Category Archives: Logistics
@cannoneerno4 sigh I agree, would like to see Ur take on it, Blog? G
The most obvious dependency is Afghanistan. An entire fighting force is in a landlocked theater, dependent on Pakistan for access to the sea. This gives Pakistan enormous leverage over Obama. Moreover, Obama, in betting on Afghanistan, has staked his political credibility on something the Pakistanis can deep-six. For both military and political reasons, the Pakistanis have Washington over a barrel.
My take is that Mr. Ten Percent’s suit and sack are not quite as empty as Obama’s. The Pakis would not have had the audacity to jerk President Bush’s chain in such a way. Obama has been measured and found wanting in all the attributes that keep Axis of Evil type’s heads down.
America went to war in Afghanistan to avenge 9-11. Shooting camels with cruise missiles wasn’t going to cut it. Boots on the ground had to go in and kick ass and take names until America’s thirst for Muslim blood was slaked, lest comparatively “innocent” Muslims in America be persecuted by vigilantes.
The deal made with Musharraf back in 2001 was “give us overflight, a SPOD at Karachi, and an MSR and we’ll give you billions of dollars worth of bribes, plus F-16′s with which to threaten the Indians. We’ll let you play us like rubes as long as you keep the LOC open. Alternatively, we could just nuke you back to the Stone Age.” Musharaff took that deal.
I have the sneaking suspicion that the Uzbek dictator Karimov played us like a bass drum when he offered us the Karshi Khanabad Air Base. We would never have done what we did in Afghanistan in 2001 without K2, and getting kicked out of there in 2005 should have been a war stopper, but F-102 pilots CAN DO and nobody else in the chain of command would say “Whoa, Boss, Can’t Do” so we endeavored to persevere with an economy of force side show on a shoe string at the end of a very long and insecure line of communications while the main effort went to Mesopotamia.
Then the main event sputtered to an unsatisfying conclusion that might be victory, the American people in their infinite wisdom replaced their CAN DO Commander-in-Chief with a WE’RE SORRY C-in-C, and the main event now became a land war in Asia.
The way things are going now it is hard to see a happy ending for OEF.
If we can stave off disaster until our regime can be changed everything might turn out all right in the end. Won’t know for sure we won in Afghanistan until we check the number of Afghan nail salons in our strip malls in 2046.
Is it paranoid to wonder if Pooti-poot and Karimov didn’t sucker us deeper into Afghanistan after 9-11 by making available facilities for the logistical support of a land war in Asia in which we might not otherwise have embroiled ourselves?
OEF would have been done differently had we never been allowed on K2. Not necessarily better, but our footprint next door in Aghanistan would have been lighter out of necessity. One of the reasons the headcount down in Afghanistan grew to the size it did was because it could, due to the big Class I yard at K2 and connectivity to the European rail system.
K2 was my introduction to CENTCOM AOR. Mildly interesting the first time. Sucked the other three times. Would have sucked worse to be forced to sit at the ADACG (Arrival/Depature Airfield Control Group, AKA PAX Terminal) instead of having free run of the place, such as it was. Some extraordinarily beautiful Uzbek women worked at K2 back then. They were pretty the first time I saw them in September, 2004. By the time I saw them again in March, 2005 they were stunning.
. . . if I can find a way of reducing the costs to the American taxpayer, and more profoundly, to our young men and women in uniform, while making sure that we are not rendered much more vulnerable to a terrorist attack in the future, that’s going to be the option that I choose.
This is what passes for strategic leadership at the National Command Authority-level these days.
What he just said is that the war he complained of being under resourced by his predecessor is going to be nit-picked, Mickey Moused, audited and bureaucratically starved. Maintaining an army in Central Asia 700 miles from the sea in a country with no railroads was hard enough before The Surge.
What he also said was that Force Protection is second only to saving money.
Fobbits never won a war. Neither have road-bound Mine Resistant Ambush Protected motorized infantry. But then he’s not in it to win it, is he?
UPDATE 20100930: Roger that, Operator Dan. Good Copy.
The Truth behind the Airplane
Posted by The Truth On The Airplane, Texas – Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at 12:38 p.m.
The legal dispute over the aircraft has been going on for over 2 years. The Aircraft is owned by a company called Air Support Systems LLC. They leased the aircraft to a company called Tactical Air Defense Services. The “company” that leased the aircraft and was doing the repairs on the aircraft in Texas, have done this type of thing before. They put out this great business plan tell everybody this great story, lease and/or gain control of all kinds of aircraft, run up some enormous repair bill to the owner, and then file liens and sue to try to get the aircraft. The problem is that the company and project was never funded to what they say it was. There were supposed to be 4 or 5 of these Russian Jets coming to Texas as well as F-16′s and all of these great military contracts to provide training and support for the military. Sounds good right..Wrong. All that happened was one IL-78 barely made it here and sat to rot on the ramp at the airport for years because TADS who leased the plane could not afford to make repairs or operate the aircraft and the company that is sueing for the repairs, the owner is a major stockholder in TADS. As for the military training, 3 of the largest hangar leases were tied up by this company that could never seem to pay their rent on time. Its the same people all the time. They just keep changing the company name. They started out in Tulsa as the National Aviation Museum. After they wore out their welcome there, they moved to Melborne, Fl under the name Aerogroup. Once Melborne kicked them out of there, they moved to Jacksonville. When they would not pay the rent there, they moved to North Texas Regional Airport (KGYI) under the names ITTC, North American Tactical Aviation, Tactical Air Defense Services, Air 1 Flight Support, and Hawker Jets Inc. as far as I know. They are curently moving out of the NTRA and who knows where they will be heading. All of the companies above are ran by the same people. They have conned more aircraft owners out of their airplanes, money and who knows what else. Their mission statement is based on false hopes and deceit. I am glad that the IL-78 is gone from NTRA. I am sorry that it has to sit on your airport. Who ever is storing the aircraft or providing ground support, get your money up front.
Interesting. Vaguely recall hearing about this. Have no way of knowing how credible the above is. Could be true. Ex-Soviet heavies flown by ex-Soviet aircrew have been involved in similiar shaky shit all over the world for the last two decades. Could be actionable libel. Who to believe?
The idea of Soviet water bombers fighting forest fires in America would have freaked me out once. Two years of seeing and hearing Ilyushins and Antonovs at KAF and TQ have somewhat deprogammed my Warsaw Pact aircraft identification shoot-no shoot Pavlovian conditioning.
UPDATE 20100521: Midas is the flying gas station, Candid can haul the 135,000 lb. water tank.
In fifteen months at KAF I never saw a C-5 Galaxy, but I did see Antonov AN-124′s, beaucoup Il-76′s and a butt load of An-24′s. A buddy of mine was running with the Transient Alert guys and got invited aboard an An-24 for lunch. There were no billets made available to most of these guys when they Remained Over Night, so they camped out in their planes like they were RV’s. Interesting characters!
Ex-Soviet air lifters carry a lot of the tonnage needed to maintain an army on the other side of the world. I don’t know if I’ve ever flown in a bird piloted by a Russian, but I’ve ridden with two Uzbeks who probably learned to fly in the old Soviet Voenno-Transportnaya Aviatsiya.
Anyway, read Volga Dnepr Antonov AN-124 forced to land after violating Indian airspace and scratch your head as you ponder what that pilot was thinking about on the way from FJDG to OAKN, and what his cargo might be.
UPDATE 20090622: Intruding Volga Dnepr Antonov AN-124 finally departs Mumbai. Crazy Ivan identifies himself to Indian ADIZ as “VDA 4466″ and then identifies himself to Pakistani ADIZ as “RCH 813.”
Apparently this is not the first intrusion by this aircraft; it has been happening for the past 15 days. The failure of the Indian authorities to register this intrusion earlier, has raised several questions about the alertness of the agencies entrusted with the task of giving air clearances to all flights using Indian airspace.
Who at the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service decided that small caliber fired brass had to be mutilated before it could be sold, and why?
B MLI (Munitions List Items) (Non-SME [Non-Significant Military Equipment]) — Demilitarization not required. Trade Security Controls required at disposition
D MLI (SME) — Total destruction of item and components so as to preclude restoration or repair to a usable condition by melting, cutting, tearing, scratching, crushing, breaking, punching, neutralizing, etc. (As an alternate, burial or deep water dumping may be used when approved by the DOD Demilitarization Program Office.)
Now why would they do that?
Atlanta ammunition supply is severely constrained $21.50 last month for a zippy bag of ugly, tarnished, apparently untumbled .45 Auto Rim
Willkommen Festung Argghhh! Bewohner.
There is a letter at the above link from DOD Surplus stating Recently it has been determined that fired munitions of all calibers, shapes and sizes have been designated to be Demil code B. As a result and in conjunction with DLA’s current Demil code B policy, this notice will serve as official notification which requires Scrap Venture (SV) to implement mutilation as a condition of sale for all sales of fired munitions effective immediately.
Which is confusing to me because Demil code B isn’t the code that requires demilitarization or mutilation. Maybe they misheard Delta as Bravo.
Nameless, faceless bureaucrats deep within the bowels of an obscure element of the Defense Logistics Agency have reached out and touched millions of American shooters by monkeying with the disposition of expended Class V residue, which if you ask me is a bunch of expended Class I residue.
Tune in to Gun Nuts Radio tonight, 2100.
UPDATE 200903171805: Epic Ed, commenting at AR15.com in a long and contentious thread, had this to say at 4:38:35 PM
The facts as I know them, which come directly from candid discussions with my CEO, indicate the following:
- Prior to 11/2008, Demil B items required no mutilation for sale to the public. That policy changed in November, but several exceptions were granted. Expended munitions brass was one of those given a waiver.
- Enter the new administration. Since Demil B category items had been given a broad, general label as “national security sensitive” someone above the DRMS (likely in the DLA) reviewed the policy and immediately went with a CYA policy and yanked all exemptions. No thoughts or considerations were given to the implications of this policy change, but this directive was issued to DOD Surplus effective immediately last week.
- Shit storm blows up as a result. In particular, the letters, phone calls, and emails to our legislators, the media, and anyone else who would listen caused this policy to be review post haste.
- As of this morning our company was informed that expended munitions brass will now be reclassified as Demil Q –– which requires no mutilation unless sold to a foreign country.
There you have it. The policy change was simply the result of some n00b administrator attempting to close a perceived “national security” loophole and brass got caught up in the snare. There was no political motivation behind the policy change, but it is good that people like us were suspicious, got involved, and helped bring about a resolution.
It’s a trap. The Iranians have been at war with us for 30 years. 444 days. Beirut. Khobar Towers. EFP’s. They’re still at war with us. If they let us use their port of Chabahar and their road to Zaranj, it’s because they want to screw us. The Italians in RC West are already making their own deals with them.
Don’t fall for it. Once they have us dependent on them they have us by the balls.
Will what’s at Manas move to Navoi?
Will Karimov and Putin kick our back doors in again?
Been there. Seen those mountains.
The “Bully Beef Express.”
Manas Air Base? Kyrgyzstan?
Obscure but more important than most Americans realize. Afghanistan doesn’t have much aviation infrastructure. Stuff like long, concrete runways thick enough to withstand heavies hitting them at 162 knots, ramp space, hangars, fuel. We need a place where the big airplanes from the States and Germany can come in, unload, refuel and leave, and the smaller intratheater airlifters can load up those pallets and carry them down to the war zone. Not enough ramp space down there to base much. Karshi-Khanabad Air Base, Uzbekistan served this function well until they kicked us out in 2005.
If we let the Russians out-bribe us with the Kyrgyz, where are we going to base our KC-135′s? Can’t keep Close Air Support up without aerial refueling. Diego Garcia, Al Udeid and Ali Al Salem are far away. Troops In Contact won’t have those assets like they used to. Will GMLRS be able to take up that slack? The rockets have to be flown in, too. Does the U. S. Artillery in Afghanistan have GMLRS?
Afghanistan Supply Base May Defect to Russia . If you watch the video, notice all the anti-submarine warfare aircraft parked at Manas.
I was a Fobbit for 28 months. Most of the head count for both OEF and OIF are Fobbits. FOB’s are much nicer places to live and work than Combat Out Posts, Joint Security Stations, and Vehicle Patrol Bases. Lots of amenities on a FOB. Air conditioning, Sealy Posturepedic® matresses on steel bed frames instead of cots, flush toilets in air conditioned latrine trailers instead of one-holers over a cut-down 55-gallon oil drum baking in 120 degree heat, real showers with real shower curtains instead of home-made, kimche-rigged Rube Goldberg contraptions with no privacy whatsoever, sinks to brush your teeth in, glass mirrors to shave in front of, clean clothes that somebody else washed for you, air conditioned Dining Facilities with a huge variety of good things to eat, Post Exchanges, Hajji Shops, Green Bean Coffee shops, Tim Horton’s coffee shops, Harly Davidson dealerships, gyms, weight rooms, exercise equipment, libraries, movies, dance lessons, . . .
You get the idea. FOB’s are the garrisons that have broken out in the war zone.
Bagram Air Field is the big city to visiting rubes from outside the wire. But life on the FOB is not a bowl of cherries. Most FOB’s are like aircraft carriers dead in the water, and the Fobbits are the crew. It is not easy for many Fobbits to get outside the wire. Their jobs require them to be where they can do them, which in most cases is at their work station, or in their shop. Not that many Bands of Brothers on most FOB’s, either. You can get real lonely in that crowd. I am not ashamed of my Fobbithood. In the hierarchy of military bad assery, civilian contractor Fobbits rate pretty low, but still higher than homesteaders in the rear who never came out at all.
All of the above serves to introduce US Supplies Shrinking in Afghanistan. I have had that sinking feeling when empty shelves and empty coolers force me to confront just how far out on the limb I am, and how many termites are gnawing away at it.
The bridge on a culvert at Ali Masjid was built in the British days and was one of the oldest bridges on the route.
Attackers set fire to at least 10 trucks parked overnight near Landi Kotal
Last week a US Nato commander said that individual member countries could seek supply routes through Iran.
Us Cold Warriors aren’t always the clueless, out of touch dinosaurs we’re misunderestimated as. M K Bhadrakumar has a very interesting piece over at Asia Times which you should read all of, especially this:
US’s Caucasian thrust
Thus, the US has begun developing an altogether new land route through the southern Caucasus to Afghanistan, which doesn’t exist at present. The US is working on the idea of ferrying cargo for Afghanistan via the Black Sea to the port of Poti in Georgia and then dispatching it through the territories of Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. A branch line could also go from Georgia via Azerbaijan to the Turkmen-Afghan border.
The project, if it materializes, will be a geopolitical coup – the biggest ever that Washington would have swung in post-Soviet Central Asia and the Caucasus. At one stroke, the US will be tying up military cooperation at the bilateral level with Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.
We went to Afghanistan to get Osama bin Laden, but that’s not why we stayed. We are still there for a number of good reasons, some of which are difficult to strategically communicate, especially to those elements within our own polity who hate that we’re the Global Hegemon and seek to undermine every effort to keep us at the top of the food chain. The Himalayas, Pamirs and Hindu Kush are Heartland‘s high ground. Lily pads on the roof of the World-Island are clue bats focusing the attention of regional powers and aspiring challengers on our presence in their back yards, and on our capabilities to project pain on to regimes which allow nonstate actors to plot and launch attacks on us from areas these regimes claim to exercise sovereignty over.
I think the United States reacted to the Russo-Georgian War the way we did because we had plans for Georgia.
Maybe our senior leadership was smarter than I gave them credit for. Smarter than their replacements will ever give them credit for.
If there’s going to be a LOGCAP V along that new Cracker Line, send me. What’s the uplift for BF Kazakhstan?
H/T: Amy Zalman
Professionals study logistics.
Logistics in the Afghan Campaign has become a popular topic of discussion over the last several days. More people are noticing that our Line of Communcations between our Sea Port of Debarkation and our logistical support facilities at Bagram and Kandahar is very long, very rough, and very insecure. I’ve been a voice in the wilderness, unheard on a low-traffic blog, sounding this warning for a while now.
Nine months ago I implored war fighters to Listen to your Loggy Toads.
Nine months ago I warned about the vulnerability of Spin Boldak, the alternative to Torkham.
Seven months ago I noticed a pattern of Blockade of our Cl III.
Six months ago we discussed this at The Belmont Club.
Three months ago, in Red Ball Express Rides Again?, I blogged of a private enterprise approach to fighting through support across a not-quite-sovereign ally’s territory.
Last month I declared that We Can’t Logistically Support A Surge in Afghanistan, unless we pull a bunch of caveated, salsa-dancing NATO fobbits out and replace them with an equal number of ETT’s and PMT’s.
Ever since the Uzbek dictator Karimov kicked us out of K2 in 2005, OEF has been living on borrowed time, logistically. We lost our theater Class I collection point and distribution center, as well as access to European rail via Russia. American soldiers in Bavaria between 2002-2005 could load up their connexes and milvans on 5-tons, drive on down to the bahnhof, turn them over to the DB and expect them to arrive at their new FOB in the Hindu Kush safe and sound. I was there twice. Friends of mine were sent up there for the close out, which wasn’t pretty.
Some people like to claim that the Afghanistan Campaign was starved of logistical support because the eeeevil Bush wanted to send every thing to Iraq. Not exactly. Afghanistan has been starved of logistical support in comparison to Iraq, because it is a side show, an economy of force theater, and has been from the beginning, because logistically supporting a large American army on the opposite side of the planet far inland from the sea is too hard even for us. It is so hard for reasons of geography, topography, ethnology, criminology and technology that even the nation that put men on the moon can’t do it except at exorbitant cost. Saddam’s misfortune was that bin Laden got away, and we could logistically support major operations in Mesopotamia.
People in various blog comment sections think OEF can be sustained by air. ‘Fraid not. Bagram and Kandahar are the only major aerial ports of debarkation/embarkation. They have finite ramp space, and when they go Black on Class III, planes quit coming, or they come in light because they have to carry fuel to get back to Kuwait or Qatar or Dubai. The aviation infrastructure for another Operation Vittles just isn’t there.
We came to get bin Laden. We stayed because lily pads at KAF and BAF were good clue bats with which to whomp Islamabad, Tehran, Beijing, Moscow, New Delhi, Bishkek, Tashkent and Dushanbe up side the head. Maintaining these two super FOB thumbs in the eye of the regional powers was the mission after Tora Bora. They made great places to run the Special Forces Olympics out of. Beijing and Moscow saw our clue bats and raised us an SCO, outbribing us with Karimov so we lost K2 which put all our logistical eggs in Musharraf’s basket. He actually did an adequate job of keeping the LOC open, but he’s out now, and his successors aren’t earning their bribes.
I expect the next Commmander-in-Chief to declare Peace With Honor and bug the hell out, leaving lots of expensive stuff behind. I was 19 when Saigon fell. I know what that did to my Army. I dread what the Fall of Kabul will do to it.
Russia has agreed to allow Germany to send military equipment over Russian railroads to Afghanistan.
Uzbek leaders are reportedly seeking a high price for their cooperation
UPDATE 200812030003: Pakistani Taliban hit NATO convoys for third consecutive day
UPDATE 200812072045: Taliban storm two Peshawar trucking terminals, 160 NATO vehicles torched
UPDATE 200812131406: Taleban tax: allied supply convoys pay their enemies for safe passage
UPDATE 200812200350: All roads lead out of Afghanistan
The Taliban attacks stretch all the way south from the Afghan border to Karachi, where weapons, ammunition, food and oil supplies arrive at the docks before being transported by road.
More attacks against the Afghan main supply route . Westhawk sez:
Why are the Pakistani government and army only now showing some fortitude against the Taliban? Although Pakistan harbors little affection for the United States, what it fears even more is to be abandoned or written off by America.
They’re trying to tell you your LOC is subject to interdiction.
Kuwait, Dubai, and Qatar are too far away and Kandahar and Bagram can only handle so much traffic. We must get cooperation, or quit.
if the flow of fuel from Pakistan is completely cut off, American forces could be running on fumes within a fortnight.
The beans and the bullets and the go-juice must get through. Some times it has to be fought through.
The deal made with Musharraf back in 2001 was “give us overflight, a SPOD at Karachi, and an MSR and we’ll give you billions of dollars worth of bribes, plus F-16′s with which to threaten the Indians. We’ll let you play us like rubes as long as you keep the LOC open. Alternatively, we could just nuke you back to the Stone Age.” Musharaff took that deal. He’s out, now, and the next deal is still under negotiation.
Putting 30,000 more Western troops at the end of that tenuous cracker line is a bad idea. Pulling out 30,000 non-essential personnel and caveated salsa dancers to be replaced by 30,000 Police Mentoring Team, Embedded Training Team, Operational Mentor and Liaison Team, and Human Terrain Team members, along with USDOJ, USDA, and DHS Border Patrol augmentees, would be a better idea.
UPDATE: The Captain’s Journal has more on our vulnerability at Targeting of NATO Supply Lines Through Pakistan Expands and at Logistical Difficulties in Afghanistan
We can’t logistically support operations in Afghanistan without cooperation. No Berlin Air Lift is feasible. Kuwait, Dubai, and Qatar are too far away and Kandahar and Bagram can only handle so much traffic. We must get cooperation, or quit.
So sez their Defence Minister. But the trucks are rolling again, so how serious were they? Just serious enough to elect Mr. Ten Percent.
Lifeline to Victory — The concern with logistics and supply can–in wartime–suddenly turn from exact numbers and cold calculations to chaos and hot, flying lead in combat. This scene features LTC Richard N Batchelder Chief Quartermaster for the Second Corps. The fierce Confederate raider John Mosby and his partisan rangers struck frequently and violently, but Batchelder personally commanded his men in fighting them off, insuring the constant delivery to the army of food for the men and forage for the animals. For his tireless actions and distinguished gallantry, LTC Batchelder was awarded the Medal of Honor.
The beans and the bullets and the go-juice must get through. Some times it has to be fought through.
When I worked at KAF I responded to many a call around dark time at the Container Reception Point because the Romanians guarding the place had knocked off leaving a gaggle of unescorted Host Country National (usually Pashtun) and Third Country National (Pakistani passport-holding Pashtun and Punjabi) jingle truck drivers on our hands. What I know about what goes on between Karachi and Kandahar I picked up during the interminable wait for the Base Defense Operations Center to get Force Protection out to come police these guys up. Some of it I picked up from drivers, some from our guys in the yard, some from our terp, and the rest I’m guessing. All anecdotal, but T.I.N.S.
Karachi is the Sea Port of Debarkation for Operation Enduring Freedom. The place where they unload the boat. Karachi is for OEF what Shuaiba, Kuwait is for OIF, and the Main Supply Route, or OEF’s Route Tampa up from Karachi, is 759 klicks. 472 miles of bad road, shake down, extortion, break down and delay. The drivers get jacked around at Karachi by Pakistani Customs, the Pakistani version of the Teamsters, the trucking company they contracted with, and all the various trolls setting up road blocks for the collection of protection money, and then they get to sit in a parking lot at Chaman waiting to cross over to Spin Boldak. Things go boom in the night in that parking lot. By the time they got to us, a lot of them were a bit testy. Some times they wanted to fuss at us over what ever shaft they had got or abuse they had suffered on the way. They exaggerate to pull on your heart strings with the most pitiable ordeals imaginable, but some of that was indeed happening. Neither the U. S. Army, Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police, Canadian Forces, British, Romanians or Dutch military escorted these jingle trucks until they got through Spin, and often not even then. Some times they weren’t even part of a convoy. Just a lone truck, a driver and his alternate lifestyle partner diddy-bopping on up the road.
This situation may be changing. The Bagram Regional Contracting Center, Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan seeks information pertaining to the availability of convoy support within the private industry. This would involve the capability to provide armed convoy protection that covers Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The contractor shall ensure that all convoys consist of at least one (1) English-speaking expatriate for every gun truck that will be used.
That won’t be a job. That’ll be an adventure.
But where does the Red Ball Express fit in? That’s what I was thinking of when I started this post.
See also Listen to your Loggy Toads.