Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

September 21, 2009

WAPO delivers McChrystal’s Assessment

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on September 21, 2009

You can access a slightly redacted copy of General McChrystal’s Initial Assessment from the Washington Post website.

Some excerpts that strike me as especially important:

Our strategy cannot be focused on seizing terrain or destroying insurgent forces, our objective must be the population.  In the struggle to gain the support of the people, every action we take must enable this effort.  The population also represents a powerful actor that can and must be leveraged in this complex system…

Preoccupied with protection of our own forces, we have operated in a manner that distances us — physicially and psychologically — for the people we seek to protect.  In addition, we run the risk of strategic defeat by pursuing the tactical wins that cause civilian casualities or unnecessary collateral damage.  The insurgents cannot defeat us militarily; but we can defeat ourselves…

To accomplish the mission and defeat the insurgency we also require a properly resourced strategy built on four main pillars:

1.  Improve effectiveness through greater partnering with the ANSF.  We will increase the size and accelerate the growth of the ANSF, with a radically improved partnership at every level, to improve effectiveness and prepare them to take the lead in security operations.

2. Prioritize responsive and accountable governance.  We must assist in improving governance at all levels through both formal and traditional mechanisms.

3.  Gain the initiative.  Our first imperative, in a series of operational stages, is to gain the initiative and reverse the  insurgency’s momentum

4.  Focus Resources.  We will prioritize available resources to those critical areas where vulnerable populations are most threatened.

This is the lead story today — and perhaps of the week — but I will be offline for most of the next two days.  Will be interested in what you have said when I rejoin the network mid-week.

You can read Bob Woodward’s headline-making story in today’s Washington Post.

As discussed previously, for me our fight in Afghanistan is related to homeland security by the need to seriously reduce terrorist capabilities all along the Hindu Kush.

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Comment by William R. Cumming

September 21, 2009 @ 7:35 am

Well I guess the “trial ballon” operation now extends from the political world of Washington and elsewhere to the Pentagon and Armed Forces. Real decision makers don’t test out their theories in the public arena!

Comment by christopher tingus

September 22, 2009 @ 10:22 pm

As a proud American and with the highest esteem for our young men and women proudly standing on our behalf, we will have little affect in Afganistan for the country and regional history with generational strife and differences unwilling to embrace, it is time for our beloved nation to let the Germans and the German-led EU and its grand supporter, the Vatican, address many of these issues which will have a much greater impact on the EU than here in the US where the new administration has seemingly brought more division rather than unity and chooses to embrace folks that are indeed questionable in character….and personal agenda….James Carter and the Syrian Officials for starters!

Prepare for rocky German elections and a weakened Egyptian government playing in the news as the weeks move forward….

Christopher Tingus

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