Monday, December 26, 2011

Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Program in RC North Under Review (Afghanistan)

Early news reports indicate that the Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) program administered by Regional Command North (RC North) in four northern provinces of Afghanistan is under review.  The CIP program may either be closed down or its units and activities transferred to Afghan control. The CIP security guards are paid by ISAF using Commander's Emergency Response Program (CERP) funds.  The news accounts state that President Karzai was "unaware" these units were operating in the north and under the control of Regional Command North.  Visit the following link to learn more about the Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) program.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Avian Influenza - A Threat We Should be Ready For

Recent news reports have detailed the research conducted by Dutch virologists that created an extremely contagious strain of the avian influenza - sometimes called H5NI or "bird flu". Two things that are troubling about these reports is that the research was conducted in the first place and the willingness of the researchers to provide comprehensive details on how to replicate the experiments to scientific journals for publication. Just what we need - online instructions that terrorists can follow to create biological weapons. Read a concise explanation of this new development in "Making Avian Influenza As Contagious as Season Flu", Lawfare, December 23, 2011.

Sectarian Violence in Iraq May Start Again with U.S. Withdrawal

With the last U.S. troops in Iraq now home attention has turned to the situation in Iraq to try and gauge the future of that country. A big fear is that there will be a return to sectarian violence which saw its peak in 2006-2007. Many think that the Shias will attempt to consolidate its hold on the government and completely shut out the Sunnis from being able to participate. There is also the worry that the current Iraqi government will turn to Iran for more support thus increasing Iran's influence over Iraq. Another concern is a possible move against the Kurds in the north in an attempt to diminish the Kurds autonomy and control of oil in Kurdistan. Read the transcript from a recent discussion on Fox News entitled "Renewal of Iraqi Sectarian Violence", December 22, 2011.

Dim View of of Afghan Local Police (ALP) in Afghanistan by Critics is Unwarranted

Many observers of the war in Afghanistan are taking a hard look at the Afghan Local Police (ALP) effort of the Afghanistan Ministry of Interior that is supported by ISAF. Unfortunately, the conclusions they draw are off the mark - see "ISAF's Plans for Afghan Local Police Are Shortsighted", Trevor Keck, Foreign Policy Association, December 23, 2011. Critics too easily attach the label "local militia force" to the ALP. These same critics fail to recognize that the ALP is an Afghan security force selected from members of the local community and vetted at the district, provincial, and national level by authorities in the Afghan Ministry of Interior (MOI). The ALP members are equipped, trained, supervised, and paid by the Ministry of Interior. This differentiates the ALP from local militias organized and paid by regional warlords.

There are problems associated with the ALP - but if you look hard enough you will find problems with every aspect of the Afghan military, police, and government. ISAF has prepared a response to criticism of the ALP program by a recent Human Rights Watch report that can be read here. Not understood by critics is the strategic significance of gaining the support of the people at the local level through the introduction of security, governance and development. The ALP helps establish security at the local level thus aiding governance and development. It truly is a key to transition in Afghanistan. Learn more about the Afghan Local Police.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Counter Terror Expo in Washington DC (May 16-17, 2012)

The Counter Terror Expo 2012 will be held in Washington, DC on May 16-17, 2012.  The venue is the Washington Convention Center. The former head of the National Counterterrorism Center, Michael Leiter, will be the keynote speaker. The Counter Terror Expo focuses on the collective efforts and shared responsibilities of the Counter Terror community - Federal, State, Local and Private-sector partners to maintain critical homeland security capabilities.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Special Operations and the Afghan Local Police (ALP) - Important Key to Transition

A recent online post on the Foreign Policy web site cites the importance of the Afghan Local Police (ALP) program to the successful transition to Afghan security forces and exit of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. The post also poses a number of concerns of the Special Operations assisted ALP endeavor. Read the article in "Keeping control of bad choices", The AFPAK Channel, December 20, 2011. The author of The AFPAK Channel post, Rachel Reid, also co-authored a critical report about the ALP while working for Human Rights Watch entitled "Just Don't Call it a Militia" published in September 2011. A recent memorandum by ISAF on December 6, 2011 has responded to the Human Rights Watch piece and can be viewed here on the ISAF website.

Friday, December 16, 2011

CAAT is now COMISAF Advisory and Assistance Team

The Counterinsurgency Advisory and Assistance Team (CAAT) established in late 2009 has now been renamed the COMISAF Advisory and Assistance Team.  COMISAF is short for Commander International Security Assistance Force.  The CAAT was formed to assist in the overall counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan by advising and assisting commanders at all levels to enable effective and integrated counterinsurgency operations.  Learn more about the COMISAF Advisory and Assistance Team.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

SO/LIC Symposium & Exposition (Feb 2012) in Washington, D.C.

The Special Operations / Low Intensity Conflict Symposium and Exhibition will be held February 6-8, 2012 in Washington, D.C. A description is provided below taken from the NDIA website.
"The 23rd Annual NDIA SO/LIC (Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict) Symposium & Exhibition will examine the changing roles of Special Operations Forces (SOF) and General Purpose Forces (GPF) in the new world dynamic. As major combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan diminish, SOF and GPF will face new challenges. A continuing threat from global terrorists, popular uprisings and a rapidly shifting political landscape, the coming need to employ military forces in small teams across vast distances, and the likelihood of declining budgets all require SOF and GPF leaders to develop new synergies between their forces and with our Interagency partners. Speakers will discuss increasing interoperability between SOF and GPF, how to enhance the inherent capabilities of the SOF warrior, and how SOF, its enablers, and Interagency partners support global objectives in the new world dynamic."
Learn more about the conference at the link below:

Check our conference and exhibition listing for other related security  and defence events:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Special Operations Glossary

A Special Operations glossary can be found online at the website. Check out the listing and explanation of terms and phrases used by special operators at the link below.

Special Operations Glossary

Monday, December 12, 2011

Afghan Local Police (ALP) May Triple in Strength According to Admiral McRaven

The Afghan Local Police (ALP) may triple in strength according to Admiral McRaven - the commander of United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).  Read more in "Tripling Afghanistan's community watch with AK-47s", CNN Security Clearance Blog, December 11, 2011.  Learn more about the Afghan Local Police (ALP).

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Reintegration of Afghan Insurgents a Slow Process

WASHINGTON, Dec. 8, 2011 – Permanently removing insurgents from the fight and reintegrating them into their Afghan communities is a gradual process that will take time, the International Security Assistance Force officer directing coalition support to that Afghan-led effort said today.

British Royal Marine Maj. Gen. David Hook, director of ISAF’s Force Reintegration cell, briefed Pentagon reporters today by video link from Kabul, Afghanistan.

The Afghan Peace and Reintegration program has so far helped 2,970 former insurgents rejoin Afghan society, Hook noted, and is working with another 1,200 fighters who represent “reintegration opportunities.”

While the program is nationwide and directed by the central government in Kabul, he added, it is implemented at the district and provincial level throughout Afghanistan. Most reintegrated former fighters, he said, have come from the nation’s northern and western provinces, but numbers in the southern and eastern areas are increasing slowly.
Read the rest of the story at "Afghan Reintegration Program will Take Time", U.S. Department of Defense, December 8, 2011.  Learn more about reintegration of insurgents.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Movie - "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy"

A new movie has been released entitled Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.  This should prove to be a classic and of great interest for those who work in or want to know more about the intelligence field; and of course, it should prove to be great entertainment for many more as well. The movie is based on the book Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John LeCarre and is set in the Cold War era when western agents and Soviet bloc agents were spying on each other. LeCarre is a former British intelligence operative who retired and became a famous writer of espionage novels. Read a recent movie review of the film by Peter Rainer in The Christian Science Monitor here. Click here to view a book review on Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Hope for Afghanistan? Assessment by Linda Robinson

Linda Robinson, a well-known author, has a piece in The AFPAK Channel blog on Afghanistan. She has visited Afghanistan four times this year (2011) and interviewed numerous military and civilian officials of the coalition and Afghan government.  Her assessment is spot on and a good read which will provide a great understanding of the current situation in Afghanistan.  Of note is her stance that we need to partner more with Afghan security forces, support the Afghan Local Police (ALP) program, and get the Afghan security forces engaged more in the counterinsurgency fight.  See her article entitled "Is there hope for Afghanistan?", The AFPAK Channel, Foreign Policy, November 29, 2011 at the link below: