Industry Talk: Afghanistan To Disband The APPF!

U.S. Army Col. Jane Crichton, a spokeswoman for the U.S.-led coalition, said there had been no immediate impact on security.
“We are not aware of any decisions or significant changes to support that affect the coalition in the near-term,” she said. “We are evaluating possible courses of action, including providing our own security or using contract security, among others. At present, the APPF is still providing convoy security escorts with no plan to cease.”

This is big, and good riddance. The APPF was a joke from the get go, and more than likely the money earned by this venture was squandered away by a corrupt government–hence why they are disbanding it. Also, I had been getting reports over the last couple weeks from contractors saying that APPF guards were not getting paid and that there was rumor that this was going to happen.

Now the question is, how will this security vacuum be filled? Well, that quote up top says it all. Either these clients will just pack up and go home, or if they decide to stay, they will be requiring contract security. Which I am sure there will be plenty of companies willing to step in and do this.

Although there is one caveat with that statement. The Afghan government has been seizing weapons and communications gear like crazy for the last several years, and it could be very difficult for companies to get that stuff back to do the job. So going back to the corrupt government theme, I could see lease or rental type agreements for weapons or some kind license scheme that will cost oodles of money for companies to get set up.  Who knows, but at least the APPF is going away.

If anyone has other elements to report about this development, let me know in the comments. Especially if security becomes an issue because of the way this has worked out. There is still a war going on and I imagine if APPF guys are just walking off post because they are not getting paid or are fed up with the whole thing, then that will not be cool. What a mess….

It also reminds me of the mess with the TWISS contracts in Iraq. When the Ugandans would not get paid or whatever forces being used were not getting paid, they often had walks offs and labor strikes.  Meaning guards not showing up to posts. Several times, contingencies in Iraq required military folks to step in to do these jobs as labor issues were being handled out in the field. So as this APPF thing develops, I imagine we will see similar acts if they are not getting paid and there is confusion as to who will pay them or whom they work for.

Another point is perhaps they will not like being rolled into the MOI or being made into a military unit or police unit. Perhaps the ANA or ANP will not like having to dip into their budgets to pay for these APPF salaries. Who knows…. -Matt

 

 

Afghanistan to Disband Crucial Guard Force
March 4, 2014
By Nathan Hodge
The Afghan government is moving to dissolve a crucial guard force that protects military supply convoys, international aid programs and foreign installations, creating new uncertainty over security as the U.S. and its allies withdraw.
The Afghan Ministry of Interior said in a statement Monday that Kabul would disband the Afghan Public Protection Force.
While APPF is a government agency, its services are paid for commercially by the clients, such as the U.S. Agency for International Development. It replaced a host of private security contractors.
Top Afghan officials recently issued a directive that would disband the force and fold it into the Ministry of Interior. But U.S. and coalition officials say it is unclear how, exactly, the Afghan government plans to implement this new order—and who will take over the job of protecting internationally funded reconstruction projects.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Funny Stuff: The Pentagon Wars

A big hat tip to David over on Feral Jundi’s Facebook page for reminding me of this movie. This is an all time classic and a reminder as to how the Pentagon procurement process can go horribly wrong. It also helps to explain how idiotic weapons like the F-35 get made and pushed up thru the procurement process, and how highly effective weapons like the A-10 get mothballed.

By the way, this is a clip from the movie that showed how the Bradley Fighting Vehicle came about. Pretty hilarious. You can watch the whole thing on youtube if you want to watch it sometime later. -Matt

 

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Aviation: Save The A-10 Warthog And Trash The F-35 Flying Turkey!

Pierre Sprey is the man! He was also a member of Col John Boyd’s fighter mafia and Pierre was instrumental in designing the A-10 aircraft. So it is really cool to hear the thought process that went into the design of the A-10 Warthog.  Here is a snippet from Wikipedia that discusses that history.

Criticism that the U.S. Air Force did not take close air support (CAS) seriously prompted a few service members to seek a specialized attack aircraft. In the Vietnam War, large numbers of ground-attack aircraft were shot down by small arms, surface-to-air missiles, and low-level anti-aircraft gunfire, prompting the development of an aircraft better able to survive such weapons. In addition, the UH-1 Iroquois and AH-1 Cobra helicopters of the day, which USAF commanders had said should handle close air support, were ill-suited for use against armor, carrying only anti-personnel machine guns and unguided rockets meant for soft targets. Fast jets such as the F-100 Super Sabre, F-105 Thunderchief and F-4 Phantom II proved for the most part to be ineffective for close air support because their high speed did not allow pilots enough time to get an accurate fix on ground targets and they lacked sufficient loiter time. The effective, but aging, Korean War era, A-1 Skyraider was the USAF’s primary close air support aircraft.
A-X program

In 1966, the USAF formed the Attack Experimental (A-X) program office. On 6 March 1967, the Air Force released a request for information to 21 defense contractors for the A-X. The objective was to create a design study for a low-cost attack aircraft. In 1969, the Secretary of the Air Force asked Pierre Sprey to write the detailed specifications for the proposed A-X project. However, his initial involvement was kept secret because of Sprey’s earlier controversial involvement in the F-X project. Sprey’s discussions with A-1 Skyraider pilots operating in Vietnam and analysis of aircraft currently used in the role indicated the ideal aircraft should have long loiter time, low-speed maneuverability, massive cannon firepower, and extreme survivability; an aircraft that had the best elements of the Ilyushin Il-2, Henschel Hs 129, and Skyraider. The specifications also demanded that each aircraft cost less than $3 million. Sprey required that the biography of World War II attack pilot Hans-Ulrich Rudel be read by people on the A-X program.

The reason why I am posting this is that the A-10 is on the chopping block according to the latest budget proposal, and supposedly the F-35 is going to be replacing it. I think this is ridiculous because the F-35 is nowhere close to being able to replace or even compete with the A-10 for the mission of CAS.

The thought process for the F-35 is that it can do ‘everything’ on the battlefield, to include CAS. In reality, the way it is configured would mean that it would be doing a very poor job of CAS. When you try to make an aircraft that does everything, then it doesn’t do all those things very well. Compromises are made in order for it do everything, and this is it’s weakness.

Instead, we need aircraft that are designed for specific missions. So for the CAS or Close Air Support mission, the A-10 is the best purpose built aircraft for that job. Until an aircraft is designed to do a better job of the CAS mission than the A-10, I see no reason to mothball such a thing. The troops love it, our enemies fear it, and our pilots appreciate it’s lethality and survivability.

Unfortunately what is going on here is the Pentagon, Lockheed Martin and politicians are all in the game of supporting the F-35 and similar flying turkeys that are super expensive. This game provides lots of money and influence to those that support it. Instead of looking at the data of past Close Air Support missions in our prior wars and these current wars, or other people’s wars, and realizing that what Pierre and others have created was built upon that data, they instead take a path more geared towards lining pockets and keeping factories employed so politicians can please their constituents.

With that said, I have provided several videos below where Pierre Sprey makes an excellent argument against the F-35 and explains why the A-10 is the better aircraft. What is really sad is that even in air to air combat, Pierre mentioned that the older F-16 that he helped to design as well, could defeat the F-35. It is sickening to think, and I believe this aircraft will cost lives and especially if troops are to depend upon it for CAS. It is a flying turkey that tax payers will be paying a lot of money for, and troops will pay for in blood.

Now I am all about modernizing stuff. But that modernization actually has to produce an aircraft better than the one it is replacing. It has to please guys like Pierre Sprey, who know a thing or two about aircraft design used for warfare. And considering CAS has been a very important aspect of wars that we have fought in the modern era, I do not see that trend going away any time soon.

Perhaps if the Pentagon really goes through with this idiotic move, a private company could step up and make a deal with the US government to purchase all of these aircraft? Or maybe the 160th SOAR could grab them all and make good use of them. (hint, hint) Because I think future wars will once again require such an aircraft, and the company or unit that has them ready to go, will have an aircraft in high demand. -Matt

 

 

This is the most current video that Pierre made, in regards to the background of A-10 development.

 

 

This is Pierre describing how poor of an aircraft the F-35 is. He tears it apart.

 

 

In this tribute video, the troops refer to this aircraft as the ‘hand of god’ because of the sound it makes when it fires it’s 30mm guns and the damage it does to the enemy. I agree with this, and having heard this aircraft in combat and in training environments, it is absolutely ominous and life saving.

 

Capt. Kim Campbell, an A-10 Thunderbolt II pilot deployed with the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing, surveys the battle damage to her airplane. Her A-10 was hit over Baghdad during a close air support mission April 7. The A-10 can survive direct hits from armor-piercing and high explosive projectiles up to 23mm. Manual systems back up their redundant hydraulic flight-control systems. This permits pilots, like Captain Campbell, to fly and land when hydraulic power is lost. (quote)

 

And here is a link to the background of this photo. A true testament to the survivability of this aircraft.

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Industry Talk: The UN Talks Shop About Their Use Of PMSC’s

Last year in July, I wrote about this debate that the UN was having about it’s use of PMSC’s, now and into the future. This is the final review panel about this debate, and it was interesting to hear the current view point of the UN.

One of the things that came up that I thought was interesting, is that the UN still does not know how many contractors it uses, either for guard work or for logistics. So I think they should at least dedicate some time and effort towards getting a firm grasp on this. Perhaps an online database that gives a transparent view of everyone they are using, both past and present. They could also add to that database if that company was fired or not, or what they thought of their performance? Anything to add to the history of the use of contractors.

They also talked in great length about codes of conduct and other initiatives to get companies to self-regulate. My thoughts are that if the UN actually published violations of these codes as a record for the public, kind of like what POGO does with companies in the US, then that would keep the world and the UN better informed as to the true track records of companies. That kind of history and track record is essential information if you want to truly find the best value company for the money. Companies would also fight to not be on that list, and especially if it impacted bidding.

The other surprising thing is that they couldn’t list how much money was spent on contractors, past or present. So a database should absolutely list those costs so that member donors to the UN can see exactly how their money is being spent. Also, other companies can see how much a service costs, and find out if they can provide that service cheaper or at least get a feel for what it would take to spin up a contract. So a UN contractor database would be an excellent investment, if the UN is interested in transparency and effectively using this industry.

I was also taken aback when the panel was asked around the 28:30 point of this video, what they thought about the lack of accountability for member nation troops that continue to violate human rights during peace keeping operations. No one wanted to take that question and it was left ‘wide’ open. I thought the silence said everything…

There was also numerous questions about the definition of mercenary and how that applied to PMSC’s. Or how their group was called the UN Working Group On The Use of Mercenaries, and yet they were tasked with evaluating PMSC’s that were not mercenaries by definition. I think the choice of group title is somewhat counterproductive for such a panel, if they wanted to be perceived as objective in their research of this industry. With that said, the group at least tried to differentiate between mercenaries and PMSC’s.

If the video below does not show up, here is a link to the video. It is about 50 minutes long and worth your time. The panel’s final report should be coming out sometime this year, and I will post it when it surfaces. -Matt

 

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War Art: One The Hard Way, By Dan Zoernig

This is cool. This is some artwork depicting combat that actually happened between a Flying Tiger and a Japanese Zero. For those that do not know who the Flying Tigers or AVG are, they were an American private air force that flew combat missions for the Chinese, against the Japanese, with US blessing, all before and a little bit during the beginning stages of WW2. They were the only game in town for attacking the Japanese after the Pearl Harbor attack happened, and it is some very unique American war history. America also cheered this company on as they did their thing in China, all because this country wanted some payback. A movie was also made about this company, staring John Wayne.

I should note that the Flying Tigers had a bounty program as well… Maybe that is why this pilot was willing to rip apart another aircraft with his own? lol As to the back story, Parker Dupouy was awarded the Chinese Sixth Cloud Banner medal for his heroic actions that day. I would say this maneuver was pretty damned aggressive and ballsy. -Matt

Buy a print of it here.

 

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Bounties: Iraq Offers $17,000 Reward For Killing Jihadists

Now this is something else.  Iraq is trying to fire up an offense industry against Al Qaeda and ISIS, and are actually creating a dead or alive scheme. I believe this is the first dead or alive bounty program, sponsored by Iraq or any state recently, in modern times. I could be wrong, but if true, this is significant.

The other thing to note is the increased bounty for ‘living’ foreign militants. Which is a good move in order to get intelligence from living militants. You want to create the incentive to bring them in alive, and attach a value to that. It is much like how the US created a bounty scheme in order for privateers to capture British prisoners, as opposed to just letting them go, during the War of 1812. The reason why, is the US needed British prisoners to exchange for US prisoners.

So where can this go wrong? Well, for one, human rights violations could happen. Imagine bounty hunters torturing folks, just to find more jihadists for increased profit.  I am sure a bounty program like this also violates some UN law or treaty… Who knows. All I  know is Iraq is pretty desperate and they are doing everything they can to survive.

I should also note that Al Qaeda and others have been using offense industry in their game for a long time now. They have put bounties on Iraqis and the west all over the world, and still have ‘dead or alive’ schemes going to this day.

As to how this might play out, who knows. It might fizzle, but it might really take off. I am reminded of bounty schemes/offense industries during the Rhodesian War or the early bounty schemes in America, where scalps were used as proof of death.

In Mexico, they had bounty programs where they paid money for the scalps of dead Apaches. In the case of Mexico, gangs like the Glanton Gang, would go on scalp hunting expeditions to get the reward money posted by the state of Chihuahua. This is not to say that the Iraqis will use scalps as a proof of death, but in all actuality, proof of death will be necessary in order to collect a reward. Scalping was a mechanism created to prove death because it was easier to transport a scalp, and humans only grow one scalp. In this case, I imagine folks will present the body, or maybe even the head, as proof. Who knows…

I will keep an eye on this and see if this is just a propaganda thing, or if they are actually firing up a dead or alive bounty program. Also, I have no idea if the Iraqis are offering this bounty to anyone other than Iraqi bounty hunters. If anything else pops up on this, I will make an edit. -Matt

 

Buffalo hunter Ralph Morrison, killed and scalped by Cheyennes in December 1868 near Fort Dodge, Kansas; Lieutenant Read in Military Uniform and John O. Austin and Horse Nearby. December 7, 1868.

 

 

Iraq offers $17,200 reward for killing jihadists
20 February 2014
Iraq’s government has offered a reward of $17,200 (£10,300) for each foreign militant killed from al-Qaeda or the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), a former affiliate.
A larger reward of $25,800 (£15,500) is being offered for the capture of militants belonging to the two groups.
The announcement was made on the website of the ministry of defence.
Al-Qaeda and ISIS have been blamed by the authorities for the surge in sectarian violence over the past year.
Iraqi government data says more than 1,000 people were killed in January.
At the end of December, ISIS and its allies seized control of parts of Fallujah and Ramadi, two cities in the predominantly Sunni western province of Anbar.
While security forces backed by pro-government tribesmen have made progress in retaking areas of Ramadi, they have not launched an offensive on Fallujah, instead asking locals to get the militants to leave.
Last week, the UN said 300,000 people had been displaced by the fighting in Anbar, the highest number since the peak of the sectarian insurgency from 2006 to 2008.
Story here.

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