View Full Version : Where's the U.S. Army during the recent Helmand Marine offensive?

07-05-2009, 02:12 PM
It's all Marines lately in the news, where's the Army fighting.

07-05-2009, 02:55 PM
Most are in regional command east, they were involved in other operations before the newly arrived 2nd MEB (Marine expeditionary brigade ) arrived in order to spread out to parts of Afghanistan that have had too little forces to hold ground after fighting for it.
Speaking on CNN’s State of the Union program, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen said Operation Khanjar, which means Strike of the Sword, will challenge the Taliban and al-Qaida in the Helmand River valley in southern Afghanistan. The area has been a terrorist safe haven and which has most of the opium poppy cultivation in the country. Southern Afghanistan has been assigned to mostly U.K. forces however there have been not enough of them to stay in the area after defeating the Taliban ,so after patrols and major contacts they are forced back to their bases due to logistical reasons. Also don't forget this is Obamas first major military move and we all know how the media treats him so they will treat this operation the same way,(they'll kiss his ass on everything) if this was a Bush operation it would already be deemed a failure as the Taliban have melted away.I think it's a shame as the media is already forgetting all the hard work done by the Brits, Danes ,Canucks, Germans , Estonians, Poles , French and U.S. Army and everyone else I've forgotten to mention. To me it's just typical the way this Pres. is being treated(like a God who can do no wrong) I could go on and on but I'll stop here.

07-05-2009, 03:58 PM
I was just curious as it seemed the Marines were doing everything. Good press they've got.

07-05-2009, 04:06 PM
I found an old but interesting article that serves as a precursor to what's going on now.

Generals slam Marine wish for Afghanistan mission

By Sean D. Naylor (snaylor@atpco.com?subject=Question%20from%20ArmyT imes.com%20reader) - Staff writer
Posted : Friday Oct 12, 2007 5:24:30 EDT
Generals in the Army and on the Joint Staff reacted with surprise at a Marine Corps move to assume the Army’s combat role in Afghanistan and expressed doubt that the Corps could handle the mission without substantial support from the larger ground service.
The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times reported Oct. 11 that the Marine Corps has floated the idea of removing its estimated 25,000 troops in Iraq and taking over the mission in Afghanistan, where there are no significant Marine forces at present.
“This is not going to go down well with the Army,” said a general on the Joint Staff, adding that the issue “is going to be more contentious and sensitive than many people outside of the inside team realize.”
The Joint Staff officer was one of several generals who spoke only on the condition of anonymity and said the Marine initiative to supplant the Army in Afghanistan runs counter to the U.S. military’s increasingly joint approach to warfare.
“We’re seeking joint solutions to most of the challenges we face today, to include Afghanistan and Iraq,” he said. “A single service approach? Holy smokes. Why would we ever go back to that way of war fighting, particularly when it doesn’t give you any advantage over your enemy and in fact complicates life tremendously in terms of sorting out how you’re going to support all of this?”
A retired Army general with Afghanistan experience agreed. “The fact that a service would propose somehow that their service would take over a war seems to me to fly in the face of everything that’s been done since Goldwater-Nichols was passed in 1986,” he said, referring to legislation mandating integration of the capabilities of the military services.
However, he said, “there’s going to be a tremendous number of Army soldiers out there, even if, quote unquote, the Marines take over the mission,” because the Marines would have to rely on the Army for support in Afghanistan.
“There are some extraordinarily obvious flaws in this,” the retired Army general said. “The Marines don’t bring any of the infrastructure, logistics, aviation, all of the other enablers that are necessary to fight in this environment successfully.”
The Joint Staff general noted that although the Marine combat formations are organized on deployments into Marine air-ground task forces, or MAGTFs (pronounced mag-taffs), which combine ground maneuver forces with fixed-wing air support. “The MAGTF is not designed to do sustained operations inland without any extensive Army support as well as Navy support,” he said
Marine units are designed to be self-sustaining for up to 30 days in the case of a Marine expeditionary unit and 60 days in the case of a Marine expeditionary brigade, he said. For longer deployments, the Army is obliged “by law” to provide logistical support to the Marines, he added.
An active-duty Army general with recent Afghanistan experience said the Marines lacked much of the equipment that allowed the Army to fight effectively in Afghanistan. For instance, he noted that Marine helicopters are not as capable as those of the Army.
The Marines’ twin-rotor CH-46 is not considered as strong as its Army equivalent, the CH-47 Chinook, a critical factor when operating in the rugged mountainous terrain of eastern Afghanistan.
“If you’re along the [Pakistan] border ... you’d better have the capability to get up around 10,000 feet,” the Army general said. “It’s a tough fight in Afghanistan. ... It’s not a cakewalk by any measure, and if you’re not geared appropriately, it’s even harder.”
The generals also expressed concern that the Marines’ seven-month rotations were ill-suited to the demands of a counterinsurgency campaign in which nurturing relationships with local figures over long periods can be the key to victory. Army units deploy to Afghanistan for at least 15 months.
“Marines rotate for seven months,” said the retired Army general. “That’s extraordinarily disruptive in a counterinsurgency campaign. The [Army] brigade that just came out of Afghanistan was there for 16 months.”
“The Afghans, they have the utmost respect for the United States military and they don’t want you to leave,” said the active-duty Army general with recent Afghanistan experience. “If you’re constantly churning at six months or seven months, as the Marines are doing now ... people aren’t going to connect with you, and you’ll lose some of those gains.”
Marine Commandant Gen. James Conway briefly joked about the proposal at a dinner hours after the news reports hit the streets and were generating controversy, but otherwise refused to discuss it.
“Would any of you retirees like to go with us to Afghanistan?” he quipped at the Marine Corps Association’s Ground Awards Dinner in Arlington, Va., where he was the guest speaker.
After the dinner, he declined to discuss the issue with a Military Times reporter.
“It’s premature at this time for me to talk about it,” Conway said. “If there is an appropriate point in time, if certain things happen, we’ll let you know so we can get it out to the Marines.”
Army Gen. Dan McNeill commands NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, and is the overall commander of U.S. forces in the country, which number about 26,000. But if the Marines provided the bulk of the U.S. combat forces, the Corps might push for one of its own to be given that four-star command slot, according to the retired Army general with Afghanistan experience.
“That’s certainly something that would be out there on the table now, wouldn’t it?” he said. The Joint Staff general agreed. “I’m sure that has entered the equation,” he said.
The generals also took umbrage at the implication in the newspaper stories announcing the Marine initiative that it was the Marines stationed in Iraq’s Anbar province who played the leading role in fostering the “Anbar awakening” that saw local Sunni tribes switch sides and take up arms against al-Qaida in Iraq. They said that much of the credit belonged to Army Col. Sean McFarland and his 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division.
“There is concern [among Army officers] that we’re overplaying the Marines’ assertion that they’re the masters of counterinsurgency and they might be trying to export that into Afghanistan,” the retired Army general said.
The active-duty Army general with recent Afghanistan experience said there appeared to be a lack of analysis underpinning the reported Marine initiative.
“The question that has to be asked is: Do they have the command and control, logistics and equipment architecture to conduct this fight?” he said. “You have to do a troop-to-task analysis on the ground in Afghanistan and work it backwards, and then say, what is the right force for this mission? As opposed to making a strategic announcement that this is where we want to go, and then trying to make it fit. ”