Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Afghan Local Police (ALP) - "Bad Guys" or "Worse Guys"?

A recent news article by Luke Mogelson entitled "Bad Guys vs. Worse Guys in Afghanistan" ( The New York Times, October 19, 2011) explores the benefits and problems associated with the Afghan Local Police (ALP). The ALP is a Ministry of Interior (MoI) program where local police are formed and trained at the community or village level in rural areas of Afghanistan. The coalition element responsible for oversight on the ALP is CFSOCC-A or Combined Forces Special Operations Component Command - Afghanistan. Mogelson's article, which is not entirely complimentary, is extensive and delves into the dynamics of ALP within Baghlan Province in northern Afghanistan. The ALP is an integral part of Village Stability Operations or VSO - the methodology that CFSOCC-A is using to help the Afghans implement security, governance, and development in a bottom-up approach.

British Ex-Marines Fighting Pirates off Africa Coast

A recent news report states that a large contingent of former British Marines are now being used as shipboard security guards on ships that transit the East Africa coast. The world shipping industry has suffered huge losses to Somali pirates preying on unguarded vessels. The ships are seized and then the crew, cargo, and ship are held for ransom. They are employed by a firm called Protection Vessels International Ltd. Read more in "Ex-Marines Fighting Pirates Off Africa as World Shipping Lanes Attacked", Bloomberg, October 18, 2011. Learn more about piracy and maritime security firms.

The Business Cyber Security Summit 2011 - London, UK (21-23 November 2011)

The Business Cyber Security Summit 2011 will be held on 21-23 November, 2011 at the Sheraton Park Lane Hotel in London. The summit brings together industry experts to discuss the latest solutions and strategies in order to combat this ever present danger. Learn more at the link below:

The Business Cyber Security Summitt 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Book - The Afghan Solution - Inside Story of Abdul Haq

A new book is out about the early history of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan with a look at what could have happened. According to the author, Lucy Morgan Edwards, there was an opportunity to support Abdul Haq in the toppling of the Taliban regime without the extensive bombing campaign and use of Northern Alliance fighters. Abdul Haq, a well-known and respected mujaheddin fighter, had a plan to get top Taliban leaders and commanders to defect and establish a moderate government in Afghanistan. The Bush administration did not support Haq with the result that Haq's plan did not come to fruition. Instead, the Bush administration used the Northern Alliance in their plans to topple the Taliban (aided by the bombing campaign) and installed a centralized government under the corrupt Karzai supported by corrupt warlords from the Northern Alliance. The author asserts that the combination of the bombing campaign (which provided Afghans a rallying point to oppose the foreign invasion), posting of Northern Alliance warlords to key governmental and ministry positions (for the most part excluding Pastuns), and the attempt to impose a centralized government on a tribal based society would go a long way to ensuring a difficult road ahead for the U.S. in Afghanistan.

The The Afghan Solution: The Inside Story of Abdul Haq, the CIA and How Western Hubris Lost Afghanistan

Monday, October 17, 2011

Funding for National Cybersecurity Office in Question

It appears that the Republicans and Democrats can't agree on how to fund the National Protection and Programs Directorate office. Currently it is part of the Department of Homeland Security. The office is responsible for defending civilian computer networks from hackers and was established under law in 2002 as part of a congressional DHS authorization bill. Learn more in "Homeland Security cyber protection office's fate is up in the air", Nextgov, October 14, 2011.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Close Look at the Afghan Peace and Reintegration Program (APRP)

The United States Institute of Peace has posted a publication on its web site entitled "Impact or Illusion? Reintegration under the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program". The APRP, as it is sometimes called, has been in existance for over one year. The Afghan APRP aims to reintegrate insurgents (Taliban and others) back into Afghan society promising jobs, financial incentives, security, and a clean slate. Results have been dissappointing. You can read online or download the publication, wrote by DeeDee Derksen, here on the web page of the United States Institute of Peace.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Night Vision Devices Provide Edge to U.S. Troops Fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan

A recent article posted on the Defense Industry Daily web site provides us with information on how night vision technology is giving U.S. troops an edge in the fight against insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The article examines how night vision works, how the technology has matured over the years, and how the military has adapted the technology for military purposes.  Read the article entitled "Through a Glass, Darkly: Night Vision Gives US Troops Edge" (October 4, 2011).  Learn more about night vision technology.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Special Forces Team's Approach to Village Stability Operations (VSO)

A team leader for a Special Forces team currently in Afghanistan has posted a paper on the Small Wars Journal web site that explains how his detachment is conducting Village Stability Operations (VSO). Village Stability Operations is one of the primary missions of CFSOCC-A and the CJSOTF-A in Afghanistan.
"This paper is an effort to demonstrate my team’s approach to VSO using the principles and TTPs that numerous articles have recently highlighted in the July-September issue of Special Warfare Magazine. It illustrates the practical application of the principles of VSO in the current operational environment and details exactly how these principles appear through the prism of the Military Decision-Making Process. This is the product of the team’s assessment, planning, execution, after action review and refinement process over the last 150 days of VSO operations in an austere and isolated location."
Read the paper entitled "One Team's Approach to Village Stability Operations", Small Wars Journal, September 4, 2011.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

SOCOM to Acquire CCM Special Ops Boats for SEALs

USSOCOM (MacDill AFB, Florida) will soon be acquiring high-speed special operations boats for its Special Operations Forces (SOF). The boats, called the Combatant Craft, Medium Mark 1 or CCM Mk1, will be a replacement for the current Naval Special Warfare (NSW) Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIBs). Read more about the CCM program in "US SOCOM's CCM Fast Boats", Defense Industry Daily, October 10, 2011.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Building Afghan Security Forces

An article recently posted on the AFPAK Channel examines the US military training mission in Afghanistan.  The author, Andrew Exum, examines the historical context, things we have done wrong (invade Iraq reducing resources to Afghanistan), and things we have done right (the CJSOTF-A's Village Stability Operations or VSO program).  Read more in "Struggling to Build Afghan Security", The AFPAK Channel, Foreign Policy, October 6, 2011.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Contractor Casualties in War Zones Unacknowledged

In a recent opinion piece David Isenberg has written an article about the casualties that contractors have incurred while supporting military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The point of his article is that the casualties are not tracked in the same way that military casualties are tracked - thus not giving full credit to the contractors contributions. This also lowers the human cost of the war - in terms of what the general public understands as the death toll. Read more in "Contratistas Desaparecidos", Huffington Post, October 10, 2011.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Iraq Military Training Plan Still Up in Air

We are seeing less and less news about the war in Iraq as the drawdown continues in that country. The continuing fight in Afghanistan continues to dominate the news in military circles. However an important event that recently took place is the Iraqi refusal to grant immunity to U.S. military personnel who would remain after December 2011. At the same time the Iraqis have requested a continuing training mission for its armed forces. The U.S. is scrambling to find a solution to that vexing problem. Read more in the article below.

"U.S. seeks to redraw Iraq training plan", The Washington Post, October 8, 2011.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Is Counterinsurgency Working in Afghanistan?

A recent news report examines our counterinsurgency doctrine as applied to Afghanistan to determine if it is working. The report is essentially an interview of the director of the U.S. Army's Counterinsurgency Center - Lt. Col. John Paganini - who has recently returned from a tour in Afghanistan. Some of the questions posed include:

Is COIN working?
How do you counter Taliban intimidation?
How do you bring Pastun leadership into the process?
How long before we win the counterinsurgency fight in Afghanistan?
How do you apply the doctrine of counterinsurgency to Afghanistan?
How has COIN changed from the beginning of the Afghan War to present day?
Are we in the 'clear, hold, or build' phase of COIN?
What is the value of foot patrols?
Are counterterrorism and counterinsurgency competing or complementing strategies?
Is there a shift to counterterrorism?

Read Lt. Col. Paganini's answers in the news article.

"10 Years of Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan - Is It Working?", ABC News, October 8, 2011.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

U.S. Drones Hit with Computer Virus

Danger Room at has a very interesting article about the Air Force drone fleet being infected with a computer virus.  Read the article here "Computer Virus Hits U.S. Drone Fleet", October 7, 2011.

Friday, October 7, 2011

APRP Meeting Presents Reintegration Process to Afghan ANA Religious and Cultural Affairs Officers

News Article Posted on UNAMA Web Site
APRP meeting brings ANA officials and UN experts together
"5 October 2011 - More than 30 Afghanistan National Army (ANA) Religious and Cultural Affairs (RCA) Officers and the United Nations experts convened on 27 September 2011 in the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Programme (APRP) meeting at the Gambiri military camp in Laghman province. The report on this project can be found on UNDP website."
Read the rest of the article here on the UNAMA web site.  Click here to learn more about the reintegration program in Afghanistan.

Four Main Concerns for Future of Afghanistan

An article on the AFPAK Channel (Foreign Policy) focuses on four problem areas facing the nation of Afghanistan - Pakistan's assistance to the Taliban and other insurgent groups, poor governance by the Karzai regime, future economic prospects, and questions of continued support by the international community. The author of the article is Omar Samad - the former Ambassador of Afghanistan to France and Canada. Read his article - "Afghanistan at a Critical Juncture", The AFPAK Channel, October 6, 2011.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

2011 ACFE Asia-Pacific Fraud Conference in Singapore (October 23-25, 2011)

The 2011 ACFE Asia-Pacific Fraud Conference will be held in Singapore on October 23-25, 2011.  The location of the conference is Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

Short description of conference:

The 2011 Asia-Pacific Fraud Conference provides you with cutting-edge anti-fraud training and education that is global in scope, but with a uniquely Asian perspective. Learn from leading practitioners and representatives from some of the region’s top companies about the challenges they face and the strategies they have used to overcome them in this economically dynamic part of the world. You will also have numerous formal and informal networking opportunities with fellow anti-fraud professionals, providing you new perspectives and new resources upon whom to call for ideas and inspiration. Join us for our first conference in Singapore and give yourself an edge in the fight against fraud.

Organiser: Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE)

Secured Cities Conference, Baltimore, Maryland - November 10-11, 2011

The Secured Cities Conference will be held in Baltimore, Maryland on November 10-11, 2011. The Secured Cities conference brings together key partners in urban security to include city management, law enforcement, transit security, and others to facilitate knowledge sharing and dialogue necessary for a city to create a holistic emergency safety and security plan. Topics presented include funding for city camera projects, municipal video security strategy, privacy issues, effects that camera systems have on crime, and more. Click here to view a listing of upcoming security conferences.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Taliban Interdiction of Cell Phone Service in Afghanistan

According to a recent news article the Taliban are using modern methods to aid their insurgency. Every evening much of the cellphone service within Afghanistan disappears. The Taliban have successfully pressured the Afghan cell phone companies to turn off the cell phone signals at night. This accomplishes many objectives for the Taliban. It shows the Afghan public that the Taliban can still influence Afghan society and depicts the Afghan government and security forces as unable to fix the security situation and provide basic services. If a cellphone company does not turn off its tower at night then the Taliban will bomb or burn the cell tower down and it will cost the phone company about $225,000 to repair. 

Read more in "Taliban Using Modern Means to Add to Sway", The New York Times, October 4, 2011.  Click here to read more news about the war in Afghanistan.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

First MC-130J Combat Shadow II Delivered to AFSOC

A new version of C-130 is being delivered to the Air Force. The air special ops folks have received the first of twenty MC-130J Combat Shadow II aircraft. Read more in "U.S. Special Ops receives aircraft",, October 4, 2011.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Secret Drone Bases Established in Middle East and Africa

The Washington Post reports that the U.S. has established secret drone bases where UAVs such as armed predators can operate from in the war against terror.
"The Obama administration is assembling a constellation of secret drone bases for counterterrorism operations in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula as part of a newly aggressive campaign to attack al-Qaeda affiliates in Somalia and Yemen, U.S. officials said.  One of the installations is being established in Ethi­o­pia, a U.S. ally in the fight against al-Shabab, the Somali militant group that controls much of that country. Another base is in the Seychelles, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, where a small fleet of “hunter-killer” drones resumed operations this month after an experimental mission demonstrated that the unmanned aircraft could effectively patrol Somalia from there."
Read the rest of the article here in "U.S. assembling secret drone bases in Africa, Arabian Penisula, officials say", The Washington Post, September 20, 2011.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Collection of News Articles About Reintegration of Insurgents in Afghanistan - (APRP)

The Afghan War News website has compiled a collection of news articles about the Afghan Peace and Reintegration Program (APRP) currently being conducted by the Afghan government.  The reintegration program is designed to turn Taliban fighters away from the insurgency and coax them to pledge support to the Afghanistan government.

Solar Energy in Afghanistan

Afghanistan has an energy problem. There is not enough electricity generated and most of that goes to the urban areas. The rural areas suffer from a lack of energy. Although there are ambitious programs to build dams and electrical generation facilities - the bottom line is that many rural areas will not see this energy in their areas for many years - due to extreme poverty and the ongoing insurgency. Afghanistan needs a source of renewable, sustainable energy. Solar powered energy offers promise in Afghanistan to meet the needs of the remote village and community areas. Visit the link below for a listing of organizations promoting solar energy, firms developing solar energy programs, companies manufacturing solar panels, and publications and news articles about solar energy in Afghanistan.

Armoured Vehicles Asia Conference & Exhibition (Oct 19-21, 2011)

The Armoured Vehicles Asia Conference & Exhibition will take place in Singapore on October 19-21, 2011.
  • Learn how Asian nations are planning to modernise their armoured vehicle fleets
  • Gain insight into different procurement methodologies used throughout Asia
  • Build relationships with your regional defence force colleagues
  • Explore the capability enhancement options available to your armoured vehicle fleet
  • Discuss operational lessons learned from those that have recently returned from combat zones

Click the link below for a comprehensive listing of conferences, seminars, and exhibitions that relate to the topics of security and defense.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Special Operations Summit in Tampa, Florida (December 12-14, 2011)

The Special Operations Summit will be held on December 12-14, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. 
"IDGA’s Special Operations Summit will provide the latest in mission and operational priorities for special operations equipment and solutions from the commanding officers themselves. This event will take a closer look at military strategies for unconventional warfare including Special Forces and counter insurgency operations. Due to increasing challenges, acquisition decisions are currently being made, as well as new requirements for industry."
Learn more about this summit at the link below.

Find out about other related conferences and events at the link below: