Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Month 9 Day 21

Notebook entry
Shithead recon company commander, tractor-trailer wants to stop, deputy commanding general “ this is joint, so provide me the plan," meet with corps intelligence assistant, corps intelligence officer on leave, Russian softcore, indirect fire lockdown, Capt. Kim Sengupta, human intelligence sources.

Journal entry
I took the 0400-0600 watch because I wanted to start getting back into the rhythm that I will be in the rear.
In the morning we made our way over to shorabak. The major, capt Nowak and cwo Soltz all had a meeting with the deputy commanding general about moving the 4th kandak.  They decided that the tractor-trailors would drop their loads here and that a combination of 5th kandak and the CLB would move the gear down south.
I went to meet with the British mentor from 3rd brigade, Capt Jim Kim Sengupta. The meeting was better for him than it was for me on two counts. First, I had a bunch of training materials that I was able to put onto a disk for him.  Ordinarily we are not able to share this stuff because he basically only uses centrix and I don’t have much access. Second it made him feel good about where his guys were at.
The brits do things a lot differently than we do and it allows them to seemore success. They take and entire battle group headquarters and simply send them out to train their counterparts in the ANA.  The training that they receive as mentors is minimal, they basically meet the guys who are returning from the jobs that they are just about to do, the rest of their training is identical to that of a regular battle group hq. the plus side of this is that they are focused in as a staff on how to do staff planning, they all know about the area that they are about to go into because all of their staff planning excercises are about it. The most important thing is that they are properly resourced to accomplish the mission.  They have S-1 through S-7s  and the enlisted guys to support them. This is somewhat problematic in that this allows them to do the entirety of the afghans job for them, they, for instance have their own plotter and print maps for the planning process for both the ana and for their mentor team, but on the bright side it actually allows them to mentor the whole section, they have continuous coverage of all of the staff sections.  Thus every day the s-2 section is able to receive reports from the kandaks and once per week they are able to turn around and push a consolidated report down. Each of their kandaks is also able to come up with a basic enemies’ most dangerous course of action and enemies’ most probable course of action. At the brigade level they are able to do basic targeting, they takea folder, put a picture in it and whenever a report applying to a specific person comes up they write that information in there. They still feel bad about this, after all it has been 5 years since the brigade was created, and this is not much more than an enterprising company level intelligence cell would be able to do in the USMC, but it is worlds ahead of where I am with my guys.  Capt Kim Sengupta appreciated that fact.  I talk to Maj Valquist about it and he said ‘yah they have their tooth to tail all screwed up they have put a ton of people into this, and not many guys into fighting’ I disagree, this is supposed to be the main effort and it needs to be properly resourced.
I also met up with Capt Keith Campbell the Military Intelligence Company Commander and spoke to him about his trials.  he is concerned just about fielding his guys for the time being. Getting them the right equipment and pushing them out.  He has not been down to the brigades to see how they really operate so he was asking dumb questions like ‘why do they do internal investigations?’ he is a bit frustrated too because just like the MICO in the 205th corps his guys have been given the task of base security, not really part of their job in the American system.
After the meeting with the Brits we went to supervise the marines pulling the stuff off the ANA containers because they don’t have the right equipment.  As soon as that was finished we went to the BDOC we had to wait there for an hour, and then were able to meet with this high-strung reserve major who woudn’t let us drive through camp Leatherneck.  He relented after the major made it clear that we were just going to keep taking this up the chain if he said no.  the problem is that the british and the marine bases havegrown so large that they have all but swallowed the ana base, there is no real way to get south or east without driving about 12 km out of your way and backtracking.  Couple this with the fact that the marines tore up the main entrance to the afghan camp without telling them and then just parked a truck there without a linguist and they have naturally had trouble with the confused and frustrated Afghans trying to get onto the camp.  It is stupid.

Happy birthday to me.

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