Special ops, CIA first in, last out of Afghanistan

Marauder06

Intel Enabler
Verified SOF
Joined
Sep 9, 2006
Messages
10,717
Location
CONUS
Interesting reading, lots of experience talking in that article (Mulholland, Sacolick, McChrystal).
 

Viper1

Special Forces
Verified SOF
Joined
Apr 9, 2008
Messages
2,441
Location
Cajun Land
Good article. McChrystal's comments were quite interesting when he mentioned DA being part of a "holistic approach". Agree completely, yes DA has it's place. Can't pass out soccer balls or build schools when you're getting shot at, as my CO likes to say.

I'm wondering about the pace of withdrawl over the next couple years. Already some units are sending Soldiers back early and expecting commander's to do more with less. If things get nasty, will there be a second surge and a lengthened timeline or will the burden be placed on SOF, CIA, and Afghans (along with conventional forces still in country) to hold the line for the 2014 date?
 

Rabid Badger

Special Forces
Verified SOF
Joined
May 20, 2007
Messages
3,173
Location
The 'Ville
If things get nasty, will there be a second surge and a lengthened timeline or will the burden be placed on SOF, CIA, and Afghans (along with conventional forces still in country) to hold the line for the 2014 date?

Our (SOF) mistake in the first place came from turning over SOF missions to conventional forces, we took DA from Bagram to Baghdad. Bad mistake.

We had the T on the run in '01. We then ran the CF in with tanks and MOUT, basically withdrew SOF, and 10 years later we're starting over??

The burden was ours to begin with (SOF, CIA, and Afghans), but then everyone thought they could do 'our' job.

Wonderful.
 

DA SWO

SOWT
Verified SOF
Joined
Aug 18, 2007
Messages
9,676
Location
San Antonio Texas
I believe we need to draw down until it becomes a SOF War again. Conventional units OPCON'd to the CJSOTF Cdr. I would steal from the SEALs and have the conventional unit train up with the SOF Unit/CJSOTF Staff prior to deployment. I'd even go so far as to increase the deployments from 6 months to 9 months.
 

surgicalcric

Special Forces
Verified SOF
Joined
Nov 3, 2006
Messages
1,411
Location
Here and there
...The burden was ours to begin with (SOF, CIA, and Afghans), but then everyone thought they could do 'our' job...

Well said.

However, I dont believe they (conventional commanders) actually thought - at that time - that they could do our job; they were afraid if they werent included, regardless of the job they would/could do, they would be left out of the war and they had to "get theirs" as well.

SOWT said:
I believe we need to draw down until it becomes a SOF War again. Conventional units OPCON'd to the CJSOTF Cdr...

Exactly...

Afghanistan is a perfect example of the type of conflict which should be controlled by SOF with CF sub to the CJSOTF or JFSOC-A CDR. It will be a power struggle but one worth fighting...
 

RackMaster

Nasty-Dirty-Canuck
SOF Support
Joined
Feb 8, 2007
Messages
10,348
Location
Land of Swine and Maple Syrup
I think our withdrawal this year is a good example (except no where near the same scale). Our conventional BG is gone and replaced by highly trained "conventional" training teams. But we still have our SOF commitment (training and DA), which has evolved over the years as our assets have grown/changed but I don't see those guys coming home any time soon.
 

DA SWO

SOWT
Verified SOF
Joined
Aug 18, 2007
Messages
9,676
Location
San Antonio Texas
Well said.

However, I dont believe they (conventional commanders) actually thought - at that time - that they could do our job; they were afraid if they werent included, regardless of the job they would/could do, they would be left out of the war and they had to "get theirs" as well.
Afghanistan is a perfect example of the type of conflict which should be controlled by SOF with CF sub to the CJSOTF or JFSOC-A CDR. It will be a power struggle but one worth fighting...

Exactly, the Army seemed to be at a loss until ANACONDA, then they were all in.
 

Brill

SOF Support
Joined
Oct 24, 2010
Messages
4,842
Location
221B Baker St
Afghanistan is a perfect example of the type of conflict which should be controlled by SOF with CF sub to the CJSOTF or JFSOC-A CDR. It will be a power struggle but one worth fighting...

Without reporters or open access by the press. You know...like we do other places. :ninja:
 

AWP

Formerly Known as Freefalling
SOF Support
Joined
Sep 8, 2006
Messages
15,899
Location
Not Afghanistan
Something that is either lost by the conventional side, or maybe they are too scared to admit it, is every SF Officer has completed the Infantry Career Captain's Course (or whatever they call it these days). I believe every ODA is supposed to train and lead an indig battalion which means SF O-3's are capable of doing the same job as a coventional O-5. Look at the number of 18A's that left SF for conventional assignments and eventually returned to the Regiment. It isn't like they pin on the crossed arrows and are suddenly incapable of leading conventional forces.

This war doesn't need a 4-star two or three 3-stars and a galaxy of other GOs to run it. Structure it like a division if need be, staffed with SF-qualified O's, and turn them loose.

The conventional forces would never go for it and would in fact fight it tooth and nail. They "won" Iraq after all, what could SF possibly teach them about war.....
 

Marauder06

Intel Enabler
Verified SOF
Joined
Sep 9, 2006
Messages
10,717
Location
CONUS
I'm not sure I'm convinced. In seven tours of working in or alongside the CJSOTFs in Iraq and Afghanistan, I have yet to see one that I felt was capable of running the kinds of operations that are necessary to win a large-scale protracted conflict. It would take a major long-term restructuring of the way the CJSOTFs do business for them to be able to field a staff competent enough to run a major theater conflict- they're not set up to run those types of operations.

The CJSOTFs I saw (which admittedly wasn't every one, but it was a lot of them) all had the same general characteristics- spectacular success at the very bottom (ODAs) and very top (command group) but an extremely weak supporting cast in between, especially on the enabler side. CJSOTFs draw most of their manpower from SF Groups, which typically lack the kinds of depth and expertise in fields like logistics and intelligence that are essential in long-term conflicts. Where would you get the bodies to field that kind of expertise? Where do you get your fire support and your air? If the answer is, "put all the conventional units with that stuff under the CJSOTF," then maybe we need to re-flag the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 10th, 19th, and 20th as Divisions instead of Special Forces Groups, because that is what they would all start looking like.

More to follow, have to run.
 

Diamondback 2/2

Infantry
Verified Military
Joined
Jan 24, 2008
Messages
6,798
Location
Tejas
SSMP
Military Mentor
I absolutely agree that Afghanistan should have remained a SOF war; I also agree that the placement of conventional forces in Afghanistan was probably the worst decision made. However, I always get a bit of a chuckle when I read this “put SF in charge of conventional forces stuff”. That will never happen and I think that brain power of thought would be better placed on something else. Where in the SF mission scope or force structure does it state that a SF Captain should be able to relieve conventional forces LTC from his battalion or that a SF SFC can tell a company commander “I need your troops but not you”. That is absolutely absurd in theory….

I respect you guys and think what you all do is pretty damn amazing, but things like this make me wonder what some of you are thinking? I mean really, some commander is just going turn over his forces to anyone else, much less someone who is not even associated with his organization? Did the northern alliance commanders just turn over their forces to SF ODA’s and say, yeah that’s fine, do what you will with them?

It’s one thing to want the use of a unit to support operations, it’s another thing to try and pick apart that unit and attempt to take command of it.
 

DA SWO

SOWT
Verified SOF
Joined
Aug 18, 2007
Messages
9,676
Location
San Antonio Texas
I absolutely agree that Afghanistan should have remained a SOF war; I also agree that the placement of conventional forces in Afghanistan was probably the worst decision made. However, I always get a bit of a chuckle when I read this “put SF in charge of conventional forces stuff”. That will never happen and I think that brain power of thought would be better placed on something else. Where in the SF mission scope or force structure does it state that a SF Captain should be able to relieve conventional forces LTC from his battalion or that a SF SFC can tell a company commander “I need your troops but not you”. That is absolutely absurd in theory….

I respect you guys and think what you all do is pretty damn amazing, but things like this make me wonder what some of you are thinking? I mean really, some commander is just going turn over his forces to anyone else, much less someone who is not even associated with his organization? Did the northern alliance commanders just turn over their forces to SF ODA’s and say, yeah that’s fine, do what you will with them?

It’s one thing to want the use of a unit to support operations, it’s another thing to try and pick apart that unit and attempt to take command of it.
I don't think anyone is saying SF walks over to the Bde TOC and says take a hike. But that BN/CO Cdr will do what the OPORD says, and if that means chopping his forces to SF, so be it. Putting those guys in the TOC as enablers makes sense to me.

How many CO/BN ops are happening as this is typed? We keep saying we are in a COIN environment,but running the war as a large scale force on force. SOF needs to be the supported command; if big Army isn't willing, then bring more Marines into the mix.
 

AWP

Formerly Known as Freefalling
SOF Support
Joined
Sep 8, 2006
Messages
15,899
Location
Not Afghanistan

Diamondback 2/2

Infantry
Verified Military
Joined
Jan 24, 2008
Messages
6,798
Location
Tejas
SSMP
Military Mentor
I don't think anyone is saying SF walks over to the Bde TOC and says take a hike. But that BN/CO Cdr will do what the OPORD says, and if that means chopping his forces to SF, so be it. Putting those guys in the TOC as enablers makes sense to me.

Sticking a guy in a TOC as an advisor is one thing, but that is not what I understood to be discussed in here. However, even having an “advisor” in the command staff does not change the command or how that command will deploy its forces in all cases. Giving SF support is not an issue, the issues are the fallow on result of that support and how it effects the unit (i.e. WIA/KIA's, use of resources/equipment, and most of all is soldiers losing dicipline & unit cohesion).


How many CO/BN ops are happening as this is typed? We keep saying we are in a COIN environment,but running the war as a large scale force on force. SOF needs to be the supported command; if big Army isn't willing, then bring more Marines into the mix.

I am not sure where you are going with this. Conventional forces are providing a security blanket and if you take that blanket away something needs to fill the void. It was my understanding that that would be Afghan forces and as they assumed operational responsibility, conventional forces would withdraw. That aspect could have been done by SOF in the beginning, but CF has been doing it for awhile now. Moving forward you have the sustainment of the Afghan forces, moving that over to SOF is probably the best option, but where do the CF come into play? Logistical support? Or is continuing to provide the national/infrastructure security support? Or is it both?

I see it as an issue of all in or all out, and I think it needs to be all out for conventional forces. I support the idea of having a contingency QRF to rapidly deploy as needed; I support conventional logistical support so that SOF can fulfill operational needs. But I disagree with maintaining BCT’s and BTN’s on the ground, conducting full spectrum operations under the direct control of a few ODA’s.

Even moving past the conventional forces in support issue, Americans are ready to call it good and pull out. The United States government wants to ensure the region stays pro western when we do pull out, but yet you have the Afghan government already stating that they will side with the Paki’s if the US goes to war with Pakistan. Sometimes it’s better to take things at face value, that region is not going to stop what they have done for thousands of years and adopt American ideology. The same shit with Iraq and all the other shit holes in the region. If anything is going to work in Afghanistan or anywhere else in that region, it’s going to be a very small foot print from SOF, and that small foot print isn’t so small when you bring conventional forces in the picture (regardless of how you utilize those conventional forces).
 

Rabid Badger

Special Forces
Verified SOF
Joined
May 20, 2007
Messages
3,173
Location
The 'Ville
~snip all~

I'm still wondering how it is that you are involved in an SOF discussion at all.

Everyone of your posts defends the conventional position and you were never in an SOF unit to begin or even end with.

We are not saying get rid of CF or even that SF should be in charge of conventional. SOF is a totally different mindset, SOF vs. conventional here is not the issue, the decisions that were made in the early days is the issue. WTF.
 

Marauder06

Intel Enabler
Verified SOF
Joined
Sep 9, 2006
Messages
10,717
Location
CONUS
... they were afraid if they weren't included, regardless of the job they would/could do, they would be left out of the war and they had to "get theirs" as well.

...

That was me, about seven, eight years ago. I was certain I'd be the only kid on my block without a combat patch, because I was sure the war(s) would be over before I could get in the game. It's funny what I thought was important when I was young.
 

AWP

Formerly Known as Freefalling
SOF Support
Joined
Sep 8, 2006
Messages
15,899
Location
Not Afghanistan
SOCCE was designed to support the conventional Cdr.

I am looking at a conventional BN Staff Augmenting the ODC/JSOTF Staff.

Looks like I got my chocolate in your peanut butter. My apologies for misunderstanding and swapping the roles :)
 
Top