I would ask for DOD and DOS funding to persuade the Pakistanis as well as bring in special advisors to insure that the funding is being utilized correctly (i.e. the training is taking place, equipment is being issued and maintained).

I would also look to bring in civilian assets from other countries within the region to help improve the afghan government and infrastructure. I would look to assist the Afghan government in their efforts while keeping a low USA involvement visibility.
I would issue orders to my regional commanders to apply focus on destroying the enemy and ingraining the methods and strategies into the Afghan counter parts. I would allow these forces to push the fight hard and fast until 2011, where I would win lose or fail cut the conventional asset cord and redirect those forces.

In other words I would push for a SOF war, with large scale CT/AT operations conducted by SOF/Conventional forces. I would put my forces on the hunt and turn the heat up, with the understanding that the CT/AT will stop by 2011. Removing the massive forces from Afghanistan, reducing the visible US involvement and reducing the unneeded logistics, budgeting and US death toll.

My thoughts from my perfect little world, if I was General for a day! }:-)
 

car

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Is McChrystal setting the ROE or is the White House and Karzai? I know it's natural for troops to blame the CG, but how much of this is politically orchestrated from above...and beyond his control? In my experience the ROE was directed by command but dictated by nervous politicians. Will McChrystal's replacement come in and loosen those restrictions? I doubt it. If anything, any new CG is going to be harder pressed under the Administration's thumb.

And the New York Times giving vent to complaints about a restrictive ROE? It has always been the first to headline civilian casualties.

So.....Petraeus has been named as Mac's replacement. I think he understands COIN (since that still seems to be the watch word) and will do well.

But, wait....isn't GEN Petraeus already the CENTCOM CG? Isn't Afghanistan already in his AO? So, the administration wants a guy who has responsibility for operations in the largest MACOM on the planet to take personal responsibility for the Stan? Isn't that why there are other GO's under his command?
 

Headshot

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I would use 1,2, and 3 to turn the place into a giant parking lot to park the vehicles and aircraft on while executing 4.
 

Scotth

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So.....Petraeus has been named as Mac's replacement. I think he understands COIN (since that still seems to be the watch word) and will do well.

But, wait....isn't GEN Petraeus already the CENTCOM CG? Isn't Afghanistan already in his AO? So, the administration wants a guy who has responsibility for operations in the largest MACOM on the planet to take personal responsibility for the Stan? Isn't that why there are other GO's under his command?

I was thinking the same thing and questioning why the Interim tag wasn't mentioned.
 

car

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OK - here's a greybeard's opinon.......

Don't have to teach them how to fight - they're better at it than we are.

Focus on tribal/familial loyalties and find a "common cause." This takes a long time, as you long tabbers know, and the American public (ergo American politicians) have no patience - lack of forethought. But it must be done. If you can't figger out the way the tribal leaders (therefore, the tribes) think, then you're pissing into the wind. If you can find a common goal between the tribes, then you have a stepping stone from which to start.

Establishing Afghan security forces - FID mission. Duh. Not sexy, but very complicated. Has to be done, and has to be done with vigor!

The relationship between our government and the Afghan government will last, and be as strong, as the Afghan governemnt wishes it to last. Our government (current administration) has no balls.

2011 - That's a wet dream.
 
S

Smurf

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Gen. McChrystal Relieved

"Gen. Stanley McChrystal, under fire for comments made in a Rolling Stone profile, has resigned as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan. Gen. David Petraeus, presently head of the U.S. Central Command, which oversees the operation in Afghanistan, has been nominated to take over the position but must first face Senate confirmation hearings.

The changes, announced by the president Wednesday afternoon, appeared to receive bipartisan support in Congress. They followed a morning meeting at the White House between McChrystal and Obama to discuss the general's incendiary remarks."

http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/0.../06/23/mcchrystal-obama-meet-outcome-unclear/
 
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7point62

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So.....Petraeus has been named as Mac's replacement. I think he understands COIN (since that still seems to be the watch word) and will do well.

But, wait....isn't GEN Petraeus already the CENTCOM CG? Isn't Afghanistan already in his AO? So, the administration wants a guy who has responsibility for operations in the largest MACOM on the planet to take personal responsibility for the Stan? Isn't that why there are other GO's under his command?

This is exactly why Petraeus never entered my mind as a potential replacement for Mac.
 

JBS

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You are an Afghani. You are not a part of the Taliban, but you've seen their rise to power, and their brutality. You've also seen the Americans come. You've seen quite a bit of death and destruction, and for the most part tried to stay far away from the heat, since it came down.



You hear the Americans are leaving in 2011. It is presently the middle of 2010.


You can choose to side with the foreigners who are leaving in 6 to 12 months, and bet the house on the Americans, or you can lay low, and start gradually looking the other way and eventually supporting the Taliban who live there, with you, and who aren't going anywhere ever.

This is the scenario that some people put together once the talk of a "withdrawal date" as a fixed time frame started to circulate.
 
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7point62

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Hahahaha, the absolute worst thing you could ever do to fuck up any COIN operation is announce your departure date. Might as well just GTFO right now.
 
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