Afghanistan: supplying our forces.
Warlords VS. Strategic Airlift
From the For Freedom Forums, Republican Intelligence forum.
1. Afghan secure supply routes and new airport infrastructure
Download Warlord, Inc. Extortion and Corruption Along the U.S. Supply Chain in Afghanistan - Right-click, Save Target As ...
WARLORD, INC. wrote:
In Afghanistan, the U.S. military faces one of the most complicated and difficult supply chains in the history of warfare. The task of feeding, fueling, and arming American troops at over 200 forward operating bases and combat outposts sprinkled across a difficult and hostile terrain with only minimal road infrastructure is nothing short of herculean. In order to accomplish this mission, the Department of Defense employs a hitherto unprecedented logistics model: responsibility for the supply chain is almost entirely outsourced to local truckers and Afghan private security providers.
Transporting valuable and sensitive supplies in highly remote and insecure locations requires extraordinary levels of security.
Consider the Role of Afghan National Security Forces in Highway Security.
In the future, Afghan security forces will have a role to play in road security. Proposals to reform the convoy security scheme ought to take a medium- to long-term view of the role of Afghan security forces, while developing credible security alternatives that address the immediate U.S. military logistics needs.
Oversee Contracts to Ensure Contract Transparency and Performance.
The Department of Defense needs to provide the personnel and resources required to manage and oversee its trucking and security contracts in Afghanistan. Contracts of this magnitude and of this consequence require travel ‘outside the wire.’ For convoys, that means having the force protection resources necessary for mobility of military logistics personnel to conduct periodic unannounced inspections and ride-alongs.
My plan can achieve the "Warlord, Inc." recommendations 3 and 6, not merely to stop extortion and corruption along the supply chain but to gain a further significant advance to NATO-ISAF mission goals.
I propose secure supply route border defences and a dedicated Afghan protection force to man those defences which would achieve all along the main supply routes a level of security which is similar to the security inside a military base or fort.
"Warlord, Inc." uses the NATO-ISAF parlance of "inside the wire" to refer to the security achieved within their own NATO-ISAF bases but to virtually nowhere else in Afghanistan.
It is about time NATO-ISAF and the Afghan government and military were extending that true security "inside the wire" to more of Afghanistan. My secure supply route plan would bring more of Afghanistan "inside the wire" so to speak.
The secure supply route border defences require only authorised persons living inside the secure defences.
The general population sadly may harbour enemy agents and so must be required to live outside the border defences.
Where isolated houses and small villages can be relocated to use a suitable existing supply road then that should be done with compensation for the relocated residents and landowners.
Where the settlements along the old supply route are too big to move then new roads should be built for a new supply route, by-passing those bigger settlements by at least 6 miles.
WARLORD, INC. wrote:
Supplying the Troops
Afghanistan … is a landlocked country whose neighbors range from uneasy U.S. allies, such as Pakistan and Uzbekistan, to outright adversaries, such as Iran.
The fastest route to Afghanistan is by air. However, the lack of airport infrastructure places significant constraints on the military’s ability to rely on air transport to supply the troops. Afghanistan has only 16 airports with paved runways, and of those, only four are accessible to non-military aircraft (including contractor-operated cargo planes). Air transport is also the most costly shipping option. Thus, while air transport is available, it is limited to personnel and high-priority cargo. Only about 20 percent of cargo reaches Afghanistan by air.
Then let NATO-ISAF supply fully 100 percent of its cargo by air by increasing by 5-fold the airport infrastructure and capacity of Afghanistan, building perhaps one or two more big hub airports around the country or a few more long runways and additional cargo handling facilities at existing airports like Bagram or Kandahar - to accept the incoming international flights, such as Hercules C-130s, then from those large hub airports transfer the cargo into smaller planes to fly from new short runways at those few hub airports on to dozens of new smaller airports all around Afghanistan.
To pay for this, money can be reallocated to airport construction by rationalising some of the 200 most expensive and remote forward operating bases and combat outposts. Close those which cost more than they are worth.
Retreat to the really important bases, build airfields for them and build secure supply route defences to and from them and that's a very strong defensive position from which to launch offensive operations against the enemy.
No longer will the legitimate military and civilian traffic require the permission of warlords to travel along Afghanistan's highways.
2. Bastion Airfield Afghanistan for a secure supply hub
Bastion Airport (NATO Channel on YouTube)
Wikipedia wrote: Camp Bastion is the main British military base in Afghanistan. It is situated northwest of Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand Province.
It is the largest British overseas military camp built since World War II.
Built in early 2006, the camp is situated in a remote desert area, far from population centres. Four miles long by two miles wide, it has an airstrip and a field hospital and full accommodation for the 2000 men and women stationed there. The base is divided into 2 main parts, Bastion 1 and Bastion 2. Bastion 2 includes two tenant camps, Camp Barber (US) and Camp Viking (DK). Bastion also adjoins Camp Leatherneck (US) and the Afghan National Army (ANA) Camp Shorabak. Bastion's airstrip can handle C-17s; C-130 transport aircraft; Apache and Chinook helicopters are forward-deployed at the Heliport.
Ministry of Defence News wrote: Camp Bastion doubles in size
Camp Bastion, the lynchpin of British, and increasingly American, operations in Helmand, is a desert metropolis, complete with airport, that is expanding at a remarkable pace. Report by Sharon Kean.
Bastion exists for one reason: to be the logistics hub for operations in Helmand. Supply convoys and armoured patrols regularly leave its heavily-defended gates. They support the military forward operating bases, patrol bases and checkpoints spread across Helmand province.
Well here's another reason for Bastion to exist - to become a logistics hub for operations across Afghanistan, well beyond Helmand province.
Colonel Mathie wrote: The biggest project is the airfield, a new runway and air traffic control tower. When it's finished we'll be able to put our TriStar airliners straight in here instead of going to Kandahar, allowing us to get strategic air traffic into Bastion. That will be a big development for us.
With strategic airlift capacity, think strategically. A few more runways like the new longer runway at Bastion and Afghanistan's airfield infrastructure would be sufficient for all of NATO-ISAF force supplies to reach Afghanistan by air - removing dependence and vulnerability on Pakistan's land routes and eliminating the extortion and corruption along the Afghanistan ground supply chain, as detailed in Warlord, Inc..
After supplies are landed at the few huge hub airports - Bagram, Kandahar and Bastion - cargo could be transferred into smaller airplanes using adjacent smaller runways for connecting flights out to smaller airfields associated with NATO-ISAF forward operating bases.
Whether by luck or by design Bastion is well chosen in being far from a population centre which makes it politically feasible to impose a rigorous security exclusion zone on the ground for many miles around the airport.
Controlling the ground far around a military airport is very necessary to defend the incoming aircraft against missile attack by ensuring no enemy can get close enough to launch a missile anywhere near below where the planes descend to land.
Landing at night is not a sufficient defence. Aircraft engines and their exhaust jets are very hot and infra-red shines just as brightly at night for missiles to lock on to.
We cannot assume that the Taliban will be unable to source the most advanced ground-to-air missiles. We should assume they will source such missiles and take the necessary security precautions.
So at Bastion NATO-ISAF must control the ground in a vast security perimeter out to the horizon and beyond which means closing the nearby road to Afghan traffic and providing an alternative circuitous route for civilian traffic.
I need hardly mention the military, economic and political disaster of allowing the enemy to bring down one of our big aircraft. So this must not be allowed to happen. Therefore a very wide secure ground exclusion zone around Bastion should be imposed.
In addition, I need hardly remind people of Al Qaeda's willingness to use aircraft themselves as weapons and therefore airport air defences need to be operational and alert at all times, not just when scheduled aircraft are landing.
The progress at Bastion is very promising for the whole Afghanistan mission. It shows the way ahead.
We can contemplate one day removing the constraints limiting NATO-ISAF supplies reaching Afghanistan by air. From a limit of about 20 percent now, I foresee a 100 percent supply-into-Afghanistan-by-air strategy as both feasible and desirable.
- Peter Dow
For Freedom Forums Administrator
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