Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Month 5 Day 16

Notebook Entry
Eleven Reports to Samir. Tried to install Talonview. Talked about course, weather, gave Operational Terms and Graphics to Samir and 2nd kandak tried to work out schooling.

Journal Entry
I worked with Samir a bit in the morning we tried to install some mapping software, but he doesn’t have the administrator rights to his computer. We talked about the courses up in Kabul for intel, but he believes that most if not all of the seats are going to be allocated to the 3 capital defense corps. Karzai’s highly-trained and unused personal army. I gave Samir and the Sgt from 2nd Kandak the ops terms and graphics pubs. Samir claimed to be sick and unable to work, but he looked fine and had no issue playing his bootleg version of tekken.

In the meeting last night I really felt for Capt Nowak. He had to deal with the OpsO [Operations Officer] LtCol Walcott all day. LtCol Walcott couldn’t understand why the ANA [Afghan National Army] would like to have their own Combat Operations Center [COC], next to their own offices on their own camp. The RCT [Regimental Combat Team] had this bright idea to move their COC to the RCT and have them commute to work so that they could be more combined. The ETT [Embedded Training Team] already stands duty in the ANA CoC, so we are already combined, but I guess that is not enough. The is a perfect example of not empathizing with the ANA. The RCT says that the ANA are partners but they treat them like subordinates. No one asked the ANA before this started if this is something that they would like to do, if it would help them, etc. They just said, yah we’ll move the ANA here, and now they are trying to make it happen and realizing that maybe the Afghans want to be able to command their own units. The real issue is that Col Schmitt opened his mouth and said that he was going to do it before he had even met the Afghans and now the stupid policy is coming to fruition. None of the staff officers have the balls to tell him that this is a stupid idea, that it is going to set back the training with the ANA and that you are making the job of a bunch of nearly illiterate, untrained guys from the third poorest country in the world even harder than it already is. If the RCT wants to be more combined, why doesn’t the RCT move its CoC down here? That thought never crossed the minds of the Marines over there. We are supposed to be the ones who are expeditionary, the ANA never claimed that. Anyway, the practical realities also reveal how little the RCT even knows about what the Afghans do. They say they can’t have cell phones there. They say they want them to have radios, but they don’t have 220 power. They say they want representation from 0800 to 2000, the Afghans basically work from 0900 to 1100 and from 1400-1600. They have no place to do their mid-day naps, no chow hall, no Turkish Toilets, no ablution stations. They say they want every staff section represented. We only have 35% of the whole Brigade here, even if they were at tashkil this would be hard, when we are looking at 1 or two guys from each section is going to be impossible, especially when they have work and meetings to do here. They say we have computers and TV for them. They all have computers and TVs in their rooms, where they can lay on their mats on the floor and relax.

The leadership of the RCT is ill-informed and has no desire to listen. Col Schmitt has cowed all of his staff officers into just acting, and doesn’t listen to their advice, not that they have any advice given that they are not here.

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