Logistics: Men Go By Air, Stuff Goes By Sea


October 17, 2009: While some unneeded units in Iraq have been sent on to Afghanistan, this has not happened a lot. The main reason is transportation. The troops are flown in, but the equipment goes by ship, rail (from the Pakistani port of Karachi) and truck (into Afghanistan, which has no railroads). That can take a month or more. In the meantime, the troops are sitting around with not much to do.

Thousands of troops have been sent straight from Iraq to Afghanistan, but these were usually tech specialists (intelligence, maintenance, administrative, logistics) who simply join units in Afghanistan that need them, and get to work. But for combat, or transportation, troops, they can't do their work without a lot of gear. Some of that stuff can be flown in, but that's a lot more expensive, and often there are simply not enough aircraft available.

So in most cases, it makes more sense to send troops home, along with their equipment (unless the Iraqis have bought it, which they have done with a lot of used American vehicles and heavy equipment), and send fresh units to Afghanistan. Which brings up another problem. When you send a unit from Iraq to Afghanistan, it will be leaving Afghanistan early. That's because units do "overseas" tours of 3-12 months, and as soon as they have been in Iraq or Afghanistan (or any number of other places) for the length of their tour, they go home. To do otherwise is really, really bad for morale.



Article Archive

Logistics: Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close