Sunday, September 27, 2009

Reflections from a tired staffer...

There's a lot of talk in the media about troop increases in Afghanistan and troop decreases in Iraq. It's a bit amusing to see so many bases in Iraq drawing down while we attempt to build up a base here on the edge of nowhere. The drawdown has its advantages, more stuff in which to acquire for our base. As well as its disadvantages, being very low on priority for a limited amount of intelligence assets.

Afghanistan troop increases, plus the continued presence in Iraq means shorter dwell time back at home station. The "peace time" Army that I was anticipating upon redeployment most likely will not be the case. A time at home station of maybe a year is becoming the norm.

The failure to see any light at the end of the tunnel is driving me increasingly toward a decision that I did not think I was ready to face. I'm not sure how the Army expects to keep its mid level NCOs and officers if all we ever know is deployments every other year.

A strategic intel assignment, or even a NATO slot, or European Command position, or possibly Africa Command does not even look appealing when a trip to Afghanistan 2 years later is a likely outcome.

Positive note: despite lack of personnel and assets, I'm still enjoying the job.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Ghosts Come Diyala

I wish I had the time to update this thing more often and I wish I was allowed to discuss all the things I would like to discuss but when you are running on 2 hours of sleep and all your operations are classified, you are kind of limited.

I will say this...despite the dry piece of turkey I had for dinner, despite the 2 hours of restless sleep, and despite the one functional toilet in the headquarters right now...I'm excited for the rest of this deployment and I truely enjoyed today.

I've been here for over a month and 1-14 has been officially in charge for about a week now. We are running operations differently than the last unit and it showed today. Let's just say that the same issue I was having with targets at NTC, I may end up having here. This is due to the great working relationship we have with both the more "elite" American unit here on COP Cobra and the 4th Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division here.

Let's do this thing! Warhorse!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

All eyes on the Cavalry

So what exactly is 1-14 CAV...TF (Task Force) Warhorse now...doing while we spend up to a year here in lovely Eastern Diyala?

Well...watching this closely and figuring out how we do this.

Think Bosnia in the mid '90s and that's pretty much our problem set. Sunni insurgents are still a threat, but more of a thorn in our side at this point. Ensuring that the Arab/Kurd disputed zone doesn't break out into open warfare is the primary issue.

CSZ's (combined security zones), DIB's (disputed internal boundaries), and CCC's (combined coordination centers) are the acronyms of the planning cell these days. The Squadron will have all eyes on it as we figure this puzzle out.

The only thing that could make this area more volatile was if there was $3 trillion worth of oil and natural gas under it...oh wait, there is. I'll give you one guess as to where the line of control runs.