[HCCN] Fwd: CentCom planning massive move of equipment to Afghanistan

Judith Robbins JUDY at ROBBINSandROBBINS.com
Sun Nov 29 09:42:48 EST 2009

Begin forwarded message:

> From: "Global Network" <globalnet at mindspring.com>
> Date: November 28, 2009 5:48:09 PM EST
> To: "Peaceworks" <peaceworks at lists.riseup.net>
> Subject: CentCom planning massive move of equipment to Afghanistan
> Reply-To: "Global Network" <globalnet at mindspring.com>
> http://www.tampabay.com/news/military/war/centcom-planners-study- 
> massive-move-of-equipment-to-afghanistan/1054693
> CentCom planners study massive move of equipment to Afghanistan
> CentCom's logistics facing a do-or-die test
> St. Petersburg Times
> Thursday, November 26, 2009
> ________________________________
> TAMPA — With President Barack Obama poised to ramp up troop levels  
> in Afghanistan, U.S. Central Command [CentCom] planners are in the  
> midst of the military's biggest logistical challenge since the  
> Vietnam War.
> How do you marshal billions of dollars in equipment to escalate one  
> war in Afghanistan while scaling back another in Iraq?
> "This is probably the most complicated logistical operation we've  
> done in our lifetime," said Army Maj. Gen. Kenneth Dowd, director  
> of logistics for CentCom, which is based at Tampa's MacDill Air  
> Force Base.
> In a wide-ranging interview with the St. Petersburg Times this  
> week, Dowd said landlocked Afghanistan presents greater  
> difficulties than Iraq with its fewer routes of supply.
> CentCom is now conducting an assessment of air strips in  
> Afghanistan, and Dowd said engineers will have to expand them in  
> order to resupply larger numbers of troops by air.
> "I'm a little concerned about" airfield capacity, Dowd said. "We've  
> got to expand and make it better."
> At the same time, Dowd said, engineers will have to spend  
> considerable time removing mines in the rugged country dating to  
> the Soviet invasion three decades ago.
> All of that activity comes as his office determines the fate of 2.8  
> million pieces of equipment troops have brought to Iraq.
> "It's really quite an art," Dowd said of this life-and-death  
> logistical dance.
> Obama is expected to announce next week an escalation of the U.S.  
> effort in Afghanistan that will send as many as 30,000 additional  
> troops on top of the 68,000 already there.
> Much of the U.S. equipment in Iraq will never return to the states.
> Often, it isn't cost-efficient to do so, planners say.
> Much of it will be sold to Iraqi security forces, Dowd said. Other  
> gear not sent to Afghanistan after refurbishment in Kuwait might be  
> placed in storage somewhere in CentCom's area of responsibility,  
> which includes 20 nations in the region.
> This can be a daunting political challenge in the Middle East,  
> where other nations will not want any U.S. presence in their  
> territories.
> Some look back at the U.S. experience in Vietnam as a cautionary  
> tale for Iraq planners.
> Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., told reporters earlier this year that he  
> worried about too much gear being left behind, which he said  
> happened in Vietnam.
> When he visited Vietnam after the war, "I remember seeing rows and  
> rows of U.S. equipment that we left behind. We must do a better job  
> managing the redeployment from Iraq," he said in a statement in July.
> Dowd said his planners have been working for more than a year on a  
> smooth withdrawal from Iraq. He said he expects few major problems.
> He said technology helps his office more efficiently move and track  
> gear than ever before.
> Dowd acknowledged that planners have to learn from mistakes made in  
> Iraq, particularly in quickly building a military infrastructure  
> providing for tens of thousands of troops.
> He noted problems with poorly installed and maintained electrical  
> wiring. Some troops were electrocuted.
> "We jumped into some of these buildings over there," Dowd said. "We  
> occupied them. … But you wouldn't want to live in that house  
> because of the way the electrical wiring was done. We spend a lot  
> of time making sure these locations are safe."
> To Dowd, the folks working under him who make sure the flow of  
> supplies doesn't stop are some of the unsung heroes of the wars.
> "There are young American folks who make this happen," Dowd said.  
> "They don't wear much rank on their lapels. But they're phenomenal."
> Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
> PO Box 652
> Brunswick, ME 04011
> (207) 443-9502
> globalnet at mindspring.com
> www.space4peace.org
> http://space4peace.blogspot.com/  (blog)

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