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Erik Prince Thinks He Can Turn Around The War In Afghanistan With 6 Months And 3,600 Men
The former founder and CEO of Blackwater says he needs just six months and roughly 3,600 men to make the Afghan War look far different from the shitshow it is now.
In an interview with Afghanistan's TOLO News, Erik Prince once again pitched his idea to privatize the nearly-17-year-old conflict, offering up a force of "contracted veteran mentors" from the United States and NATO countries to serve alongside Afghan security forces.
“Well, I would say six months after the program is fully ramped up, you have a very different situation on the ground, I will commit to that,” Prince said, outlining a plan to provide 36 contractors for each unit of Afghan security forces, who would serve for two to four years at a time.
Yes, you read that right: Erik Prince says he can turn the war around in six months while suggesting his contractors could be there for at least four years.
“They provide leadership, intelligence, communications, medicals, and logistics expertise to their Afghan counterparts and go with them in the field all the time to make sure their Afghan counterparts are paid and fed, that they are well led, that they have a communications plan, all those essential elements of soldiering don’t break down,” he said.
Prince also said that if one of his contractors "does an evil act" such as intentionally injuring a civilian, they "could" be held accountable through the military's Uniform Code of Military Justice, which brought military contractors into the fold back in 2007.
"It's legally possible" to bring charges against a contractor in Afghanistan or elsewhere, according to Phil Carter, a lawyer and senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. "Contractors can be subject to the UCMJ in war or contingency operations."
But... there's a big but.
Carter mentioned the court-martial of Alaa Mohammad Ali, an Iraqi working for a contractor who was convicted of stabbing a fellow contractor. Although Ali was convicted and his appeal was subsequently denied, it still remains an open question of whether an American civilian could be convicted under military law and still pass constitutional muster.
"It's not really been tested otherwise, and there's sort of a big question as to how this would take place," Carter said.
Prince has been shopping his privatization plan for several months to American officials and in the media. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis shot down the idea last month, telling reporters at the Pentagon that "privatizing is probably not a wise idea."
A spokesman for the U.S. Resolute Support Mission declined to comment.
Kade Kurita, the 20-year-old West Point cadet who had been missing since Friday evening, was found dead on Tuesday night, the U.S. Military Academy announced early Wednesday morning.
"We are grieving this loss and our thoughts and prayers go out to Cadet Kurita's family and friends," Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, superintendent of West Point, said in the release.
The Air Force is investigating whether an airman smoked weed at a missile alert facility for nuclear Minuteman ICBMs
The Air Force is investigating reports that an airman consumed marijuana while assigned to one of the highly-sensitive missile alert facility (MAF) responsible for overseeing 400 nuclear GM-30G Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota.
Mark Mitchell is stepping down as the acting assistant defense secretary for special operations and low-intensity conflict, a position he has held since late June, a defense official confirmed on Tuesday.
No information was immediately available about why Mitchell decided to resign. His last day will be Nov. 1 and he will be replaced by Thomas Alexander, who is currently leading the Defense Department's counternarcotics efforts, the defense official told Task & Purpose.
The U.S. Army's Next Generation Squad Weapon effort looked a lot more possible this week as the three competing weapons firms displayed their prototype 6.8mm rifles and automatic rifles at the 2019 Association of the United States Army's annual meeting.
Just two months ago, the Army selected General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems inc., Textron Systems and Sig Sauer Inc. for the final phase of the NGSW effort — one of the service's top modernization priorities to replace the 5.56mm M4A1 carbine and the M249 squad automatic weapon in infantry and other close-combat units.
Army officials, as well as the companies in competition, have been guarded about specific details, but the end result will equip combat squads with weapons that fire a specially designed 6.8mm projectile, capable of penetrating enemy body armor at ranges well beyond the current M855A1 5.56mm round.
There have previously been glimpses of weapons from two firms, but this year's AUSA was the first time all three competitors displayed their prototype weapons, which are distinctly different from one another.
US troops withdrawing to Iraq from Syria can't redeploy there and have to leave in 4 weeks, Baghdad says
The 1,000 U.S. troops leaving Syria will be allowed to stay in Iraq for at most four weeks, Iraq's defense minister said Wednesday, in an embarrassing rebuff to President Donald Trump's plans for withdrawing from Syria.
Najah al-Shammari's comments to the Associated Press came shortly after his meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who went to Baghdad to negotiate the redeployment of U.S. troops in Iraq after they withdrew from Syria.