Statement and Question on Terrorist Activities

I work with a lot of people that have expertise in many areas of defense.  One of my friends (colleague) is a subject matter expert on counter terrorism and other areas of warfare.   Let us call her Mrs. M.   Mrs. M asked me to think about and discuss the Boston marathon situation relative to counter terrorism.  I had considered thinking about what she had written to me and doing some additional research and writing on the subject but once I thought about it a little more it occurred to me that I should just post her thoughts for question and commentary.   The following words are hers.  She is speaking from an authoritative perspective based on her expertise but I think there is room for asking questions and holding a discussion.   Maybe it is just something to consider.  Here goes Mrs. M! 

The objective of terrorists is to control and influence people through fear. I understand the importance of capturing the terrorist suspects in the attack on the Boston Marathon; however, locking down 4.5 million Bostonians is feeding right into the hands of the terrorists. Police would never typically lock down a city when looking for 2 suspects. Rather than live in fear, glued to the news, the best thing Bostonians and Americans can do is to continue living their lives as normal. I understand the need to be vigilant and aware of one’s surroundings, but the best thing the average Joe can do to combat terrorism is to go to the store, see a movie, attend a sporting event, go for a run, heck – sign up for a local race or next year’s Boston Marathon!

 

The success of terrorist actions is also heavily influence by the battle of the narrative. Rather than post 24 hour coverage of the suspects, bombs going off and victims. I would like to see more stories of inspiration, acts of kindness, strength and generosity.

What do you think and why? 

Dispatches from the Front: 5 December 2012

Christmas Day is 20 days from now.  I wish for you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas.  It is a very special time of the year when even salty old dogs like me enjoy the magic the season brings.  What is your favorite Christmas holiday song?  My wife’s favorite is “Silent Night”.

Although I enjoy Faith Hill’s version of “Where are you Christmas”, ever since that period on active duty where I spent five consecutive Christmas holiday’s deployed, my favorite has been, “I’ll be home for

Christmas”.   Thank you for your friendship and goodwill during the past

year. I wish you a wonderful holiday season and a New Year full of happiness and prosperity.

 

It is cold here now.  Attached, you will find a couple of photos of the Hindu Kush Mountains that completely surround us.  With the snow on them, one could say they are pretty.  I guess there is beauty in hell.

However, bad people constantly shoot rockets and mortars at us from those hills so they will never be pretty to me. The photo of the vehicle, MRAP, is to show their tremendous size.  I honestly do not know if those vehicles are the correct solution to the IED threat.  I do know MRAPs are used throughout this Theater. I am grateful our Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard men and women who ride in them are safer during the accomplishment of their missions while in

harm’s way.  

 

On the 18th of December, I will be at my 1/2 mark.  Time still passes much too quickly even in hell.  Consolidating the daily situational reports of the past 24 hours of kinetic events draws a physiological toll and worries me a bit. The figures on deaths, loss of limbs and other serious wounds, to all sides, has crept into and affected the dark and black section of my heart.  I have learned to hate the Taliban and all who support them.  Hate is not healthy for it negates the ability to forgive. The Taliban seriously just need killing.  Unfortunately, we will not be able to kill enough of them to allow the current Afghan military and police force to protect the peoples of this geographical area before the United States and Coalition Partners depart these miserable lands.  I did not call Afghanistan a country, for the tribes in the hills do not recognize Afghanistan as a nation state.  That is both bad and good.  The bad part has to do with the party line “strategic objectives” that justified the US and ISAF to come to these lands in the first place.  Bottom line, my opinion and my opinion only, those objectives will not be accomplished.  Unfortunately, the loss of National Treasure combined with the fiscal costs of this and the Iraq war has contributed to the fiscal disaster facing our Nation.  In the end, those costs will be for such little good or strategic gain.  The good news is that these mountain tribes are the true strength of the peoples within these lands.  Since recorded history, no power, either inside or outside, has ever subjugated or ruled the mountain tribes collectively.  Neither will the Taliban. 

 

There was a recent nasty multiple car-bombing on a forward operating base not far from here.  So compared to the men and women lying in the field hospital beds a few hundred yards from where I am typing this note, all is well.  I am in need of nothing.  I am healthy.  I am happy.

 

 

Over the years, I have traveled in sixty-five countries, led men in combat, been shot at and cut with a knife, but I have never been alone because of the reason Christmas is celebrated; I remain grateful for the Lord’s Grace and His Son. There is no finer gift to receive than that.

Merry Christmas! 

DSCN0700z1

 

Semper Fidelis,

Ken

LOST -Line of Sight Tasking and Result

ImageThe last thing you did may have been the first thought in someone’s head and the last thing on your big list of things to do.

“If you thought you were busy now, just wait.”

What the management books or leadership books have a hard time conveying is something beyond a process.  The tacit knowledge that makes successful people actually successful is where a lot of the magic lives.   Reading most of these books gives the reader some good ideas on the process but not always the methods employed to create that success.   Enough on this..  back to the point.

LOST – Line of sight tasking causes stress, anxiety and can make some feel overwhelmed.   Managers can forget what tasks they put out and the result is a loss of tasking and accountability.   Recently, I have thought of this as in relation to a math or science problem.   If a manager tasks 15 people by line of sight, he or she can achieve their ultimate goal.   The manager can still have a mission, vision, goal and objective, critical success factors and an end state in mind.   This manager can be successful but there is a cost.   Lets look at this from the perspective of a math problem.

The problem to solve is: (3+4i)+(8-11i)

The answer is: 11-7i

as opposed to 

The problem to solve is (3+4i)+(8-11i) and.. Remember, with complex variables, keep like terms involving i together….

Multiply i and 4

Multiply i and 1

The i just gets copied along.

The answer is i

i

4*i evaluates to 4i

3+4*i evaluates to 3+4i

Multiply i and 11

Multiply i and 1

The i just gets copied along.

The answer is i

i

11*i evaluates to 11i

8-11*i evaluates to 8-11i

To add the polynomials 3+4i and 8-11i we try to add or combine terms in one polynomialwith any like terms in the other polynomial.

3 + 8 = 11

4i + -11i = -7i

The answer is 11-7i

(3+4*i)+(8-11*i) evaluates to 11-7i


The final answer (almost!) is

11-7i

Now, let’s simplify the i‘s to get our final answer:
The i in -7i cannot be simplified, so just leave it as is.


The final answer is

11-7i

It is pretty ironic that I am using this as an example since I consider myself Dyscalculia.   Getting to the answer or knowing the answer or getting the result is only PART OF THE PROBLEM.   We have to be able to understand how we got to the answer and further what steps = tasks we took to get there.

What if I were to say to solve this problem (3+4i)+(8-11i) but the “order of operations” is by line of sight management.  “I need you to start with 3+8.”  Could you get to the right answer?  Sure, I bet you could.. might take longer.  How do you know you have the right answer?  How could someone help validate your logic?  How could people duplicate your efforts?

If we take a logical and thought out iterative approach to project and task management there is time to check our work.   Line of sight tasking creates memory loss.  No one really knows what happened last or what is coming next.

The thing about feeling overwhelmed in project management and feeling stressed is to get a hold of the big picture. The problem is that anxiety and stress related to line of sight tasking doesn’t really come from the person that is creating the tasks. It comes from the people that are on the receiving end. Somehow people that are creating the tasks are of the mindset that if you believe it, you can achieve it.

Consider this when you are working on your next project.

In support of our Warfighter Creed

Perception

 “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” – Albert Einstein

Google “Contractors Creed” and this is what you get from http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?57037-Contractors-Creed

THE CONTRACTORS CREED
I am a contractor. I look out for myself, the operators to my left and right, and no one else.

I will always take advantage of the fact that I can finally tell Commissioned Officers to pack sand, and will do so at every possible occasion.

I am my country’s scapegoat, the “plausible deniability” warrior, and I love it.

Less than 700 dollars a day is Unacceptable.

I am trained to eat things that would make a Billy goat puke, but will refuse anything less than 60 dollars Per Diem because I am greedy.

I care not for ribbons, nor awards for valor. I do this job for the opportunity to kill the enemies of my country, and to finally get that boat I’ve always wanted.

I will be in better shape than 99% of the active duty personnel, although this is not hard.

I will equip myself with the latest high-speed gear, and will trick out my M4 until it weighs more than 24 lbs, not because it works better, but because it looks cool in photographs.

I will carry more weapons, ammunition, and implements of death on my person, than an infantry fire team, and when engaged I will lay waste to everything around me.

In any combat zone, I will always locate the swimming pool, beer, and women, because I can.

I will deploy on my terms, and if it ever gets too stupid, I will simply find another company that pays me more.

How complicated…  or Maybe not

While this particular writing is referring to contractors that are serving (yes I said that) in the field alongside our finest.   It is a common theme heard in any situation where defense contractors are present.

According the NY Times “There were 113,491 employees of defense contractors in Afghanistan as of January 2012, compared with about 90,000 American soldiers, according to Defense Department statistics. Of those, 25,287, or about 22 percent of the employees, were American citizens, with 47 percent Afghans and 31 percent from other countries.” (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/12/world/asia/afghan-war-risks-are-shifting-to-contractors.html)

If that is true, which I believe it was at the time and still is, than contractors are part of our fighting forces and moreover they are part of our planning forces.   What this means is that

  • Contractors are people.
  • Contractors have a stake in war fighting personal and professional.
  • Contractors and Government Civilians are similar in a lot of ways.
  • Contractors and military service members can operate under the same conditions.

Captain Obvious

Good ethics and values are not bound by our uniform or contract.  In other words, whether I took an oath and wrote it down as a human to human kind of activity or I took an oath on my own the result is the same.   In contracting documentation and presentations given to government workers there is a note on the fact that a government worker took an oath.  Here is  an example ethics handout it is public via google.

(http://www.doi.gov/ethics/docs/Dangerous%20Liaisons,%20Dealing%20With%20Contractors%20Handout.pdf)

More on this www.acq.osd.mil/dpap/ccap/…/gov.ctr.relationshipaf.doc (Air Force document).

What the documents say is “do the right things” and they tell you what those things are by law.   Interestingly enough,  I have worked for years with contractors and leadership has told us over and over what the right things are.   The point is that WE should be ethical in OUR behavior REGARDLESS of whether we are government or contractor.  More often than not in my experience a lot of contractors are more inclined to do the right things because they really have more to lose.

Let’s think about this for minute..

  • Contractor does something wrong the result is termination of the contract.
  • Government worker does something wrong the result is an inquiry, after years the government worker is either terminated or promoted.

Isn’t this true?  Or do I just have a great imagination?

Point – If you are bored by now

We need a creed on behalf of our war fighter.  We need to be ethical and have integrity because.. JUST BECAUSE folks….  Politics are for politicians and there are a lot of them.  One thing I have learned over the years is that politicians don’t stop bullets from the boardroom.  I don’t really care what they are doing frankly, I care about what I am doing.  Am I doing what is right for my friends in the field?  Whether they are paid for by the government through one color of money or another doesn’t matter, the result is the same.  We are fighting for freedom; our freedom and democracy; our democracy. I am **ANGRY** because I am an American and I love this country and want it to exist and I want my kids to have choices in their lives.

I am tired.. of hearing excuses from individuals that they can’t do the things they need to do because of someone else.  I have mentioned in posts before that I know people that don’t give up but they are few.  So, here it is.. the short of it…

In Support of our Warfighter Creed 

I support our Warfighter. I think about my country and my family and the extension of those around me, I consider operators regardless of uniform and title.  

I will work to have faith in those around me and build trust with those whom I don’t know well in order to protect and preserve our existence as we know it.

I will lead from where I am and seek to be better every day knowing that if I excel those around me excel. 

I will look to practice being selfless and empathetic of others. 

I will be strong and take a stand when I have to. 

I will share information to benefit everyone that shares my cause.

I will reuse and recycle process, methods and tools anywhere and anytime I can.  

I have a code and recognize that others do as well, I will respect them as I expect them to respect me. 

I will collaborate, cooperate and communicate every opportunity I have as I understand together we are stronger. 

I will work to sharpen my body and my mind to be strong and ready. 

I will be concerning with my actions and take responsibility for me. 

I will be honest.

I will be loyal. 

I will deliver results and prove them when possible through measured success. 

I will not always know the mass effects of my work but I will recognize that results are independent of intent and results will vary while intent is consistent.  

I am accountable for my actions and I hold myself responsible and expect others to do the same. 

I know and understand right from wrong and if I am challenged to understanding the difference or I feel as if I am uncertain, I will ask a trusted agent to help provide clarity. 

End 

More ?

Some people can easily tie this to religion.. it can’t be about religion because we will differ.  This has to be for the purpose of our shared values.  Religion is divisive, that being said… if your faith is aligned with these concepts.. this shouldn’t be a problem for you.

I don’t expect people to take this idea and run with it or change their behavior overnight but I do want people to think about and recognize that our failings are our enemies strength.

The reason why American’s are so good is because we have shared values sewn together as a diverse tapestry with drastically dynamic and different roots.  In other words, we are all very different but when we come together these differences melt into something very powerful, common and known.  Ask anyone who grew up in a place like Coop City in the Bronx, we were all different but we were so tied together that we have been bound in friendship for almost 40 years.

Take a stand and share this creed..  letting people know that you care is a step towards building trust. 

Dispatches from the Front: 19 August 2012

Today ends Ramadan.  Previously, I experienced this month long Islamic holiday during the two years deployed in Saudi Arabia.  Back then, it was more of an annoyance than an igniter to increase our threat readiness level.   Not only do we have the Taliban to worry about, recently, there is an increase of Green (Afghan soldiers and police who were coalition trained and trusted “good guys”) on Blue (us, the coalition forces) killings.  In order to understand why such a change, I researched the significance of this religious event.  Before now, everything I needed to know about the Islamic faith, I learned on Sept 11, 2001.

The following four points have been synopsized from Wikipedia.  Ramadan:

A.            It is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.

B.            Muslims worldwide observe this as a month of fasting.

C.            This annual observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of

Islam.  (If you want to review your knowledge on the Five Pillars, see the attachment page of this Dispatch.)

D. The month lasts 29-30 days based on the visual sightings of the crescent moon.  (more on the moon below)

That is enough from Wikipedia.   Now I understand.  The bastards are miserable because they realize they have not done enough for Allah.  They are hungry, thirsty and go without sex from sun up to sun down for a month.   So who do they take out their frustration besides their women who are indentured to a life of servitude?  Us!  Killing an Infidel has got to offset their warped human psyche as dehydration takes its toll in this excessive heat combined with the pains of hunger which only serves to piss them off.   I now see why this religious holiday causes strange things to happen to the people celebrating it.

Note:  I am not including all Muslims as bastards, just the ones who what to kill us; or enslave us by levying a heavy yearly tax of an amount they decide for payment for not accepting their faith.  I for one

will go to my death before I accept Islam.   Statistically, there has got to be a few of the 1.62 billion adherents that make up over 23% of the world population, who actually peacefully practice their militant religion of peace.  Let none misunderstand, Islam can be practiced as peacefully as Christianity and many do but that is not the way I have seen it.  Our Reformation worked, theirs failed.  Even the peaceful ones want all to convert to Islam.

That is enough of one man’s religious philosophy. Back to the subject of Ramadan and why crazy things are happening here.

In my opinion, dehydration coupled with heightened sensitivities, specifically cultural and religious, create conditions for bad decisions.  I’ve been here almost 3 months and I have not seen one drop of rain to reduce the 100+ degree daily temperatures.  Excessive draught as well as misery makes for an extremely combustible environment that takes only a whisper of a spark to ignite.  Those who do not share in a collective misery of a group, the Infidels, whether right or wrong, quickly become the center of the “group’s” frustration.

To counter this madness, we who are on the “inside” of the wire looking “out” and especially our Marines, Soldiers, Airmen, Coast Guardsmen and our Coalition Partners who routinely venture and remain in harm’s way; we must remain vigilant and apply special sensory awareness as we protect each other in the accomplishment of our mission.  Our enemy will continue to influence, impersonate, and intimidate the Afghan National Security Force (ANSF) in an effort to create an environment with the intent to discredit the US/Combined Force mission; to turn the security of this Nation over to the Afghan peoples who seek a better future for themselves and their children.

All enemies are opportunistic.  The Taliban are no more or no less than those of our past.  I personally think they continue to miss great strides in subversion and terror due to limited scale of though and ability to execute.  However, he has brutality and technology on his side.  The brutality the world has had to witness for centuries.

Cutting off one villager’s head in front of his family speaks volumes and cancels out the good work or deeds accomplished by the coalition forces.  Why,  because in many districts throughout this miserable land where a trained military or police force does not exist or able to respond;  the coalition forces left behind only  new schools, stocked medical facilities, irrigation ditches, roads, improved farming practices, etc., all which provide hope but not protection.   For centuries, the unprotected are forced to watch their hopes quickly be washed away by the blood of their loved ones.  With the wealth produced from the opium trade that funds our enemy, they are provided unlimited access to “everyman’s” technology.  Although they have the funds and means to purchase multimillion dollar military widgets in small quantities, they are not needed to be successful.  Access to social networks, satellite phones, and basic explosion initiation devices are what they buy and what worries me.  I promise you, the Taliban will use every available means to discredit our efforts, while he attempts to remain relevant in the minds of the very people they desire to control.

Remember, we the coalition partners have to be right 100% of the time.

The Taliban has to be right just once.

So to me, I learned that Ramadan just sucks.  I have the increase in causality reports to prove it.  The Church on March 18, 1314 burned Jacques de Molay wrongly.  It is wise there are no Knights of Templar recruiting stations on Bagram.

My mother taught me to always at least try to look for something nice in things I do not like or approve.  The timing of Ramadan with the alignment of the crescent moon and Venus is spectacular.  One early morning prior to the end of Ramadan, against the foothills of the Himalayas, the crescent moon and Venus were perfectly captured as on the

National flag of Turkey.

Semper Fidelis,

Ken

CJTF-1, 1D, CJ Assessments

Task Force Defender

Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan

APO AE 09354

Attachment:  The Five Pillars of Islam:

  1. The Shahayda (Islamic creed).

The shahada means “to know and believe without suspicion, as if witnessed, testification”; it is the name of the Islamic creed.  The shahada is the Muslim declaration of belief in the oneness of God and acceptance of Muhammad as God’s prophet.  The declaration in its shortest form reads:

There is no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God.

  1. Daily prayers (salah),

Salah is a ritual worship, having prescribed conditions, a prescribed procedure, and prescribed times. To perform valid Salah, Muslims must be in a state of ritual purity, which is mainly achieved by ritual washing or cleaning of the body, according to prescribed procedures.

For some of the Islamic sects, obligatory salah is prescribed at five periods of the day. These are measured according to the movement of the sun.

(1)    near dawn

(2)     After midday has passed and the sun starts to tilt downwards

(3)     Noon – in the afternoon

(4)    Just after sunset

(5)    Around nightfall

  1. Almsgiving

It is the giving of a fixed portion of one’s wealth to charity, generally to the poor and needy.

  1. Fasting during Ramadan

Ritual fasting is an obligatory act during the month of Ramadan.  Muslims must abstain from food and drink from dawn to dusk during this month, and are to be especially mindful of other sins. Fasting is necessary for every Muslim that has reached puberty (unless he/she suffers from a medical condition which prevents him/her from doing so.)

The fast is meant to allow Muslims to seek nearness to Allah, to express their gratitude to and dependence on him, atone for their past sins, and to remind them of the needy.During Ramadan, Muslims are also expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam by refraining from violence, anger, envy, greed, lust, profane language, gossip and to try to get along with fellow Muslims better. In addition, all obscene and irreligious sights and sounds are to be avoided.

Fasting during Ramadan is obligatory, but is forbidden for several groups for whom it would be very dangerous and excessively problematic. These include pre-pubescent children, those with a medical condition such as diabetes, elderly people, and pregnant or breastfeeding women. Observing fasts is not permitted for menstruating women. Other individuals for whom it is considered acceptable not to fast are those who are ill or traveling. Missing fasts usually must be made up for soon afterward, although the exact requirements vary according to circumstance

  1. The pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime.

Again, this information was synopsized from Wikipedia.  I highlighted and underlined “fellow Muslims”.  The rest of the world is damned in their eyes.

Ken

For Those Who Serve (Forgotten Troops)

In my office I have a plaque that Kenny Williams gave me when I decided to leave Joint Forces and move on to work with DISA.

From One Warrior to a Cyber Warrior

I see this almost every day, sometimes I am facing it for hours.    What does it mean? What does it mean to you?

What does it mean?

As I have stated in earlier posts, Ken for me is a personal living hero.  He is a man of honor and integrity, he is a man of purpose, and he is a true leader.   Most people talk about “the warfighter” and don’t know anything about war or service for that matter.   Ken doesn’t just talk about people in the field, he actively works to help them.   This year as shown in his dispatches from the field, he chose to go out and help them in person.   To me it is no different from a firefighter or a police officer or anyone else who serves our community and makes sacrifices for the GREATER GOOD of our country and our way of life.

It is a volunteer military but what would this country do if people didn’t volunteer?   These people are making a choice and a sacrifice.   In some cases they make the ultimate sacrifice.

I am responding to those of you who can’t deal with what Ken has been writing and to those of you that have told me that it is by choice that our service members are serving.  You are RIGHT!  It was their choice, and their choice made it so that you or your children or grand children aren’t sitting in a festering pit wondering what war they are fighting and why.

The common saying by service members is “I would rather fight the enemy on their land as opposed to ours.” The young men and women of our country are doing us a service and they deserve not only our respect but they deserve our support and our attention.

It is my personal responsibility as an American and as a person who recognizes that people are putting themselves in danger for ME and my family to do everything I can to recognize them and support them.

What does it mean to you?

I am sharing my plaque with you.  I can’t write a blog every week saying the same thing as you will either stop reading or ignore me.  This is reality.   What I can do is share with you this reminder,  copy the picture, print it do what you want but know that this plaque is for all of us.   This is what it really says to you.

You may not be a Marine, but the Marines love you.  They would give and have given everything to protect you and our way of life.   You don’t have to be there with them to help.   You can be where you are and lead/follow from where you are to help them.   Although this plaque says “Semper Fidelis”  the blade this plaque holds is not bound to one service .   Take a moment at some point everyday to remember that good people are working for and fighting for you today.   Find ways to stand up for them and protect them and remember them,  think about them because they are certainly thinking of you.

Final Thoughts

There are American troops in everywhere, if you are serving them in some way as a government employee or contractor don’t fail them.  Don’t make excuses either, excuses don’t stop bullets.   If you are a citizen, please take some time to think of them.  If you are service member, Thank You.

Dispatches from the Front: 29 July 2012

… From Ken

Friends,

In some of the return e-mails, several have asked I not include or discuss the “un-pleasantries of war” in my “Dispatches”.  To those kind souls, my advice is to simply delete all future e-mails from me.

Unfortunately, I am not in a pleasant place to accommodate such a request.  The truth often is not pretty.  It matters not how eloquently words are strung together, daily death and destruction is difficult to mask.  I will try harder, but there is little in the few local Afghan merchants, third world mess hall workers, the barren landscape with its’

oppressive heat, the three separate species of birds [(1) mourning dove;

(2) black and white winged starling; (3) small body sparrow], the mice and rats, that are available to write nice things about.  I promised myself to record what I have seen and not made-up fiction.  I have

always believed, “to thy own self be true”.

Your’ Marines, Soldiers, Sailors, Air Force, and Coast Guard, our coalition partners, and the civilians, both DoD and contractors are doing a terrific job with their tasks.  Never have I seen any of them appear weary in doing their duty.  They are the doers of good and doers of the right thing.  I have never seen them afraid or discouraged, only strong and courageous. Sure they bitch, but I remember the same grumbling heard during any deployment or any place I have ever worked or traveled.  It would worry me more if I heard nothing.  They all have and draw from an inner strength securely put in place before their arrival.

To each, it is different; as it should be.  A life lived is determined by circumstance, luck, timing and your beliefs.   Surely there are other qualifiers, but without the benefit of a glass or two of a fine ancient single malt whisky to stimulate the senses, those are enough.  For me my inner strength comes from my absolute belief in God and His Son Jesus.

I believe in Them as much as I believe there is a United States Marine Corps.  I make a sorry Christian but I learned early in life, “once you trust in the Lord, fear not what others can do unto you”. I was also taught that “a man’s true worth is what he has done to help others”.

Every day is a gift and you only are given so many.  How you consume each daily gift is totally up to you.  I promise you, a day does not pass without reflection on just how lucky I am to live in the day and time I do and to be blessed with the people I know and have known.

Sadly, I am confident my enemy believes in Allah as much as he believes in the Taliban. That is why I have to help and do all that I can to kill him.   Negotiations, peaceful resolutions, let’s meet and sing “kume bye aye” are for the diplomats and politicians.  God bless their work.  A warrior’s work requires a more direct solution.  I never liked it years back when I first read it, but now fully understand, “From the ashes of the vanquished, the victor is able to build unencumbered”.

Unfortunately, we will not see victory in Afghanistan.  Also, the last I checked, we are not here to make Afghanistan the 51st state.

Counterinsurgency warfare or “COIN” operations is our current strategy.

Winning the hearts and minds of the people is a good thing.  I am from the old school and new techniques come hard to me, especially when a “time line” is put in place and when reached; you declare “success” and leave. COIN will indeed work as long as the people you have “won over” feel protected and free from retribution of evil.  I simply do not believe the Afghanistan military and police will be able to maintain good order and discipline throughout this miserable country once we and our coalition partners depart. My opinion and my opinion alone, their success will be short lived and “good order and discipline” is not going to happen. The evil that awaits the Afghan military, police and peoples still exists and patiently waits.  My advice if asked by the Afghan military or their government would be simply what I was taught as a young Marine officer; successful warfare requires the identification of the enemy, massing all available weapons and firepower and then close with and destroy them. I would also recommend they concentrate their remaining time and efforts on mastering all fire support weapons and the ability to deliver accurate artillery and mortar fires whenever and wherever needed. I would include close air support (CAS) but Afghan air force does not exist.

You cannot blame the Taliban for their tactics.  Even our forefathers shot from behind trees and harassed the British and with deadly accuracy.  When combined with determination, luck and tenacity they overcame the odds of winning against the mightiest military of that time.  The IED is the Taliban’s tree.  And yes there are volumes written on what really caused the Colonial victory.  However, I bet you, not facing a superior force on the grounds of their choosing, army against army, will be mentioned as a factor.

Daily routine has settled.  I am up at 0330 and complete the causality report by 0700.  If there are no US KIA’s, I decree that day as a good day. The report covers from midnight to midnight the day prior.

Unfortunately, someone has died every day for 41 days since I started this task.  Whether US, Coalition, Afghan military, police, innocent civilians; someone has been killed due to this war.  Compared to the bombing of London, Dresden, Tokyo of wars past, civilian causalities are very small.  But to the family of the one killed, it is as tragic as it was back during any time period.  The enemy also pays a toll.  I read and write those reports too.  I hate to say it, with each EKIA, the same glee that comes from catching, rolling and then crushing a Tsetse fly stirs within the black chamber of my heart.  May the Lord forgive me.

For those who have never hunted in Africa: The Tsetse fly has a harden exoskeleton that when he bites you and you slap him as you would a mosquito; once your hand is removed, it flies away to bite again.

The rest of my day 2200+ is crunching data sent in from the outlying US and coalition commanders concerning their assessment of the Afghanistan military’s and police’s ability to maintain good order and discipline.

Make no mistake; it was 46 partner nations who took from the Taliban their position and influence in this country.  Those nations are the same ones who trained and supplied the Afghan security forces.  These newly trained units are holding their own in the “cat and mouse” campaign being conducted by the insurgents.  I have observed, as soon as the “mouse” is recognized as a “rat”, the “cat” extends its lethal claws and calls in coalition fire support to neutralize the threat. The “rat” is quickly terminated but most often sent back into its hole.  For those times, congratulations abound and medals issued. Once close air support and effective artillery have been taken out of the equation, it is easy to predict the future as well as outcome.  The Afghan military and police may now own the nice shiny watch given to them by the coalition partners. Unfortunately, we all know, it is the Taliban who owns the time.

Oh look!!! There goes a little mouse scampering across the floor with a bit of cracker!  Isn’t he cute?  I will name him Marroof.  What else do you want to know about that mouse?

Semper Fidelis,

Ken

CJTF-1, ID, CJ5 Assessments

Task Force Defender

Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan

APO, AE 09354