Military Helmet Sensor Data: What does it show?

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Two years ago, sophisticated sensors were implanted in military helmets of some 7,000 troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The purpose of the sensors was to evaluate the extent of concussions and  brain trauma injuries caused by IEDs and other combat related incidents.  According to the military video shown below, data from these sensors was downloaded monthly to a computer terminal  and then forwarded to a “secure” data center in Aberdeen, MD for analysis.

 

To date, SFTT is not aware that the Department of Defense (DOD) has shared any of this information with the public. However, the recent decision by the military to award a new helmet sensor contract to BAE Systems strongly suggests that we are dealing with no trivial issue.  Indeed, the recent release of the comprehensive US Army report entitled Health Promotion Risk Reduction Suicide Prevention and increased media attention at the extent of brain trauma injuries within the military would argue that greater public disclosure is well-advised to deal with this growing problem.

As recent history shows, the US Army and DOD are unwilling to share relevant data with the public that might suggest that the equipment provided to our brave warriors is deficient.   In fact, Roger Charles, the Editor of SFTT, was obliged to file a request under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) to obtain forensic records of troops killed with upper torso wounds to evaluate the effectiveness of military-issue body armor.   A  federal judge in Washington, D.C. recently ordered the Army’s medical examiner to release information about the effectiveness of body armor used by U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan or to justify the decision to withhold it.  For Roger Charles and those in SFTT who have followed this issue for several years, it is unlikely that the US Army will open their kimono and confirm what most already know:  the body armor issued to our troops was not properly tested and is most likely flawed.

Full disclosure is generally the “right” decision and it would be useful for the US Army to share the helmet sensor data with the public to help address a growing problem for the men and women who have served in harm’s way and their families.   The American public can handle the truth!

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The B.E.S.T. Annual Benefit scheduled for October 15, 2010 in Greenwich

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The B.E.S.T. (Best Equipment to Support our Troops) 4th Annual Benefit is set for October 15, 2010. Proceeds as always help SFTT protect America’s frontline troops by ensuring they have the best available equipment to make it home alive and in one piece.

B.E.S.T. is the annual fundraising event of SFTT, a non-partisan, apolitical 501(c) 3 educational foundation that relies on funding from individuals, private foundations and the B.E.S.T. Event.  SFTT is a voice and advocate for America’s frontline troops. Its unique educational and advocacy mission is to see that the Pentagon and our elected leaders in Washington get the right equipment, training and leadership for our country’s brave warriors.

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U.S. Government Loses FOIA Ruling on Body Armor Records

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Thanks to superb pro bono legal representation by a team from the NYC office of Kirkland & Ellis, LLC, a federal district judge has issued his ruling on SFTT’s editor’s request under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) for forensic records held by the Department of Defense regarding the performance of government-issued body armor. The ruling was characterized in the following way by a news service covering legal issues:

U.S. Loses FOIA Ruling on Body Armor Records

 (CN) – A federal judge in Washington, D.C., ordered the Army’s medical examiner to release information about the effectiveness of body armor used by U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan or to justify the decision to withhold it.   (For the complete Courthouse News article, see: http://www.courthousenews.com/2010/08/16/29630.htm )       

As supporters of SFTT know, we have, to no avail, for several years requested that these records be reviewed by the appropriate oversight bodies of the US Congress. It was only after this baffling refusal that SFTT’s editor requested the records under the FOIA. To no one’s surprise, DOD denied SFTT’s request.   Under the brilliant guidance and with the incredible support of Kirkland & Ellis’ NYC office, SFTT’s editor filed a new request, and that request was basis for the complaint in federal district court upon which the judge issued this ruling.    

In preliminary filings DOD admitted that for the two calendar years (2006 and 2007) for which records were requested 103 KIA’s died from ballistic wounds to the torso. It further admitted that only 51 of these 103 KIA’s (49.5%) had body armor plates shipped back to the US for forensic examination,  and that these 51 KIA’s had a total of 155 plates returned with the “service members.”

Of these 51 KIA’s, 18 had “body armor description sheets with information responsive” to the SFTT editor’s FOIA request. (By DOD’s own definition, a “body armor description sheet” indicates that the “body armor is not perfectly intact.”)

Assuming that only one body armor protective plate was struck in each KIA’s tactical engagement, that means that a staggering 35.3% (18 of 51) of the plates were “not perfectly intact.”       

It’s hard to imagine that DOD would not release these records if they proved that although 35% of the KIA’s during the specified two-year period for whom even fairly complete records exist had “not perfectly intact” plates, not a single KIA resulted from penetration of the plates.

 

So, why has DOD not released the responsive records, i.e., the Firearm Wound Charts and body armor description sheets?

Roger Charles

Editor SFTT

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Supplying US Military Forces in Afghanistan

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Supplying US military forces in Afghanistan has become a logistical nightmare.  Sources from the field suggest that US combat troops are “asked” to carry increasing loads since resupply opportunities are limited.  Found below is an excerpt from CLOSE HOLD which accurately describes the dilemma and increasing kit loads of US forces in Afghanistan:  “‘King for a Day’ Kit-Wise”

“From 2005 until this past spring US forces have had a short stock of gear that could be tailored to reduce the load because of the then current design never matched mission requirements. There was never a concerted effort by either leadership or by extension the defense industry to produce and outfit troops with the lighter, better equipment necessary for extreme conditions found in this little valley of death. If anything the Army and Marines only added more weight to the grunt’s kit. In other words: “more protection is better,” “we must protect the deltoids,” “we can’t resupply you as often because are helicopter resupply is limited, so you have to carry more,” “Hey, hand these items out to the locals and win their hearts and minds…yeah we know the items are heavy, but figure it out.” The on-the-ground commanders made the best of a grim situation and soldiered on, taking unnecessary casualties along the way.”   Read more from “‘King for a Day’ Kit-Wise”

CLOSE HOLD covers stories from the battlefields in Afghanistan and Iraq to the DC Beltway to bring you closer to the real-life stories that are unfolding each day that affect the brave young men and women serving in harm’s way.   We encourage each and everyone who values the service of our front-line troops to contribute your story to SFTT.   For those who want to do more, become a member of SFTT and make a Donation to keep the Light of Truth burning brightly.

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Facebooking from the Pat Tillman USO Center

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Today I want to tell you about one change in Afghanistan:  Now the troops have access to social network sites while previously the command restricted access under the guise of operational security.  The donnybrook over this issue raged until the policy changed last year, due largely—or so I hear—to Chairman Mullen using Facebook and Twitter to communicate with the troops.  The thought probably was if the top uniformed officer in the services can tweet, why shouldn’t a Private? 

The other evening I received the following message, “I’m at the Tillman Center in Bagram.  Waiting for my flight out.  Headed home finally!” I checked my watch, calculated the time zone difference (10 hours) and logged on my Facebook just in case he was still online.  His chat icon was green.  

“Hey brother, glad to hear you’re headed finally headed home.”

“Thanks man.  And you, how goes it?”

“All is well on my end.  You?”

“Unit is starting to flow north and we should be state side in 48 hours if the Manas birds hold out.”

“Where you at?”

“Tillman Center, Bagram.”

“Is Bagram still nuts?”

“It’s bursting at the seams.  Traffic jams.  But they still have Salsa Night.  I don’t get it.”

“Sorry to hear about the losses your unit suffered.”

“Thanks.  It’s been a tough slog this past year.”

“Were you in K-Valley?”

“No, P2K, Shkin and Tillman.”

“Still getting attacked constantly?”

“Yeah.  There was no let up the entire time – constant TIC’s and targeting.  Relentless.  Some attacks were hours long.  Tribal bloodlust I guess.  But SOF has a better fight – they’re not trolling or static waiting for contact.  They’re pure direct action.  Probably about the only thing we can do over here.”

“Was Salerno able to sustain gunship and Medevac support throughout?”

“Most of the time.  When they were maxed out we were able to get a lot of support out of Orgun-E.”

“Any improvements to FOB Tillman?”

“Some.  More internet – some QOL type of stuff for the boys.  A little more force protection.  But it’s still a rocket magnet.”

“Any improvements with the local support?”

“Yeah, right!”

“ANA? Are they getting any better?”

“Only the ANA that SOF/ODA trains and employs.  Conventional ANA units? Forget it.”

“Any new roads to facilitate access?”

“PRT’s and USAID are still working them.  I think the it’s the same road-to-market plan we put together in ’05.”

“Any ground movement on ‘the road’ past Sperra en route to the FOB?”

“Just once.  A GAC from Salerno to the FOB.  The rest of the time was strictly via air.  But, we still don’t own the terrain nor does the ANA.  Just the tribes do.  They still cross back and forth across the border with no respect for the boundary.  The Pakistani Frontier Corps still let’s them cross the without disrupting their movement.  They don’t consider themselves to be Afghans.  They’re Pashtuns.”

“ Yep, that’s the problem.  No national identity.  Sounds like nothing has changed.”

“No, just a recycling of events.  Same patch of dirt, same miscreants, same thing day after day after day.  Gotta log off.  I’ll keep in touch.”

“Keep me posted.” 

I sat with mixed emotions after his chat icon disappeared.  Happy and relieved on one hand that he was on his way home safe and unharmed.  Frustrated on the other hand that after all these years nothing has really changed in Afghanistan.  Same bad guys, different units, no positive results—year in and year out.  The only real differences are the rising US casualty rates—and now our warriors can tweet. 

I also couldn’t help but notice how many times we mentioned “Tillman” without considering his legacy.  Indeed, a forlorn base or a comfort zone is worthy of being named in his honor, but the truth is still M.I.A. This isn’t the case with The Tillman Story, a just released documentary which recounts his killing by friendly fire, the cover up and the propaganda machine that peddled his tragic death to promote a failing war.  

All of this makes me question whether we’ve forgotten Tillman’s ultimate sacrifice and those made by thousands of others like him.  But why bring up a problem without offering a solution, right?  Well then, here’s one idea: air the documentary at the Tillman USO Center in Bagram to troopers waiting for their flight home.  You know, play the truth channel for a change.  Let them know if it can happen to Pat, it can happen to them.

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Military News you may have missed – August 22, 2010

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Logistics: The Long Pole in The Tent

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“Logistics, logistics, logistics!” That’s what I immediately thought of last December when I heard the President’s decision to double down in Afghanistan and increase the current troop strength by 30,000 over a 5-month period. The most honest answer to the question that immediately comes to mind — How the Hell’s the U.S. Military going to pull this one off? — came from General Webster, the Commander of the Third Army: “Hannibal trying to move over the Alps had a tremendous logistical burden, but it was nothing compared to the complexity we have now.”  Notice it really wasn’t an answer…

At the time I would have loved to have seen the Pentagon’s J4/G4’s Power Point slide desk on the additional stress the new “surge” would place on Afghanistan’s already stressed lines of communication. Poor bastards, I would have hated that job. Can you imagine the staff guidance they received when all of the hand-wringing was going on in the Situation Room or the Tank? As I recall, the Chiefs pushed back at the NSC and asked for a longer timeline to get the new “surge” in place but never mentioned that the lack of logistics was the long hole in the tent. So the NSC and POTUS ignored the request and ordered them to shorten the deployment timeline and get the 30K troops in place even quicker. It would have been helpful to get a straight answer on the logistics then, don’t you think? Shouldn’t Mom and Pop, rightfully uptight in Peoria, Illinois with a son-in-law on his third deployment, have a right to know?

Any hoot, from what I heard, the logistic planning guidance went something like this: “Okay staff, before we start the slides, here’s the basic guidance on how we’re going to do this. First, build me a plan that squeezes another 30K worth of troops into the current deployment models using limited air-frames and access-entry-departure airfields. Yeah, I know we were hoping to rest the boys some as we drew down in Iraq but that ain’t going to happen any time soon. You heard the Chief, we’re in an era of “persistent conflict.” Yeah, I know we’re supposed to win straight out but that crap went out with Powell and Scowcroft, so suck it up and get your 21st century war mask on. Second, ensure you secure the LOC’s somehow for all of the line haul movement we’ll have when we’re moving supplies and vehicles on the ring road. Got it that it’s interdicted but we can hire some contractors to secure the loads or pay off the local militias. Third, someone has got to convince the Pakistanis to provide security for port operations and line hauling of supplies to the border crossings. Hey look, Major, I’m not the one that thought it was a good idea to go through Pakistani ports back in 2001 but we had no other choice. I got it that all of the Punjabis and Pashtuns try to outdo one another by torching our supplies, but figure out how to keep’em happy. Fourth, you over there, get with CENTCOM, EUCOM and TRANSCOM and create a new northern route for gear, supplies and troops in case the Pakistani ports and routes into eastern Afghanistan don’t work out. And while you’re at it expand the air bridge so we can get critical supplies and engineers in to country to build X amount of new FOBs and combat outposts. True, we already have over 400 FOBs and Outposts in Afghanistan, so don’t ask me why we need more, but we need more, dammit, so get’er done! Fifth, increase stock of all classes of supply at every FOB and outpost. Sixth, plan for bad weather that limits rotary and fixed wing access to remote airfields. And if we get favorable weather, have a plan to surge assets even though at this point we don’t have a clue where that would come from. Seventh, pay-off Krygystan for use of that airbase in Manas even though we’re paying another corrupt government with a garbage human rights record. Eighth, speaking of garbage, figure out how KBR can dispose of FOB waste without getting the troops sick, I heard it’s starting to become an issue. So no more new burn pits, tell them to use incinerators.

Next figure out what we don’t want to give to the Iraqis as we high-tail it out of there and haul all of the good kit to Kuwait. When you do this, don’t piss off any state Governor or their Adjutant Generals or for that matter our National Guard senior leaders when you brief them that they’re not getting any of the US equipment sets from Iraq to fill their stateside armories. We can’t afford to do that anymore even though we promised them we would – just tell them tough luck when they have to respond to national disasters in the “homeland” without their equipment. Also, don’t forget to increase the contractor footprint in Afghanistan with the new LOGCAP award. And somehow limit their downrange capability because every time we let those jokers out of the wire they shoot dozens of civilians. I know that increases the overall maintenance time for critical equipment because you have to backhaul everything to major FOB’s but you know the trade off. Oh and I almost forgot, the Marines want to stay relevant in the fight because they’re more than “Expeditionary” now but have doctrinal challenges in sustaining themselves longer than 30 days, so task the Army to do their logistics. Oh and another thing, just as you get everything set, the President wants us to start withdrawing, so figure that out in the plan too.

Last, I don’t have to remind you that the Afghan Army is going to need a lot of logistical support as well. But remember, Afghanistan is complex with virulent ethnic and tribal stuff going on with that Army of theirs—you know the Tajiks don’t like the Pashtuns, everyone hates the Hazaris and Karzai has intermingled his ministries and provincial leaders with a rogues gallery favoring his tribe and ethnicity, so deal with it. Any questions?”

“Sir, what is a LOC?” “Well, generally speaking, LOC’s or lines of communication are routes that interconnect military units, supplies and logistic nodes. Their security is vital to a unit’s command and control and its logistics lifeline –they’re key to any successful military operation.” “Sir, how many US troops will deploy in total?” “Approximately 102,000. ISAF troops? Approximately 47,000 from 44 countries. Contractors? Over 100,000.”

Can you imagine what we’ve asked our military to bring off?

Nevertheless, great credit is due to all of the hard working staff, agencies and contractors that had to form a plan from this guidance and somehow try to meet intent under incredibly difficult circumstances. My understanding is that the ramp up continues and that not all the additional troops and enablers have closed yet. But the party line continues that by and large this Hannibalistic effort has been largely successful.

Yet when I query the force, here’s what I get:

“…we really don’t control our LOC’s per se throughout our AO…we are bursting at the seams here on this FOB…if we really press and dedicate assets then we can conduct ground re-supply operations…the aerial delivery systems are working overtime…the Marines in the south just don’t get it…man, when we got here we sat forever because the battalion’s vehicle set was simply missing, and when we recovered it we didn’t have all of the required commo gear and jamming equipment required to be operational…if something breaks down, forget it, it’s a two week adventure to either backhaul it or get a maintenance team forward to fix it, but often without the necessary parts…the connex at Bagram and Kandahar could fill an ocean…when we do control some limited LOC, even then, nothing barely gets through…”

Not much squares here. My thought is that indeed there were necessary strategic and operational muscle movements in the area of logistics conducted over the past eight months to get the new “surge” into Afghanistan, but the matching tactical posture required to regain the initiative is missing. As one contact put it, “We are simply out of Schlitz.”

It wasn’t that long ago that LOC’s also served another purpose, to provide secure routes for runners or dispatch riders to shuttle orders and updates from the front between battlefield commanders. Then, it was ink and parchment: “Benteen, Come On. Big Village. Be quick. Bring packs. PS Bring pacs…”Too often the result was too little too late. Custer did get wiped out. So the question is: After almost 10 years in Afghanistan, can US forces secure their lines of communication and sustain the warfighter effectively or have we reached the breaking point? Can Benteen get the supplies to the beleaguered troops in time?

Meanwhile, I’m sure the American public neither knows the answer nor cares to know what the life and death question even is. Go figure then what the response will be if the US has to commit to another crisis with men and material anytime soon. My guess is that we’ll be out of Schlitz. Big time.

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US Troops: Stressed and Tired. You can help!

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As readers of SFTT are aware, we have recently introduced CLOSE HOLD, a column developed by a “master intelligence analyst” with deep ties to the grunts in the field and a committed warrior who wants to make sure that our troops have the best combat equipment possible to come home alive and in one piece.   CLOSE HOLD covers stories from the battlefields in Afghanistan and Iraq to the DC Beltway to bring you closer to the real-life stories that are unfolding each day that affect the brave young men and women serving in harm’s way.   We encourage each and everyone who values the service of our front-line troops to contribute your story to SFTT.  You are not alone.  For those who want to do more, become a member of SFTT and make a Donation to keep the Light of Truth burning brightly.

Found below is an excerpt of a recent article from CLOSE HOLD which describes the rigors of continued deployments and how our troops are stressed to the point of exhaustion.  It is a pretty discouraging story.  Can we continue to subject these brave young men and women and their families to this form of existence?  Care to share your story?

The Cost of Endless Delployments to US Troops:  Stressed and Tired

 “The resounding theme emerging from my constant commo with those serving in either Iraq, Afghanistan or stateside is a sense of exhaustion that permeates all levels of our Army—coupled  with its debilitating effect on morale and capability.   The impact of almost a decade of grinding down the force through under-resourced “persistent conflicts” is sapping the institutional core and increasingly manifest in the daily operations that on-the-ground commanders, non-commissioned officers and the privates struggle to sustain whether deployed or in garrison.  In one account an infantry officer describes the Army as “stretched and tired” and that “no one believes, no one cares,” which seem to characterize the issue best.  I am told that most senior military leaders discard these frustrations with status quo responses like “stay in your lane” or “your tactical disillusionment will pass,” giving these highly relevant observations little credibility or thought, while those few senior officers who do take them seriously are too often muzzled.  When unit leaders tell me “I’ve been telling higher for months about the dismal shape we’re in…they simply don’t listen” or “nothing changes, it never gets any better,” and these front-line reports come in unsolicited from battlefield leaders held responsible for our sons and daughters in harm’s way, I would suggest that senior leaders who ignore these insights, no matter from whom or where it comes, do so at great peril to our national defense.”

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Brain Trauma Injuries and A.L.S.

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In a paper released this week, there are new indications that brain trauma injuries may mimic many of the symptoms of Lou Gehrig’s disease.  In an news article published August 18th by the New York Times entitled Brain Trauma Injury can mimic A.L.S.,  NYT’s reporter Alan Schwartz indicates that A.L.S. or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly referred to as Lew Gehrig’s Disease may have been triggered by concussions and other traumatic head injuries. 

According to the New York Times report, “Doctors at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Bedford, Mass., and the Boston University School of Medicine, the primary researchers of brain damage among deceased National Football League players, said that markings in the spinal cords of two players and one boxer who also received a diagnosis of A.L.S. indicated that those men did not have A.L.S. They had a different fatal disease, doctors said, caused by concussion-like trauma, that erodes the central nervous system in similar ways.”

As previously reported by SFTT and other reliable sources, the military is paying far greater attention to brain trauma injuries and its long-term effects on military personnel if left un-diagnosed.    Officially, military sources place the number of troops suffering from brain trauma injuries at 115,000, but informed sources place the number much higher.    Clearly, the  rapid deployment of new helmet sensors by BAE based on preliminary field studies suggests that is a serious problem that is attracting the attention of our military leadership.

While pleased brain injuries caused by frequent I.E.D incidents is receiving more careful diagnosis and serious medical study, the question remains:  Do our troops have the best protective gear and military helmets to cushion the immediate effects of an I.E.D. explosion?  Simply deploying our troops with sensors to “study” the effects of brain trauma injury is akin to a laboratory experiment with rats.  More succicntly, is there currently a better alternative to the current standard-issue military helmet that would help reduce brain trauma injury.

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“Young Officer”

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 A young officer I once served with recently changed command and is now attending the Army’s Intermediate Level Education course for field grade officers; when he graduates he’ll report to a new unit and redeploy. His tedious ride from the east coast to Kansas coincided with the sacking of McChrystal. Remember him? After the storm broke and his pension was paid, follow up analysis of the “crisis” revealed that the majority of attributable quotes and “off-the-record” background was provided by a score of “young officers” and not necessarily the General himself. Nevertheless, the collateral effect of their untimely and heartfelt Parisian disclosures to the Rolling Stone embedded reporter resulted in an Inspector General investigation of these young officers’ actions and statements. Imagine that, an investigation. Really? For what purpose? And as we’ve all learned by now, after the Wanat reversal, even if they’re found culpable of some level of insubordination or violation of policy, they won’t be held accountable they’ll simply be “Wanated,” yep, as in “to be Wanated,” the non-accountability finesse of a failed leader by his self-protective superiors.

But I digress, so back to my “young officer” driving to the brain-shed at Leavenworth for the consumption of more COIN kool-aid. As we commiserated over the amount of Galula theory he would have to suck down, I asked him to imagine for a moment being on the McCrystal staff still in Kabul tasked with General Petraeus’ transition and the integration of his new brain-trust of soon-to-arrive COIN-dinistas. For those who’ve never experienced the ins and outs of transitioning a four star commander while politely showing the door to the outgoing commander and his immediate staff, suffice to say, it’s a painful exercise. We’ll probably never know the behind-the-scene dynamics of the arrival of King David until Bob Woodward or Tom Ricks writes another breathtaking insider account of the administration or the war. However, we can safely assume that a new master of strategic communications is firmly in place in Kabul and a new brain-trust is arriving to assist the effort. If you want more proof, check out what was reported earlier this week by the New York Times coupled—not coincidentally—with the announcement of General Petraeus’ pending media blitz in the coming weeks. Here it is: “Meanwhile, a rising generation of young officers, who have become experts over the past nine years in the art of counterinsurgency, have begun quietly telling administration officials they need time to get their work done. “Their argument,” said one senior administration official, who would not speak for attribution about the internal policy discussions, “is that while we’ve been in Afghanistan for nine years, only in the past 12 months or so have we started doing this right, and we need to give it some time and think about what our long-term presence in Afghanistan should look like.”

So let me get this straight—the administration is soliciting advice from “young officers” on whether to continue the effort in Afghanistan after next summer when the US is going to begin withdrawal? And they are “experts” as well? For sure we’ve been down this road before, in 2006 when General (Retired) Jack Keane, the American Enterprise Institute and a couple of Army majors and captains from the Army’s 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment (who subsequently retired) with recent expertise in Anbar province/Iraq drew up a Power Point plan for the “surge,” which was then sold by Keane to John Hannah in Cheney’s office, and well, the rest is history.

Maybe that example is too remote (or simply a footnote to hubris) to apply to this master stroke of strategic messaging wrapped in a soft pitch to the public that “young officers…want more time.” My money is on Petraeus as point man preaching next summer on why the 2011 withdrawal timeline needs to be extended in part because the administration and the public should listen to the “troops”—i.e., these “young officers”—for a change. It’s brilliant.

No doubt the new “experts” are a group of planners from the services “Jedi-knight” programs to plan contingencies and back up plans when the current COIN mantra begins to die down. They are probably joined by other “young officer” staffers assigned to the Joint Staff or the National Security Council who’ve somehow wedged themselves into preparing slides, position papers or might even have a seat at the table at very low-level planning meetings. Regardless, I would also bet they’re Petraeus acolytes or COIN enthusiasts from a different father committed to re-validating their previous deployment successes by pushing the COIN theory as the remedy to whatever threatens US interests. In any case, the word is you best be a Petraeus COIN follower or you’ll be placed in the slow lane. After all, Petraeus was flown back to Washington in 2008 to supervise the Army’s Brigadier General promotion board…

Bottomline, the simple statement that a rising generation of young officers are calling for more time to complete the mission will deeply influence the now-rigged debate. For starters, it will serve as a green light on the battlefield for other young officers to inform VIP’s, respond to the media and brief their troops that “they need more time to get the job done”. Unfortunately, it will also serve as a blanket statement that the entire Army stands behind this call.

What is truly shameful here is the total disregard for those officers and leaders who know the gig is up but aren’t allowed to report the truth—veiled censorship by a master of strategic communications suspending us all in disbelief for at least the time being.

I was tempted to call my “young officer” when I figured out what was going on and wish him luck because he’s the type who’ll tell his superiors that no amount of time, resources or troops will change the dynamics on the ground in Afghanistan. But he beat me to the punch and sent me a short note expressing his hope that the Chief of Staff will visit the brain shed soon so he can tell him directly that a small cadre of the “rising generation of young officers” doesn’t speak for the rest of the Army. Let’s all hope my guy gets to talk.

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