Monday, December 7, 2009

Afghanistan deployment details (UPDATED)

As an update to this post, here are some more details on upcoming Afghan deployments straight from DoD:

The Department of Defense today announced the deployment of approximately 16,000 additional forces to Afghanistan, the initial elements of the 30,000 troops authorized by President Obama on Nov. 30. An infantry battalion task force, with approximately 1,500 Marines, from Camp Lejeune, N.C., will deploy later this month. Regimental Combat Team-2, headquartered at Camp Lejuene, N.C., will deploy approximately 6,200 Marines in early spring 2010. A Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) headquarters from I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif., will deploy approximately 800 Marines in spring 2010.

A Brigade Combat Team (BCT), with approximately 3,400 soldiers from the 1st Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y. will deploy in early spring 2010 to conduct a training mission.

Secretary Gates also approved the deployment of approximately 4,100 support forces, which will deploy at various times into spring 2010.

So that's 1/10 Mtn as an SFA brigade, I guess, and RCT-2 to Helmand for the fight in Marjah. That gets us about halfway there, as far as I can tell.

Interesting to see that the two IBCTs, one of which will be headed to RC-East and one to RC-South -- that is, basically the bulk of the additional combat power in this "surge" -- are going to constitute the latter half of the escalation. Marines and trainers headed over first. Curious to see how they're going to ramp up 1/10 Mtn for the SFA mission at pretty much the exact same time they're getting 1/4 ID ready. (And who's replacing 48th BCT, doing SFA in the east? 1/10 Mtn is supposed to be an additional training brigade.)

UPDATE: You'll remember that 1/10 Mtn was "off-ramped" from a planned Iraq deployment just a couple of months ago. Here's what I had to say about it in October:
The First Brigade Combat Team of the 10th Mountain Division has been "off-ramped" from its previously-scheduled deployment to Iraq, expected to take place in January of next year. They've yet to receive a new mission tasking, but this announcement is fueling speculation that the brigade is being made available for a potential escalation in Afghanistan.
This means the brigade is just finishing up its "Train/Ready" phase and is just about ready to go. So slap on a few weeks of advisor training down at Ft. Polk, switch out those Arabic phrasebooks for Pashto and Dari, and you're headed to Afghanistan!

8 comments:

  1. Thank you for this update, Gulliver.

    On a side note, however, I have to add that a person can't learn everything about everything, and I think with regard to my Afghanistan reading I draw the line at some of the above details. It is simply too confusing for me. Funny, I remember a commenter around here from some time back (maybe Tintin?) stating that he was confused by the larger strategy questions and much preferred discussing brigades, etc. Am I remembering that correctly? At any rate, this is a level of detail I think I'll have to miss, because I am not up to it.

    *Who is in charge, ultimately, of these kinds of decisions?

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  2. On a second side note, and completely unrelated to your post, I wanted to highlight the following thread, and comment, at a group blog where I sometimes contribute (in my other online "persona", onparkstreet). Look for the comment by Jim Bennett; I think it's hilarious. Or not, if you aren't interested and don't have time. (It's pretty much nerd-bait and you have to look at the post, plus the comment, to get the massive nerd-bait "joke".)

    *I hope you don't mind the tangent, which is against ALL blog decorum, but as I am a regular commenter here and intend to remain a regular, I thought just-the-once would be okay....Seriously, it's my most favorite blog interaction EVER.
    (LUN)

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  3. *Who is in charge, ultimately, of these kinds of decisions?

    The Army Staff. The buck stops with the Chief.

    Funny, I remember a commenter around here from some time back (maybe Tintin?) stating that he was confused by the larger strategy questions and much preferred discussing brigades, etc. Am I remembering that correctly? At any rate, this is a level of detail I think I'll have to miss, because I am not up to it.

    Understand that not everyone is going to be interested in everything we do. Some people are interested in the ins and outs of ORBAT and stuff like that, and others aren't. I don't feel like I have all that much to offer on these posts -- anyone can get the meat of them by checking the DoD's transcripts and announcements -- but I know that there are people who care, and who may not have the time to find it themselves.

    Other people are interested in strategy, or Africa, or whatever. We try to be diverse.

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  4. Oh, I didn't mean anything by that, I'm glad you are willing to post about it and I like the diversity of postings around here. I just meant I don't think I'll ever be able to understand it.

    - Madhu

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  5. 86th BCT is replacing 48th BCT in the late winter or early spring.

    The other two brigades, according to Army Times, are 2/82 and 2/101. Of these, 2/82 could pretty much deploy next week if it wanted to - it's had 20 months of dwell time and is the division ready brigade - and 2/101 has had a year of dwell time at this point (and when I embedded with them in Iraq last year, they were already thinking about the train-up for Afghanistan).

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  6. A thought: when this buildup hits its peak, there will be a total of just about 55-60 NATO maneuver battalions in Afghanistan (36 or 37 U.S., and 19, 20, or 21 allied).

    In June 2006 in Iraq, the very lowest dip in troop levels before the surge+sahwa, there were almost that same number of coalition maneuver battalions in the country (45 U.S. and about 12 allied). At the height of the surge, there were 77 maneuver battalions in Iraq (67 U.S. and 10 allied).

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  7. Holy crap. 20 months of dwell for a brigade? I'm guessing that others have somewhere near that? Is the norm now in the 15 to 18 range? When I got out, it was one year and not a day more.

    It was also uphill both ways - deployment and redeployment. These youngsters have no idea...

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  8. 2/82 is unusual in having so much dwell time, particularly for a light brigade. It has had it because it has been acting as the 82nd's DRB.

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