Sunday, February 28, 2010

2nd Commando Kandak Busy in Afghanistan

A recent news posting by CJTF-101 describes training that the 2nd Commando Kandak of the Afghanistan Army is conducting under the watchful eye of Soldiers from the 3rd Special Forces Group.  Read more in "Commandos train to take down insurgents", CJTF 101, February 28, 2010.  Click here to view more news articles about the war in Afghanistan.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

USSF Trains Philippine Special Forces Group

Members of the Philippines 4th Special Forces Battalion are receiving training from members of the Joint Special Operations Task Force - Philippines (JSOTF-P).  The SF battalion is undergoing specialized training.  Read more in "U.S. Forces Train Philippine Special Forces Group".

80% of Marjah Taken by U.S., Allied, and Afghan Troops

Marjah, a Taliban stronghold that served as a logisitics and supply center, has been taken by U.S., NATO, and Afghan forces.  At this point the government forces and their allies control over 80% of the town of 80,000 citizens.  Read more in "Afghan government takes control of Marjah from Taliban", USA Today, February 25, 2010.

Friday, February 26, 2010

NATO to Add Trainers for the Afghan Police and Army

Everyone recognizes that the road to victory lies in training the Afghan Army and Police to take the lead in the fight against the Taliban.  This was an evident truth in early 2002.  The difficulty lies in how to do the training task.  Thus far we have failed - or at least we are not where we should be several years after the fall of the Taliban regime.  NATO is trying to come up with the trainers necessary to get the job done but is lacking the committment from its public sector.  Read more in "NATO to Add to Police and Army Trainers in Afghanistan", Voice of America, February 23, 2010.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

DoD Rescues Afghan Police Training From State Department Failure

"NAPLES, Italy — The Defense Department is taking over training of the Afghan National Police because State Department-hired trainers failed to keep pace with the growing instability in Afghanistan or address the security needs of the civilian population, according to a joint State and DOD Inspector General report released late last week.

“The ANP training program that is in place does not provide the ANP with the necessary skills to successfully fight the insurgency, and therefore, hampers the ability of DOD to fulfill its role in the emerging national strategy,” according to the report.

The report, initiated by members of the Senate Appropriations Committee last year, said the State Department failed on a number of fronts, mainly in its ability to provide training that adequately reflected the security needs of the country."
Read the rest of the news article in "DoD takes over Afghan Police training after IG cites State Dept. failures", Stars and Stripes, February 25, 2010.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Afghan Government Arrives in Marjah, Afghanistan

The long-awaited arrival of the Afghan government has taken place in Marjah, Afghanistan.  After a well-publicized battle - allied and Afghan forces have pushed the Taliban from most areas of Marjah.  Read more in "Government Administrator Arrives in Marjah", The Wall Street Journal, February 24, 2010.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010

Hot on Bin Laden's Trail?

A recent TIME magazine article explores the possibilities of the death of Bin Laden.  The recent capture of a high-level Taliban official in Pakistan (and the resulting info from his interrorgation) has hopes up that the question of Bin Laden's death will be finally settled.  Read more in the article by clicking here.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Marine Special Operations Command (MARSOC) Graduates Students from Its First Linguistics Course

The Marine Special Operations Command (MARSOC) has graduated its first students from its langauge program.  The course is 36 weeks long and includes a one month tour in a foreign country to study the language further.  MARSOC also concentrating resources on current conflict languages such as Dari and Pashtu with one-year long tours of study; a length that probably far exceeds the length of U.S. Army Special Forces Dari and Pashtu courses.  One of the criticisms of the Marine Corps having a special operations component is that it didn't have the cultural experience, regional orientation and language capability.  MARSOC is slowly closing the gap between the SF community and its own special operations community.  Many said it couldn't be done but . . . . .

See "MARSOC graduates first class from linguistics course", ENC Today.com, February 19, 2010.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Security Contractors in Iraq to Have Heavy Weapons Seized

An Iraqi spokesman has indicated that security contractors in Iraq will have their heavy weapons seized.  This is a reaction to the recent dismissal of charges against the Blackwater defendents accused of killing 14 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad in 2007.  Read more in "Iraq to seize security contractors' heavy weapons", Reuters, February 17, 2010.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Marjah, Afghanistan Offensive Going Well

According to military sources and most news reports the highly-publicized Marjah offensive - dubbed Operation Moshtarak - is going well.  While the taking of the Taliban enclave has been mostly achieved a much harder endeavor remains.  That is the "hold" part of the operation where Afghan government troops, police, and officials come in and set up a functioning community level government and services.  The corrupt Afghan government agencies and national police have thus far been a huge dissappointment over the last several years.  Read more about the operation in "In Marjah, Afghanistan, allied offensive going well so far", The Christian Science Monitor, February 18, 2010.  Read a collection of news reports on the Marjah offensive.

Cyber-Espionage Still a Large Threat

Security of our cyber net is still a huge issue that needs to be dealt with.  Many of our government institutions and private defense contractors have had their computer network systems hacked by both criminal elements and foreign government entities. 
"The Pentagon's forensics-focused Cyber Crime Center, where Shirley is executive director, found that between August 2007 and August 2009, 71 government agencies, contractors, universities and think tanks with connections to the U.S. military had been penetrated by foreign hackers, in some cases multiple times. In total, Shirley told Forbes, the center performed 116 investigations following spying breaches and found that in all but 14 of those cases the intruders had gained complete administrator-level access to the victim's network."
  Read the rest of the story in "Dozens of Defense Contractors, Agencies Hacked", Forbes.com, February 17, 2010.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

ISAF News Reports on Helmand Province

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan has its own website.  If you are following the "Operation Moshtarak" news then you can sometimes get snippets of info at this website.  Click here for a comprehensive listing of news articles about "Operation Moshtarak".

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Private Security On-Board Commercial Ships - Protecting Cargo From Pirates Off Somalia

Several shipping firms are now using private security to safeguard their vessels, crew, and cargo.  Efforts by the international community and the piracy task forces they have formed (TF 51, etc.) have been less than effective.  The piracy scurge continues.  The use of private security forces started out with the security officers on board the cargo vessels themselves. Now it appears that they are on fast, private boats that escort the cargo vessels.  Read more about these private escort boats in "Hired guns secure ships, stir controversy", Stars and Stripes, February 15, 2010.  Click here for more information about maritime security.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010

Coalition Forces Expanding Control of Marjah, Afghanistan - Recent Insurgent Haven

Coalition forces (U.S., NATO, Afghans, and others) are expanding their control of the Marjah insurgent safe haven in an offensive that started a few days ago.  So far it seems to be going well.  Read a recent report: "U.S. and Afghan Troops Expand Control in Marjah", The Wall Street Journal, February 14, 2010.  Read more news reports about the offensive in Marjah, Afghanistan.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Iraq Expels Former Blackwater Guards

Iraq is expelling any security contractors who formerly worked or currently work for Blackwater.  If a contractor worked for Blackwater in the past or currently works for Xe then he is packing his bags.  Read more in "Iraq Expels Former and Current Blackwater Security Guard", AllGov.com, February 12, 2010.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Battle for Marja, Afghanistan

A major battle is underway in Afghanistan for a Taliban stronghold.  The city of Marja in Helmand Province is under attack by coalition forces in an attempt to dislodge the Taliban.  Read more in "Troops Take Positions in Taliban Haven", The New York Times, February 13, 2010.  Click here to read more news about the "Battle for Marja".

Friday, February 12, 2010

Development Contractors Look Forward to Military Surge in Afghanistan

Contractors involved with development projects in Afghanistan are hopeful that more troops on the ground will translate into better security for their workers.  See "Contractors welcome military surge in Afghanistan", Government Executive, February 3, 2010.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Security Contracting Firms and Their Lobbyists

Security contracting firms, like many other industries, have their lobbyists who they pay money to in order to curry favor with politicians and others.  Read more on this in "How We Doing? Contractors and Their Lobbysists", by David Isenberg, The Huffington Post.  Read more news articles about security contractors.

RAF Using Drones in Afghanistan

The Royal Air Force is using drones in Afghanistan to a great degree.  Read "RAF relying on drones in Afghanistan", Guardian, February 7, 2010.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Special Forces Units Pave the Way for Marjah Offensive in Afghanistan

American and British Special Forces units are conducting strikes against Taliban targets in the insurgent stronghold of Marjah (located in Helmand Province) in support of an upcoming offensive against Marjah by coalition forces.  Read "Special Forces Assassins Infiltrate Taliban Stronghold in Afghanistan", Fox News.com, February 7, 2010.  Read more news articles about the Marjah offensive.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Monday, February 8, 2010

Jury is Out on Strykers in Afghanistan

The jury is still out on the use of the Stryker combat vehicle in Afghanistan.  While it maneuvers well, is fast and can move into combat affording its troops some protection - it is very vulnerable to IEDs placed along roadsides.  Some efforts are being made to make the Stryker more survivable from IED attacks.  Read more in "Bad Roads And IEDs Bedevil Afghan Strykers", Aviation Week, February 5, 2010.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Danish Special Forces (Frogmen) and Pirates in Somalia

The Danish Special Forces are expanding their horizons.  They recently participated in an anti-piracy operation in the Gulf of Aden.  It is good to see that nations are reacting to the piracy threat.  Read more in "Danish forces free ship captured by pirates", MSNBC, February 5, 2010.  Click here to read more about maritime security.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

China Targets America's Internet

America has been a victim of cyberattacks for a long time and it will only get worse.  Not only are criminals and hackers out there causing mischief but nations are in the game as well.  Specifically Russia and China.  This is a concern of national security and our government needs to do more to ensure our Internet is secure and our secrets safe.  Read a recent online story on this topic in "China is aiming at America's soft underbelley: the Internet", The Christian Science Monitor, February 5, 2010.  Not only are our nations secrets at risk but criminals are threatening the financial well-being of individuals with identity theft.  Click here to learn more about security while on the Internet.

Friday, February 5, 2010

U.S. Security Firms in Haiti

Private security firms have shown the ability to be responsive to emerging needs.  Haiti is just one more example.  Read a recent online news article on this topic in "U.S. Private Security Firms Head to Haiti", Publica, January 21, 2010.  Read more news articles about security contractors.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Drones Play Key Role in Af-Pak War

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones are exacting a high price against the leadership of the Taliban.  Combined with technical and human intelligence our military (and CIA?) are able to target key leaders in the Taliban organization who are hiding across the border in Pakistan.  Read more in "Revenge on the Taliban, from 10,000", The Washington Post, February 3, 2010.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Military and State Department at Odds Over Strategy In Afghanistan

It would appear that the State Department and the military leadership in Afghanistan have a difference of opinion in the implementation of programs that support the local Afghan militias attempting to oppose the Taliban.  Read more in "An Afghan Strategy Progressives Could Love", The Moderate Voice, January 29, 2010.

Taliban Leaders Hunted by SF in Afghanistan

Special Forces in Afghanistan are going after the Taliban leadership.  Read more in "U.S. Steps Up Missions Targeting Taliban Leaders", The Wall Street Journal, February 2, 2010.  Read more news articles about the war in Afghanistan.

Quadrennial Defense Review a Step in the Right Direction - Finally

It appears that our high-level military officers, Robert Gates, and the Obama administration (dare we give him credit?) have taken a step in the right direction in the allocation of our financial resources to the current war in Afghanistan rather than the fight we "might" fight ten or twenty years from now. About time. What took so long? 
"The Quadrennial Defense Review, a congressionally mandated report on U.S. military thinking presented by the administration every four years, will instead focus on developing the strategies and weapons needed to prevail in Afghanistan, Iraq and the broader war on terror in places such as Pakistan and Yemen, the officials said." 
 Read more in "Pentagon Review Shows Strategy Shift", The Wall Street Journal, January 30, 2010.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Talking to the Taliban: Can we End the War If We Chat?

There are many who say we need to engage in a dialogue with the Taliban.  Karzia among others.  Should we?  Read an article that suggests this might be helpful.  "How to end the war in Afghanistan", BBC News, February 2, 2010.

The Ever Present Danger of Landmines in Afghanistan: One Firm Tries to Mitigate the Situation

 Landmines are a constant danger to all in Afghanistan.  The citizens, members of the Afghan Army and police and our own U.S. troops.  Afghanistan is one of the most heavily mined countries in the world.  EOD Technology recently won a $60 million contract to clear landmines in Afghanistan.  Read more in the online article entitled "Landmines in Afghanistan: A Decades Old Danger", Defense Industry Daily, February 1, 2010.

Monday, February 1, 2010

7th Special Forces Group Preparing for Move to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida

The 7th Special Forces Group, currently stationed in North Carolina, will soon begin their move to Florida.  This move will comprise of about 2,000 Soldiers.  More people when you consider the families that will also move.  The Army has sent an advance team to Eglin Air Force Base to prepare the move.  Lots of questions abound in Florida about who these new base tenants will be.  Read more in "Rowdy Green Berets vs. crazy Northwest Florida", nwfdailynews.com, January 31, 2010.