|I Just finished reading todays CNN story on Afghanistan. And got a little sick about the tones of the last paragraph so decided to final create an account here and do a little expository writing.
1. The active military has bought into the COIN dogma. Is it the 100% solution in every circumstance; No, did it work in Iraq; yes. Will it work in Afghanistan? It depends on the resources allocated and what our end state is.
2. I love the arguments in the media saying the service chiefs are worried about dwell time and we risk breaking the army, and we cannot train for high intensity conflict. There is some truth to those statements, however it is a political decision. If our nation had the political will we could place a million service members in Afghanistan indefinitely. This would be ala WW2 and do away with unit rotations, and require indef mobilization of the reserves. Unpopular and unpalatable politically. But it could be done. So the question isnt really can we mobilize the necessary manpower, but do we have the will to do whats necessary if we choose to execute a counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan.
3. Even if we do not "surge" forces to Afghanistan we will probably need another 20,000 men over the next 18 months to replace the Canadian and Dutch forces whos mandates will be expiring.
4. My take... send another 3 IBCT's and 1 SBCT for full spectrum operations. Add 2 HBCT's in an advise and assist role to serve as mentors for the ANSF. Add significant aviation and enabler support as Iraq draws down. (1 Marine RCT could be substituted for 1 IBCT)
5. We are still in for some difficult times, the thing that made the Iraq surge successful force generation of Iraqi forces. Even in raw numbers we are no where near that threshold.