Sunday, April 7, 2013

Month 8 Day 7

Notebook entry
One report from the ANA, Combined staff meeting, PowerPoint Class, Communications Officer Coming out tomorrow.

Journal Entry
Went to the combined staff meeting in the morning.  It was a light crowd.  The general does not like to come unless the [Regimental Combat Team] commander is around, which also lets a bunch of other guys off the hook.  The meeting was headed by LtCol Paul Shinkman, the new ANSF [Afghan National Security Forces] guy.  He seems to be pretty interested and involved, but I was a little annoyed in the afternoon when I needed to [typo] get him a second set of numbers on guys that I had just counted the day before because a few of them came back.  It was more than  a little annoying because I had to go out of my way to satisfy someone’s idle curiosity.  The staff meeting was a little bit funny.  The S-6A [assistant communications officer] 'skweeky,' complained about MoD-14s [supply forms] not being filled.  The Marine S-6 [communications officer] started talking about the need to track these things as they go up. There is already an Afghan form for that, it is called a MoD-4.  I feel like they are a one-string fiddle once they learn about one thing they think they can fix all the problems.  The S-6 also committed to sending his guys out to fix the ANA [Afghan National Army] computers. Boy does he not know what he is getting himself into.  A Marine is going to need to be here constantly fixing them because even if you can expunge all of the viruses, the second they put a thumb drive in they are going to be back where they started.  The Major and LtCol Paul Shinkman sat down yesterday afternoon and talked about what a legitimate division of labor might be between the RCT [Regimental Combat Team-our headquarters] and the ETT [Embedded Training Team] so that no one steps on anyones toes and no one duplicated efforts.  Basically the ETT will handle the actual Afghan system and the RCT will handle big-picture stuff.

Salim changed the password on the computer before he left and didn’t bother to tell the other sergeants, so they were locked out of the computer all day.   They thought to connect the other computer.  They one that they use primarily for games and movies.  I guess it never occurred to them that that computer could be used for work.

Some of the junior Marines were worried about the government shutdown.  They wondered if they really worked for the government and if it would affect them.  It is the first time I have heard Capt Brawny admit that his paycheck comes from the American taxpayer.

I don’t know if I mentioned it the other day, but when I was talking to Capt Arthur about the LOO [Lines of Operations] sync meeting he brought up a good point.  Government people seem to think that the amount of money that you spend is a measure of effectiveness.  So for them, putting up a bunch of numbers on a slide about how many millions they have spent on this project is in itself a measure of success.  This is not the goal.


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