We've already got a dedicated "train and advise" brigade; it's called a modular brigade augmented for security force assistance (or in Iraq, an Advise and Assist Brigade), and the 4th Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division is currently executing that mission in Afghanistan. 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division at Ft. Carson has already been tapped as 4/82's replacement; they'll go over next summer.
McChrystal's analysis suggests that 44,000 troops would be needed to drive Taliban forces from populated areas and to hold them until Afghan troops and government officials can take the place of U.S. and NATO forces. The extra troops would allow U.S. commanders to essentially triple the size of the American forces in the southern part of the country, where the Taliban movement originated and where the insurgents have their strongest base of support.
McChrystal would also use the additional troops to bolster the effort in eastern Afghanistan, which has long been a focus of the U.S. military, and push additional troops into western Afghanistan, where the military has maintained a tiny presence and where the Taliban has made inroads, U.S. officials said. A surge of 44,000 soldiers and Marines would also allow McChrystal to designate a brigade of about 5,000 soldiers to train and advise the Afghan army and police forces, accelerating their growth.
The increase of 10,000 to 15,000 soldiers would give McChrystal one U.S.
advisory brigade of about 5,000 troops to speed the development of Afghan forces and a large number of support forces to include engineers, route-clearance teams and helicopters. McChrystal's analysis also suggested the option of increasing the number of troops by 80,000, but that isn't drawing serious consideration. [emphasis added]
So what the heck are they talking about here? A troop increase would mean more SFA brigades, or what? What would escalation do to impact the rotational cycle that these units are already on? As far as I can tell, so long as we're only talking about having one brigade perform this mission at a time in-country, we're set for SFA brigades through late spring 2011.
Any ideas what this means?