Professionals talk logistics

Having ordered an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan in December 2009, President Obama has now ordered the “Surge Recovery,”  the first 10,000 troops home by the end of December and another 20,000 home by the end of September 2012. 

This follows the plan to end the combat mission by 2014 while shifting to an advisor-only mission.  Recently though, there has been talk of even moving-up the mission-shift to 2012.

Amateurs talk tactics; Professionals talk logistics.  –GEN Omar Bradley

And there is the recent discovery by the media that we need to get logistics right for the Afghan Army (and Afghan National Security Forces at large):  Afghan Army’s next hurdle: logistics.  This is no surprise to anyone familiar with the Counterinsurgency Field Manual, FM 3-24.  A significant lesson learned in Vietnam was that logistics are should be among the first things established in a COIN environment. 

Disregarding the FM 3-24, our military leaders consciously decided to field Afghan combat units first choosing to delay the logistics support elements.  A post on the NTM-A website from November, 2010 states, “For the past year, the focus was on increasing the number of ANA infantry-centric soldiers. Having exceeded this year’s goal, the mission now includes fielding the enablers and professionalizing the force.”  

I think that in the 2007-2008 period, the U.S. political pressure was mounting that there “weren’t enough Afghans dying for their country” or something to that effect.  The “United States Plan for Sustaining the Afghanistan National Security Forces” report to Congress for FY2008 states on page 88:

The ANA is continuing to grow at an accelerated rate, focusing on infantry-centric forces to provide immediate security-capable boots-on-the-ground, while consciously delaying development of many of the combat support and combat service support enabler units until a later date.

So, the logistics are just getting up and running and we are leaving–sounds about right.  No need to look for intelligent life here.

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