Friday, January 29, 2010

U.S. cavalry squadron to reinforce Canadian-led TF Kandahar

According to the Calgary Herald, 1st Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 1st BCT, 10th Mtn will be assigned to Task Force Kandahar in RC-South when 1/10 arrives in country in March.

As Afghan President Hamid Karzai extended an olive branch to Taliban fighters and warlords to lay down their arms in return for money at an international conference in London, another U.S. army unit has received orders to join the war as part of the Canada-led "super brigade" in Kandahar.

The 1st Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment of the 10th Mountain Division is to be placed under Canadian command in March when it arrives from Fort Drum in upstate New York.

"Their arrival is key for us because they will help us to finalize the ring of stability around Kandahar City," Canadian Brig.-Gen. Daniel Menard said in an interview. "2010 is the year that we have to make it happen. The only way to do that is to stop talking and to go out and protect the population so they have an alternative to the insurgency."

The incoming unit — between 400 and 500 troops — is to be one of the first U.S. army formations to deploy from the U.S. as part of a surge of 30,000 additional forces that President Barack Obama announced late in 2009.

The Valcartier, Que.-based commander of Task Force Kandahar declined to say exactly where the new U.S. troops would be deployed within his battle space, which includes the provincial capital and three heavily populated adjacent districts.

Three other U.S. battalions (a squadron is the cav equivalent of a battalion, for those who may not be aware) are already serving under Menard's command: 1-12 Infantry (3/4 ID), the 97th Military Police Battalion, and 2-508 PIR (4/82 Abn) [the article mistakenly identifies the battalion as 1-502 PIR, which is actually part of the 101st Abn; if you've been reading here, you know it's actually Frank Jenio's old outfit in the 82d].

h/t to The Torch for this one.

6 comments:

  1. The squadron's parent brigade, 1/10, is deploying in an advisory role, like 4/82 and 48th BCT. It's interesting, with all the rhetorical emphasis the Obama administration has placed on training and advising Afghan forces, that not one but apparently now both of the extra BCTs deployed for advising purposes are having a full battalion/squadron stripped away and assigned to a standard ground-owning role.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Also, it's a little silly to call TF Kandahar a "super brigade," as General Lessard, the article, and The Torch do. After this it will have four maneuver battalions and an MP battalion - not much larger than the Stryker brigade nextdoor and certainly no larger than the ground part of the MEB in Helmand. (Although the Canadian battalion is quite large, with five maneuver companies and two support companies.)

    By comparison, the British brigade in Helmand has six maneuver battalions, an OMLT infantry battalion, an artillery battalion, and an engineer battalion, plus all sorts of other support troops. That is a "super brigade" if there ever was one. And off the top of my head I can think of three American brigades that fought in Iraq that were also far, far bigger than TF Kandahar: in 2005, 1/3 ID in Salahuddin had seven maneuver battalions and an FA battalion, and during the surge, 4/1 ID in Rashid routinely had five maneuver battalions and at some points had seven and even eight.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The squadron's parent brigade, 1/10, is deploying in an advisory role, like 4/82 and 48th BCT. It's interesting, with all the rhetorical emphasis the Obama administration has placed on training and advising Afghan forces, that not one but apparently now both of the extra BCTs deployed for advising purposes are having a full battalion/squadron stripped away and assigned to a standard ground-owning role.

    Good catch. I wrote about this here and here.

    The story about 2-508 being split off broke the very day after the president announced the escalation and placed so much focus on them standing up so we can stand down and all that.

    ReplyDelete
  4. (In reality, though, I think we can all probably acknowledge that the idea of shifting responsibility to the Afghans at this stage, and in all places, is/was a bit of a pipe dream. Whatever the president is saying, it's clear that there needs to be some clearing, taking, and pacifying up front, and that the Afghans aren't ready to do that.)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Tintin - Objectively I agree, but from the perspective of the Canadians this represents a four-fold expansion of the maneuver battalions in Task Force Kandahar.

    (Yes the 2-2 were under Canadian command in '08/'09, but they were all the way over in Maywand, and my impression is that they were pretty independent).

    ReplyDelete
  6. It's fair to say those of us who worked with the Canadians on those previous 1-2 battalion rotos in the province are rather envious.

    ReplyDelete