Monday, January 30, 2012

The Psychology of an Insurgent

Steven Metz, an author of many books and articles, provides an insight into the psychology of insurgents. See his article posted on Small Wars Journal (January 27, 2012) entitled "Psychology of Participation in Insurgency".

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Peace Talks with the Taliban

Every once in a while we see a flurry of activity on the diplomatic front concerning the prospect of peace talks with the Taliban.  Over the past several years there have been several peace talk initiatives - mostly hidden from the glare of the media.  It appears we are in the midst of one of those initiatives - where different parties (U.S., Taliban, Karzai, Pakistan and others) are maneuvering to be at the peace talks table.  Each side is articulating their starting positions.  For instance, the U.S. has recently indicated that for the Taliban to participate they will have to denounce ties to international terrorism.  Hmmmm. Read more on this in "US Envoy: Taliban Must Renounce Terrorism to Participate in Talks", Voice of America, January 22, 2012. Read more news about past Afghanistan peace talks and reconciliation attempts.

Monday, January 23, 2012

CIA's Open Source Center

A little known fact is that much of today's "intelligence" is information gleaned off the Internet from web sites and social media.  The CIA is out in front on this with their "Open Source Center". While the Open Source Center is somewhat secret it's existance is well-known to some that track the intelligence world.  A recent news article entitled "CIA Tracks Public Information For The Private Eye", National Public Radio, January 22, 2012 provides information about this organization.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Solar Panel Energy for VSO Sites in Afghanistan?

A recent news article on Army.mil provides information on a solar energy experiment to provide energy efficient power to deployed units located in austere locations.  There was a recent demonstration of different technologies available held at Bagram AFB to include microgrids and hybrid solar power systems. The Energy Initiative Proving Ground (EIPG) will soon be placing a hybrid solar power system into a Village Stability Platform. The introduction of solar energy systems into remote locations where Village Stability Operations (VSO) are conducted will save energy, reduce costs, and lessen the work load of the logistics personnel supporting VSO.  Read the article entitled "Money-saving energy initiatives get spotlight in Afghanistan", Army.mil, January 17, 2012.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Strategic Guidance and SOF

A retired Special Forces officer, Dave Duffy, comments on the implications of the newly released Strategic Guidance for Special Operations Forces.  Read his article "Back to the Future for DoD" on Small Wars Journal (January 6, 2012).

Sunday, January 8, 2012

AfPak Hands Program in Afghanistan

One of the more innovated programs established to support the war in Afghanistan is known as the AfPak Hands Program.  Established in September 2009 by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen, the AfPak Hands Program's purpose was to develop a cadre of military and senior civilian experts that specialize in the language, culture, history, and other aspects of Afghanistan and Pakistan.  According to a recent news article the program is highly successful.  Read more in "AfPak Hands Program Pays Dividends in Afghanistan, Pakistan", American Forces Press Service, January 4, 2012. 

Learn more about the AfPak Hands Program here.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Critique of "Human Terrain" Program

A blogger has posted a recent article critical of the effort to acquire knowledge about the "human terrain" in Afghanistan.  He believes that a lot of intelligence support to the counterinsurgency effort in Afghanistan got side-tracked into accumulating data that has not helped us win the conflict in Afghanistan.  Read "Counterinsurgency, What Do You Really Know?", by Keith Boyea, January 6, 2012.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Corruption in Afghanistan

Despite the best efforts of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and other Western organizations corruption continues to be an imposing problem in Afghanistan.  Learn more about one of the reasons that much of the population is disenchanted about the Afghan government and lends their support to the Taliban - see Corruption in Afghanistan.