Friday, February 29, 2008

America Supports You: Group 'LEEPS' to Help Afghan Police

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 29, 2008 - Afghan National
Police officers are getting help rebuilding from U.S and other countries' troops, but they're also getting a boost from friends they may never meet. Steve Newton started the Law Enforcement Equipment Program as a way to provide used gear for American armed forces units to use in training or equipping friendly foreign police forces. The program accepts donations of used equipment from U.S. law enforcement departments and helps get it overseas.

"We simply act as a go-between for the American law enforcement community and the military," Newton said of the organization, more commonly known as "LEEP."

Fulfilling its mission requires help on the other side of the world, however, and that's where Air Force Master Sgt. Buffie C. Verhagen comes in.

Since she's serving as a
police mentor and trainer on a provincial reconstruction team, she checked out the LEEP Web site after her father, a retired Houston police officer, told her about it. She let Newton know about her work with the Afghan police officers and has been receiving equipment through the program for about a year.

The equipment is particularly welcome, too.

"The overall condition of the Afghan National Police was, and is, still in poor condition, although strides have been made toward improvements, especially with training," Verhagen said. "Any gear, including cold-weather items, or any item related to law enforcement can be used."

LEEP has stepped up, providing pistol holsters, handcuff cases, ammunition holders and tactical vests, she said. While those donated items fill a tangible void, they also work to foster trust and respect between the Afghan National
Police and coalition forces.

"We tell the (Afghan National Police) that the equipment was donated from police officers in the U.S. specifically for them," Verhagen said. "This shows our commitment to their development and really shows how the U.S. as a whole is working to provide assistance."

It also tightens a bond that spans geographic boundaries. Despite the differences between American and Afghan societies, the
police officers share a common bond, Verhagen said.

Verhagen, who will be returning home soon, is grateful for LEEP and what it provided her, her team and the Afghan
police officers who received the equipment.

"(It's) great in that it builds relationships with a specific U.S. military member or team and then sends resources tailored to the needs of a particular area," she said. "It's a fantastic way for our U.S.
police to assist a country still in dire need."

LEEP has 1,200 pounds of gear available to ship to servicemembers in Afghanistan or Iraq, its two main shipping destinations. Shipping costs have proved to be a challenge for the Missouri-based program, however, and LEEP's administrators still are working out how to get the equipment into the hands that can use it.

The Law Enforcement Equipment Program is a supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Unit Strives for Cohesive Security in Afghan Province

By Maj. John House, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service

Feb. 25, 2008 - Establishing peace and stability here is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, and Afghan Regional
Security Integration Command Central is helping fit the pieces together to build a cohesive security picture in the region. "For a successful counterinsurgency operation, all players -- the Afghan National Army, the Afghan National Police and coalition forces -- have to be involved and working together," said Marine Corps Col. Phillip Smith, who commands the unit.

Kunar province is a hotbed of operations for anti-government elements, including foreign fighters infiltrating through Pakistan. Responsibility for interdicting this infiltration falls largely on the Afghan Border

Border-control points on main roads can only be partially effective, since insurgents avoid these routes anyway, officials explained. Mentors from Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix and Task Force Rock, from NATO's International Security Transition Force Regional Command East, have been helping the border
police establish elevated observation posts along the border to fill the gaps.

"We're building up OPs on the Pakistan border to give them fighting positions that will enhance defensibility and survivability," said
Army Capt. Brian Pinson, an embedded trainer with 5th Kandak, 1st Brigade, 201st Afghan National Army Corps.

One of these observation points, at Donai, was built in just a week, Army Capt. Albert Fitzpatrick, of Task Force Rock said. Working side by side, border
police and U.S. mentors dug trenches and fighting positions, filled and placed sandbags, and built a command post.

"Its location is important to border
security," Fitzpatrick said.

Afghan Border
Police Capt. Ramah Gull, whose men occupy the observation post around the clock, agreed. "It will help us secure areas from the Nawa Pass to the adjacent valley," he said.

When Gull's element takes fire or observes suspicious activity, he can call in the provincial border police quick-reaction force. A U.S. Special Forces detachment is busy training a border
police kandak, or battalion, as a quick-reaction force at the Camp Wright range on the Asadabad Provincial Reconstruction Team compound.

"The training is very advanced," said 2nd Lt. Zamari of the border police. "(It is) a good fit for our mission."

Dealing with enemy fighters operating in Kunar, and particularly in the Pech Valley, is a matter for the Afghan National
Army, mentored and reinforced by embedded training teams from Task Force Rock and Task Force Phoenix.

"The enemy is trying to disrupt lines of communication using small arms, rocket-propelled grenades and improvised explosive devices," said ANA Capt. Mohammed Tahir, intelligence officer for the 3rd Kandak, 2nd Brigade, 201st Corps. "The Korengal Valley is especially contentious."

The enemy takes advantage of the mountain terrain to attack and disperse quickly. Once an area is cleared of insurgents, coordination with Afghan National
Police is essential to establish and maintain control. The Kunar Provincial Coordination Center is the node in Asadabad where this occurs.

"Building relationships between the ANP and the ANA is vital," Brig. Gen. Abdul Jalal, the provincial
police chief, said. "We are building these relationships now."

But, he stressed, more equipment and training are needed.

"Focused District Development -- a program that takes a whole district at one time, trains and equips them, and returns them to duty -- will begin to address such shortfalls," Army Brig. Gen. Robert Livingston, CJTF Phoenix commander, said.

Piecing the security puzzle together will take time, resources and effort.

The Afghan
security forces can fight, Livingston said. "Sustaining the force is their key to success," he added.

Army Maj. John House serves with Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix Public Affairs.)

The September issue of the Hi Tech
Criminal Justice newsletter was instrumental in preparing this article.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Troops Help Southern Baghdad Poultry Industry

By Sgt. Luis Delgadillo, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service

Feb. 25, 2008 - To some, it might be laughable that the economic welfare of an entire community relies on thousands of flightless birds, but in the farming communities of southern Baghdad, chickens represent a significant way ahead. A member of the State Department's Baghdad 7 embedded provincial reconstruction team is helping these communities establish themselves as centers of poultry production.

"Some of these farmers had over 100,000 chickens at one time," said Mike Stevens, the team's agricultural advisor. Stevens, a native of Park Rapids, Minn., said farmers from Adwaniyah, Arab Jabour and Hawr Rajab lost their chickens to al Qaeda operatives who took them when they moved into the area.

In many cases, chicken coops were used to hide weapons caches, and insurgents often used the large spaces inside the coops to make homemade explosives, Stevens said. Local farmers also reported that insurgents would seize farmers' equipment and strip generators for parts.

By starting farmers unions for each of the communities, Stevens learned of the plight befalling the region's chicken farmers.

With help from soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team, Stevens began assessing the various agricultural industries that once thrived in the area. As part of his project, the 15-year State Department veteran also assessed chicken farms in the three tribal areas.

With information he learned about the communities, Stevens set in motion a three-pronged approach to rebuild the region's economic infrastructure.

To boost farm operations, micro-grants of up to $2,500 will be used to rebuild dilapidated chicken coops and other farm buildings. Quick response funds -- grants of up to $25,000 -- will be used to restock vacant local farms. In addition, disarming, demobilizing and reconstruction funds in amounts of up to $100,000 will be used to begin large-scale training and employment programs for people near factories such as the Al Raad slaughterhouse.

Stevens identified a local businessman who owns the poultry processing plant, which can support a work force of up to 200 employees and bring chickens to markets in the capital. Before insurgent activities, the plant owner contracted with many Hawr Rajab farmers to raise chickens for his slaughterhouse. The owner told Stevens he would trade chicken feed and a monthly stipend with farmers who guaranteed him a portion of their chickens for processing.

The plant has the potential to jumpstart the region's chicken industry, but before any profit is earned, both the factory and surrounding farms require funds to get going.

In coming weeks, live chickens will be delivered and farms in the region will begin to rebuild their coops, signaling another step toward progress for the citizens of Iraq.

Army Sgt. Luis Delgadillo serves with the 3rd Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office.)

The August newsletter of Hi Tech
Criminal Justice sponsored this article.

Pakistani Navy Hands Combined Task Force Command to France

American Forces Press Service

Feb. 25, 2008 - Rear Adm. Jean L. Kerignard of the French
navy relieved Pakistani Commodore Khan Hasham Bin Saddique as commander of Combined Task Force 150 during a ceremony aboard Pakistan Naval Ship Tippu Sultan today. The ceremony concluded the Pakistani navy's second successful command of CTF 150, which conducts maritime security operations in the Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, Arabian Sea, Red Sea and Indian Ocean.

Under Hasham's
leadership, CTF 150 coordinated patrols throughout the task force's area of operations to help commercial shipping and fishing operate safely and freely in the region. In addition, CTF 150 coalition ships made 11 successful at-sea rescues and made the largest drug bust in the area of operations since 2005.

"CTF 150 has been active in helping mariners in peril and has saved many lives on various occasions," Hasham said. "Our conscious efforts to build on the coalition have been fruitful."

Navy Vice Adm. Kevin J. Cosgriff, commander of Combined Maritime Forces, praised the effectiveness of CTF 150 as well as the accomplishments of Hasham and his staff.

"The coalition is more cognizant and better prepared for the future because of Hasham's strong
leadership," he said. "We are all in debt for his insight, direction and spirit while he led CTF 150."

Hasham said CTF 150 has come a long way since its inception.

"It is a coherent force that is able to respond effectively to the challenges it faces," he said. "The command is indeed a manifestation of the Pakistan
navy's continued commitment to support coalition efforts to maintain peace and lawful maritime order at sea. We feel proud for having contributed wholeheartedly, and to the best of our abilities, to advance the cause of maritime security in areas that are undoubtedly most important for the economic prosperity and well-being of the world."

Kerignard said he plans to ensure the coalition continues its united vision of promoting stability in the maritime environment.

"We will go forth with making this region a safer place, and we will succeed," he said. "It will take time, passion and perseverance."

Cosgriff said he looks forward to working with Kerignard in the coalition.

"I am confident that under Kerignard's
leadership, coalition operations will be dynamic, persistent and effective," he said.

Cosgriff also highlighted the continuity a change-of-command ceremony exhibits.

"It demonstrates the fact that nations can come together and collaborate to hand over responsibility from one to another," he said. "It's tangible evidence of the sustaining feature in the coalition."

This is the French
navy's fifth time leading CTF 150. "I am very proud to take command," Kerignard said. "CTF 150 is among the strong contributors of this operation."

security operations help set conditions for security, which promotes stability in the maritime environment and complements counter terrorism efforts in regional nations' coastal waters. Coalition forces also conduct operations under international maritime conventions to ensure security and safety in international waters so that commercial shipping and fishing can occur safely in the region.

CTF 150, established toward the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom, is made up of warships from numerous coalition nations, including France, Germany, Pakistan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

(From a Combined Maritime Forces Public Affairs news release.)

Information on
CSI was helpful in the production of this blog entry.

Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Spc. Micheal E. Phillips, 19, of Ardmore, Okla., died Feb. 24 in Baghdad, Iraq, from wounds suffered when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.

For more information media may contact the Fort Campbell public affairs office at (270) 798-9966.

Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Spc. Kevin S. Mowl, 22, of Pittsford, N.Y., died Feb. 25 at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., of wounds suffered in Baghdad, Iraq on Aug. 2, 2007, when the vehicle he was in encountered an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis Wash.

For more information media may contact the Fort Lewis public affairs office at (253) 967-0152, (253) 967-0147 or after hours at (253) 967-0015 and ask for the public affairs officer on call.

U.S. Embassy, Multinational Force Iraq Condemn Attacks on Citizens

American Forces Press Service

Feb. 25, 2008 - The U.S Embassy in Baghdad and Multinational Force Iraq today strongly condemned al Qaeda's attacks on Iraqi citizens making their way to Karbala for a Shiite holy festival yesterday. A suicide bomber struck near Iskandariyah, killing 40 and injuring 60, according to initial reports from local officials. Hours earlier, a suicide-bomb attack in southern Baghdad killed three and wounded 36 others, according to other news sources.

The violence reflects the nature of an enemy who will target even those practicing their religion in an effort to reignite sectarian strife in Iraq, the statement said.

"Yesterday's attacks further demonstrate the importance of national unity and resolve in countering these
terrorists," it added. "We will work closely with the government of Iraq and their security forces to help bring the perpetrators of these attacks to justice."

(From a Multinational Force Iraq news release.)

Conditions to Determine Post-Surge Troop Levels in Iraq, General Says

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 25, 2008 - Officials project five U.S.
Army brigades and two Marine battalions will leave Iraq by the end of July, but it's too soon to project troop levels beyond that, a senior U.S. military officer said here today. "There is increasing pressure on al Qaeda in Iraq everywhere inside of Iraq," Army Lt. Gen. Carter F. Ham, the Joint Staff's director of operations, told reporters during a Pentagon news conference.

If current conditions continue, the projected U.S. troop strength in Iraq should drop from about 156,000 U.S. troops there now to about 140,000 servicemembers by the end of July, Ham said.

However, U.S.
military force levels in Iraq, as always, remain contingent upon conditions on the ground, Ham emphasized. Establishing a firm timetable for additional troop reductions, Ham said, would not "recognize the fluid nature of the conflict in which we're engaged in, both Iraq and in Afghanistan."

About 132,000 U.S. troops were in Iraq before the surge of forces began in January 2007, Ham noted. It would be "premature at this point" to speculate if Iraq troop levels would be reduced further after July, he said.

Though senior civilian and
military U.S. defense leaders "have all been clear that further reductions will occur," Ham said, the timing and the pace of those reductions is the focus of ongoing Iraq troop-strength assessments by Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of Multinational Force Iraq; U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan C. Crocker; Navy Adm. William J. Fallon, commander of U.S. Central Command; and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Crocker and Petraeus are due back in Washington sometime in April to present their assessments on conditions in Iraq and recommendations to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and President Bush. Any further possible troop reductions in Iraq would await their recommendations and resultant decisions made by Gates and the president, Ham said.

The number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan is expected to increase to 32,000 troops by mid-summer from about 28,000 there now, Ham said. Most of the increase, he noted, comes from a deployment of 3,200 additional
Marines to Afghanistan.

Also at the news conference, Ham said Turkish
military operations in northern Iraq against members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party terrorist group, known as the PKK, appear to be of short duration. Ham said the United States and Turkey have regular communications about the operation and that high-level Turkish and Iraqi military officials have met to discuss the issue.

In addition, Ham noted that 1,600 U.S. troops in NATO's Kosovo Force are standing by to provide assistance, if required, in the wake of violence in the northern part of the country following Kosovo's Feb. 17 declaration of independence from Serbia.

Ham also confirmed that the Feb. 21 U.S. missile launch that destroyed a malfunctioning reconnaissance satellite had indeed hit a tank full of toxic hydrazine rocket fuel that was the desired target. The hydrazine, he said, burned up or dissipated in the explosion, and there have been no reports of debris reaching Earth.

An article on
small unit leadership was helpful in the production of this article.

Monday, February 25, 2008

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- February 25, 2008

Bird flu as biological weapon ‘nutty’ idea, says [Robert] Gates
“United States Defense Secretary Robert Gates has denied allegations by Indonesia's Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari that his country is developing biological weapons from bird flu strains found in Indonesia. ‘I think it's the nuttiest idea I've ever heard,’ Gates said Monday after addressing his speech to the Indonesian Council on World Affairs at the Four Seasons Hotel, South Jakarta.” (The Jakarta Post, 25Feb08)

CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] Uses CIBER-Built Solution to Alert Public Health Officials and Public Health Departments
“CIBER, Inc. has successfully designed, built, and implemented a service-oriented architecture (SOA)-based software application called CDC Alerting Service (CDCAS) for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CDCAS reliably, securely, and quickly alerts public health officials and public health organizations of disease outbreaks, bio
terrorism events, and other public health events using a wide range of personal communication devices, such as domestic and international phones, satellite phones, e-mail, text messages, faxes, and pagers. As a result, CDC has an efficient, cost-effective method to ensure that public health officials are alerted to significant situations, regardless of their geographic location or preferred method of communication.” (, 25Feb08, PR Newswire)

Living With Danger, and Wondering How to Live Without It
“The employees pull up to the gate, show their identification cards to the armed
security guards and continue on. They drive past wooded stretches and open fields, past the occasional frolicking deer, and park before buildings of almost requisite ugliness. Shift time. Save for those stockpiles of chemical warfare agent on the grounds, the Newport Chemical Depot [in Indiana] could be any other industrial plant. But here they are, steel containers of viscous fluid the color of straw and as lethal as almost anything on earth.” (New York Times, 25Feb08, Dan Barry)

Underwater blasts put environment at risk: expert
“Canada could be on the brink of an ‘ecological nightmare’ as chemicals and explosives from submerged
military boneyards seep into the water, says a retired U.S. navy bomb disposal expert. Jim Barton, a senior technician with the U.S. navy's explosive ordnance disposal unit between 1975 and 1999, says the clock is ticking to clean up hundreds of thousands of discarded weapons from the floors of Canada's lakes, rivers and ocean areas. […] Some have suggested ties between military dump sites off the East Coast -- where Canada disposed of thousands of chemical […] weapons after the Second World War -- and cancer rates in the Atlantic provinces, although there's no conclusive link.” (, 25Feb08, The Canadian Press)

U.S. and Estonia Cooperate to Prevent Smuggling of Nuclear and Radioactive Material
“The United States and Estonia announced today their agreement to coordinate efforts to prevent nuclear smuggling by installing radiation detection equipment at multiple border crossings in Estonia. The agreement expands on similar U.S.-Estonian cooperation.
The Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has been working with the Estonian Tax and Customs Board over the past several years to maintain previously installed radiation detection equipment. The agreement between NNSA and the Estonian Tax and Customs Board will allow NNSA to install new, improved radiation detection and integrated communications equipment at multiple border crossings, airports and seaports in Estonia, as well as to provide related training on the use of this equipment.” (National Nuclear
Security Administration, 25Feb08)

US installs bomb scanners at port
“The United States government has installed scanning equipment at a Hampshire [U.K.] container port to monitor shipments bound for its shores. The hi-tech equipment at Southampton Port scans lorries and containers for radioactive materials that could form part of a bomb. The data is then sent back to the US as part of its counter-
terrorism measures. Southampton is the UK's first port to trial the American Secure Freight Initiative (SFI) system. It is also being tested at Port Qasim in Pakistan and Puerto Cortez in Honduras.” (BBC News, 25Feb08)

Terrorism News is prepared by the Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Program of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in order to bring timely and focused information to researchers and policymakers interested in the fields of chemical, biological, and radiological weapons nonproliferation and WMD terrorism.

Information on
assessment center exercises was helpful during the production of this blog.

Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Spc. Keisha M. Morgan, 25, of Washington, D.C., died Feb. 22 in Baghdad, Iraq, of a non-combat related cause. She was assigned to the Division Special Troops Battalion, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

The circumstances are under investigation.

For further information media may contact the Fort Hood public affairs office at (254) 287-9993; after hours (254) 291-2591.

Marine Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Lance Cpl. Drew W. Weaver, 20, of St. Charles, Mo., died Feb. 21 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq. He was assigned to 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, Calif.

Media with questions about this Marine can contact the 1st Marine Division public affairs office at (760) 763-5397.

Chairman Calls Connecting With Troops Highlight of Trip

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 25, 2008 - Touching base with soldiers, sailors, airmen and
Marines was the highlight of a six-day trip that concluded yesterday for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen visited Camp Pendleton, Calif., U.S. Pacific Command bases in Hawaii; and the Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations, in Canberra, Australia.

Mullen went through an infantry immersion trainer with
Marines at Pendleton and met with wounded warriors at facilities there and at Tripler Army Medical Center and Schofield Barracks in Hawaii. He also made a special visit to the crew of the USS Lake Erie at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, following that ship's successful Feb. 21 shoot-down of a disabled satellite.

The chairman also held "all-hands" meetings at Pendleton and at Hickam
Air Force Base, Hawaii.

"It's really important to spend time with (the troops) and to understand what is actually going on on the deck plates, and their feedback is always positive," Mullen said during an interview aboard the C-32 aircraft taking him home.

Equipment problems dominated troops' questions to the chairman. Specifically, soldiers and
Marines deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan want M-4 carbines in place of the venerable M-16 rifles. "Nothing is closer to an infantryman than his weapon," an Army staff sergeant at Hickam said. "We believe the M-4 is better all around for the type of close-in fighting we do in Iraq. It's shorter and has better close-combat facility than the M-16. Most of us carry M-16s."

Soldiers and
Marines also spoke of delays in receiving equipment and not being allowed to use equipment they buy on their own, it.

The chairman promised to look into the situation and get back to the men.

"The biggest concern from their perspective is the issue of equipment, and I will get the feedback back to both service chiefs --
Army General George Casey and Marine General James Conway -- and hopefully get back to the Marine and soldier who asked me those questions," Mullen said.

Meeting the troops is a reminder of "how bright and enthusiastic and how good are our young people who are serving today," he said. Mullen's wife, Deborah, accompanied the admiral on the trip. She met with spouses, and through her, the admiral was able to hear concerns they have.

During a lunch with senior enlisted advisors at Pacific Command, Mullen heard concerns about deployments. "The troops are pushed, and the forces are stressed, and we must keep that in mind as we continue to move forward with deployments," he said. "That message comes back loud and clear."

While defense
leaders continue to focus on the strains of the Army's 15-month deployments followed by 12 months at home, "a couple of young Marines I talked to talked about trying to manage their lives on a seven-month deployment schedule," he said. Marines often come back from a deployment, have a month of rest and then immediately start training for the next deployment.

"They are trying to keep their family and personal lives in balance and at the same time work on another deployment," Mullen said. "All of that is part of this cumulative effect of six-plus years at war and this delicate balance we've got between continuing to achieve positive outcomes in Iraq and Afghanistan and the stresses on
military members and their families."

Mullen said he was impressed with his visits to the wounded warrior battalion at Camp Pendleton, the warrior transition unit at Schofield Barracks, and the post-traumatic stress disorder facility at Tripler.

The Tripler program is a joint venture between the
Army and the Veterans Affairs Department. The Army provides the facility, and VA provides the care. "I don't know if it is the model, but certainly it's a great example of some of the things going on out there," Mullen said.

The admiral said he wants to make sure that the
military is not focused exclusively on the disability side of the wounded warrior program. He wants DoD, VA and all other agencies focused on "the ability, the potential the troops possess and putting them and their families in the position that they can be great successes in the future."

Part of the challenge, he said, is that DoD
leaders don't know enough about the VA system.

"I need to know, because I am taking this individual who I care so much about, and we get to the part of the process where we turn them over to VA," Mullen said. "I don't want to just turn them over. I want to be in touch. I want to know that they are going through a very positive experience in the VA system, as well."

The admiral said the process for wounded warriors really should be one system. "It's the United States of America system: it's DoD, the Department of Veterans Affairs, other agencies, and the American people as well," he said.

Whenever he goes to warrior transition units, he hears a constant theme: that it takes too long to get through the system, Mullen said.

"More than anything else, it's a peacetime process," the admiral said. "We've been in a war for over six years now, and we've got too many peacetime processes. Our processes have to become much leaner, much more effective and quicker, and better adapted to the necessities of this war."

Assessment Centers provided material support for the production of this entry.

Coalition Kills One, Detains 11 in Iraq Operations

American Forces Press Service

Feb. 25, 2008 - Coalition forces killed one
terrorist and detained 11 suspects during operations to disrupt al Qaeda operations in central and northern Iraq today and yesterday.
During operations in Iraq today:

-- Coalition forces conducted an operation east of Khan Bani Sad targeting an alleged improvised-explosive-device and suicide-bombing facilitator. During the operation, coalition forces were fired upon and returned fire, killing one
terrorist. They also detained two suspected terrorists and destroyed a vehicle found in the area that contained explosive materials.

-- Coalition forces detained two suspected terrorists, including an alleged al Qaeda associate involved in media and propaganda operations. The individual reportedly is associated with suspects detained Feb. 8, including two alleged senior
leaders involved in the Baghdad and Mosul al Qaeda media networks.

-- In Anbar province, six suspected
terrorists were detained west of Samarra during an operation targeting associates of a senior leader involved in al Qaeda media and propaganda operations.

In other operations around Iraq yesterday:

-- Coalition forces captured an alleged
leader of an insurgent group associated with al Qaeda who has worked with that network's senior leadership.

-- South of Baghdad, coalition forces captured a suspected Iranian-backed "special groups" finance facilitator and detained six other suspected
criminal in the Suwayrah area. The targeted individual reportedly is a finance leader for Iranian-affiliated special groups in Iraq's southern provinces, including Najaf, Karbala, Babil, Wasit and Qadisiyah. He was allegedly a mortar and rocket specialist who had trained in Iran. During the operation, coalition forces also discovered large amounts of U.S. currency.

-- Coalition forces captured four suspected al Qaeda leaders accused of involvement in numerous
terrorist attacks in the Baghdad area yesterday, including car- and suicide-bomb attacks.

In Feb. 22 operations, Iraqi forces in coordination with U.S. soldiers from Troop B, 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, discovered five weapons caches in the Busayefi area. The caches consisted of homemade bombs, homemade liquid explosives, 80 mm mortar rounds, 60 mm mortar rounds, rocket-propelled grenades, an AK-47 assault rifle, 7.62 mm ammunition, and anti-American propaganda. An explosives disposal team destroyed the caches in a controlled detonation.

Also Feb. 22, paratroopers with Company C, 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Multinational Division Baghdad, detained a suspected special groups facilitator during an operation in Baghdad's Shaab neighborhood.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)

The Hi Tech
Criminal Justice Newsletter assisted in the preparation of this entry.

Nature of Conflict in Afghanistan Changing, Gates Says

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 24, 2008 - The Taliban in Afghanistan will resort to more terror killings because they have been unsuccessful against NATO and U.S. troops in direct combat, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said here today. "What we are likely to see is more use of terror -- killings of school teachers, local officials, things like that, the use of (improvised explosive devices) to try to sap the will of coalition partners as well as the Afghans and to bring discredit to the Afghan government because of its seemly inability to bring security to the rural areas," Gates said at a roundtable discussion with U.S. and Australian reporters.

This has led to a change in the nature of the conflict in that region, he said. Gates said the Taliban is resorting to more insurgency-type tactics. "The Taliban has seen over the last year and a half or so that they cannot defeat the NATO or our forces in regular kinds of conflict where they bring scores or hundreds of people to battle. They lose all the time when they do that," Gates said.

Gates lauded
military successes in the region over the past few years, but said that gains could be compromised if troop strength isn't sufficient to hold the gains. The Taliban occupy no territory in Afghanistan at this point nor have they won any military engagements.

"The problem is that, while we were able to clear the Taliban in certain areas when we had an operation, we don't have enough force to be able hold some of those areas. It's the same kind of problem we encountered in Iraq," Gates said. "The way to deal with this long term clearly is (developing) the Afghan National
Army and the Afghan National Police. So it has to be a partnership between ourselves and the Afghans, with more and more of the effort gradually shifting to the Afghans."

Gates said troops on the ground there will continue to adjust their tactics, as well as continue training the Afghan National
Army and Police. He also emphasized better coordination of economic development and reconstruction in the region, as well as helping develop local governance. Where local governance is strong, development is more successful, Gates said.

The secretary also told reporters that the return of the Taliban to the region could have devastating effects on Europe. "A return of the Taliban to power in Afghanistan poses a direct threat to Europeans. I think the European governments understand this. I think we all just need to do a better job of helping the broader public understand that," Gates said.

In a speech in Munich earlier this month, Gates drew a connection between
terrorist attacks over the past few years in Europe, as well as those that were thwarted, and al Qaeda training in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area, its supply of money, and expertise.

"These attacks are coming out of that region and are focused very much on European targets," Gates said.

He said the United States and NATO have no inclinations of leaving Afghanistan and allowing the return of the Taliban, and added that allies need to reexamine their commitments to the region. "I think that the efforts to call attention to the need to meet the needs of the NATO commander as pledged ... by the NATO heads of government ... will have some effect," Gates said.

Some countries are considering increasing their commitments. Some are extending their commitments, and others still are examining how to help in noncombat-related ways.

"It requires staying power on our part. It requires continued success in training the Afghan National
Army and Afghan National Police," Gates said. "I think the only way that the Taliban might return to power is, frankly, if everyone just turned their backs on Afghanistan and walked out. I don't think anybody's going to do that."

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Turkey Ops in Iraq No Threat to Stability, Gates Says

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 24, 2008 - The recent push of Turkish tanks and troops across the border into northern Iraqi Kurdistan does not pose a threat to
security gains in Iraq, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said here today at a roundtable with members of U.S and Australian media. Turkish military forces crossed into northern Iraq Feb. 21 to prevent Kurdish PKK fighters from launching attacks into Turkey. The PKK is a militant Kurdish nationalist group that operates in northern Iraq and Turkey. U.S. officials classify the group as a terrorist organization.

Gates said the Turkish operations need to be as short and precise as possible.

"I would hope that it would be short, that it would be precise and avoid the loss of innocent life, and that they leave as quickly as they can accomplish their mission," Gates said.

An open dialogue is necessary between the countries involved during the operations, Gates emphasized.

"The first thing that's important is regular dialogue and openness between the Turkish government and the Iraqi government and, I would say, also the government of Kurdistan, in terms of their intentions, their concerns, their plans and their activities and to work with the Iraqi government in trying to deal with this problem," Gates said.

Gates also pointed out that
military operations alone will not resolve Turkey's problem with terrorist attacks by the PKK, which has killed both Turkish soldiers and civilians in its cross-border attacks.

"I think that all of our experience in Iraq and Afghanistan shows us that, while dealing with a
terrorist problem does require security operations, it also requires economic and political initiatives," Gates said. "One of the messages that has been a consistent one from the American government at all levels to the Turkish government is that the kinds of military activities that they have been engaged in should be complemented with initiatives to try and address some of the concerns of those who are reconcilable among the Kurds, to win their loyalty to Turkey if they are living in Turkey and to try and eliminate whatever popular base that exists that supports the terrorist activities of the PKK."

Gates said that economic and political measures are important because, after a certain point,
terrorists become inured to military attacks and, at a certain point, military efforts become less and less effective.

The secretary gave the Kurdish government credit for recent initiatives and "considerable progress" in trying to curb PKK activities, but said it is a difficult area and the problem is not resolved.

"This is a difficult, long-term problem, and ... it needs to be addressed in a comprehensive way. Just using the
military techniques are not going to be sufficient to solve the problem for the Turks," Gates said. "I think Turkish concern will only be allayed when there is a significant diminution in PKK activity in Turkey."

Gates said there is considerable pressure on the Turkish government to deal with the PKK because of deaths the groups' attacks have caused. He added that this is not a problem the Turkish government will be able to resolve by itself.

"Everybody has to participate in this together -- it's the Turks; it's us; it's the Turkish regional government; it's the Iraqi government," he said. "The key thing is close communication and coordination in working these things and a respect for Iraqis' sovereignty, which includes keeping the Iraqis informed and in a dialogue.

Turkey remains a key country in the NATO alliance, and strengthening the United States' ties there would be helpful in the Middle East and Central Asia, Gates said. "I think there are a lot of opportunities for further cooperation with Turkey," he said.

Gates will travel to Turkey this week as part of his nine-day overseas trip, which includes Indonesia and India. The stop was planned prior to any indication of
military operations there, he said.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Contract Instructors Wanted

International Tactical Officers Training Association (ITOTA)

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Troops in Iraq Kill Four, Capture Dozens, Seize Weapons

American Forces Press Service

Feb. 24, 2008 - Coalition and Iraqi forces killed four suspected
terrorists, detained 56 others and destroyed weapons in Iraq over the past three days, military officials said.
During operations in Iraq today:

-- Coalition forces nabbed nine suspected
terrorists during operations in Tikrit and east of Hamim al Alil targeting suspects involved in foreign-terrorist smuggling for the al Qadea in Iraq network in Mosul.

-- Troops detained four wanted suspects in an area in Mosul believed to be a safe haven for foreign
terrorists involved in recent attacks on Iraqi and coalition forces. The location also reportedly is connected to a suspect detained Feb. 19 for his association with a senior-level terrorist smuggler in the city, military officials said.

-- Coalition troops captured an alleged al Qaeda in Iraq member involved in planning suicide attacks in Baghdad. The suspect reportedly had arranged to receive a suicide vest in order to attack a group of concerned-local-citizen recruits. Ground forces detained an additional terrorist suspect in the operation.

-- Troops nabbed one suspected terrorist east of Khan Bani Sad at an alleged al Qaeda in Iraq meeting location associated with the suicide network in the Diyala River Valley. Nearby, coalition forces directed a fixed-wing airstrike on a house assessed to be rigged with explosives,
military officials said.

-- Coalition forces south of Samarra captured an alleged associate of an al Qaeda in Iraq network operating in Anbar province. Reports indicate the suspect is connected to a terrorist
leader associated with links to senior terrorists operating both inside and outside Iraq and who is involved in al Qaeda media and propaganda operations.

In operations around Iraq yesterday:

-- Coalition troops killed a suspected terrorist east of Samarra in Karwi who was later identified as an al Qaeda in Iraq associate of the Baqouba suicide-bombing network,
military officials said. Coalition aircraft killed two additional suspected terrorists, and ground forces detained seven others and seized bomb-making materials in the operation.

-- Troops killed a wanted
terrorist and captured another during an afternoon raid in Baghdad. Both wanted individuals were reportedly close associates of the senior al Qaeda in Iraq leader of networks operating in the Iraqi capital, military officials said. In a separate raid in Baghdad, coalition forces detained two alleged car-bomb-network operatives.

-- Coalition forces seized five suspected
terrorists in Mosul during an operation targeting an associate of a senior-level foreign-terrorist smuggler and al Qaeda in Iraq leader in the region, military officials said.

-- Troops northwest of Tarmiyah nabbed a wanted individual believed to be involved in the Karkh al Qaeda in Iraq network and detained two additional suspects. Reports indicate the prime target had been inactive for several months but recently resumed a role in rebuilding the network following a series of recent coalition operations that degraded the cell.

-- Coalition forces detained two suspects in Tikrit, including an alleged al Qaeda in Iraq associate involved in weapons smuggling. The suspect allegedly transferred weapons recently from Beiji to Tikrit. Reports also indicate the suspect is connected to foreign terrorist safe houses and a large weapons cache found in a previous operation in the area.

-- Coalition troops detained four suspected
terrorists northeast of Samarra near the Hamrin mountains during a multiday operation that took place yesterday and Feb. 22.

In other Feb. 22 operations:

-- Troops west of Samarra captured an alleged al Qaeda in Iraq cell
leader involved in the Jazirah network. The suspect allegedly commands a group of 10 to 15 terrorists who conduct attacks in the area. Ground forces detained six others in the operation.
-- Troops in Mosul captured an alleged associate of foreign al Qaeda in Iraq
leaders believed to be responsible for recent attacks against coalition and Iraqi security forces in the area. Ground forces nabbed two additional suspects in the raid and discovered a weapons cache containing 20 mortar rounds, military officials said.

-- Coalition forces detained three suspected terrorists on the west side of Mosul, including an alleged associate of numerous foreign al Qaeda in Iraq
leaders in Samarra. Reports indicate the suspect moved to Mosul from Samarra after coalition and Iraqi forces operations disrupted Samarra's al Qaeda in Iraq leadership, military officials said.

-- Coalition forces captured a suspected Iranian-trained "special groups" militia operative and detained one other suspect during operations to disrupt
criminal networks in Baghdad. As an intelligence operative, the targeted individual reportedly aided special groups attacks on Iraqi and coalition forces, military officials said.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq new releases.)

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Forces Kill Insurgents, Destroy Enemy Infrastructure, Weapons in Afghanistan

American Forces Press Service

Feb. 24, 2008 - Afghan and coalition forces have killed enemy combatants and destroyed insurgents' infrastructure and weapons in Afghanistan in recent days,
military officials said. Coalition troops searched compounds in the Kajaki district of Helmand province yesterday for a Taliban leader responsible for conducting antigovernment operations in the area, military officials said.

During the two operations, coalition forces were attacked by insurgents using small arms and hand grenades. Troops retaliated, killing an unspecified number of enemy combatants.

"While coalition forces conducted a search of the building during one operation, armed assailants who were barricaded in separate rooms engaged coalition forces with small-arms fire and hand grenades," said
Army Maj. Chris Belcher, a coalition forces spokesman.

"The assailants were killed when coalition forces responded in self-defense," Belcher said. "A search of the site after the exchange revealed a dead female and child in one of the rooms the assailants used to engage coalition forces."

The spokesman expressed condolences to the family and friends of the slain woman and child. "It is a deplorable, yet common, tactic of insurgents to place innocent women and children in harm's way," he added.

In the pair of operations, troops detained two individuals suspected to have ties to Taliban insurgents, and seized AK 47 assault rifles and ammunition. The suspects are being held for questioning, officials said.

Earlier in Helmand province, Afghan and coalition forces conducted operations Feb. 20-22 in the Karez deh Baba and Kajaki districts which lay along a supply line used by insurgents to smuggle weapons and drugs.
Military officials said enemy combatants also were using the areas to launch attacks on surrounding cities.

In the first two days of the operation, Afghan national
security forces raided target areas to disrupt the insurgents' ability to engage friendly forces with small-arms, rocket and indirect fire from prepared fighting positions. At the same time, friendly forces used precise air strikes on enemy targets.

"Throughout the day, insurgents kept trying to fight the (Afghan national
security forces). The result was always the same," said Army Capt. Vanessa R. Bowman. "(The insurgents were) defeated."

Meanwhile, Afghan forces spoke with local citizens to ensure they understood that the mission's purpose was to restore
security and improve local infrastructure. "We have been impressed by the efforts in Musa Qaleh and want the same for our village," a local Afghan was quoted as saying.

Other villagers echoed this sentiment, saying they welcome the security and stability that leaders of the national
security forces and government can provide. Villagers also provided crucial information about insurgent practices and the locations of insurgent safe houses, military officials said.

On Feb. 21, Afghan-led forces deployed in smaller units when they observed insurgents moving into fighting positions to engage them. Afghan forces rooted out the insurgents and cleared the position, finding an improvised explosive device and a small-arms cache.

The enemy reinforced different fighting positions and engaged with indirect fire when the Afghan-led force renewed their assault. Troops found another small-arms and ammunition cache, and coalition forces found roughly 400 pounds of ammonium nitrate. All of the seized materials were later destroyed.

"This was an enormous find because this substance is a common explosive additive that could be used in IEDs," Bowman said. "The (Afghan national
security forces) prevented future attacks and saved innocent civilians with this discovery."

In the course of operations, the Afghan-led force discovered the insurgents' command center and a 100-foot deep interconnected tunnel system. The command center contained a series of caves, and the tunnel was littered with spare ammunition and shell casings,
military officials said. Afghan troops suppressed enemy forces in the immediate area before destroying the cave and tunnel system with precision-guided munitions.

"In the last three days, the government of (the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan) and (Afghan national
security forces) saved numerous lives by capturing bomb-making materials," Bowman said. "(Afghan-led) forces have maintained pressure on the Taliban to prevent them from accomplishing their goals of terrorizing and intimidating the Afghan populace."

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Afghanistan Initiative Seeks District-by-District Police Reform

American Forces Press Service

Feb. 22, 2008 - On the outside, they look like any other
police officer in Afghanistan, but if U.S. Army Col. James Klingaman is right, this group of 143 newly trained Afghan National Police might prove to be the best in Afghanistan. Klingaman, commander of Afghanistan Regional Security Integration Command West, addressed the new police officers at their graduation Feb. 21. This was the first Afghan National Police class for the Afghan government's focused district development initiative to be trained in Herat.

The initiative is a reform by the Afghan Interior Ministry designed to improve
policing in Afghanistan district by district. It was developed by Combined Security Transition Command Afghanistan officials to address issues of inadequate police training, poor equipment and corruption, which made it difficult for the police to provide public safety and internal security.

police officers from the Bala-Beluk district in western Afghanistan have just graduated from Phase 3, in which their entire district was reorganized, re-equipped and retrained during an eight-week course. Civilian police instructors teach the initiative's courses at eight regional police training centers throughout the country.

Phase 4 will involve re-inserting the new
police officers back into their districts, which should take about a week and will be the initiative's true test, said Army Col. Peter W. Foreman, deputy to the commanding general for police development for Combined Security Transition Command Afghanistan.

"The real test will be this next week, when the police go back to their districts and we see how the people perceive them," Foreman said.

police officers won't go back to Bala-Beluk alone. A mentoring team of U.S. soldiers will be there to help them use their newly taught policing skills. The senior enlisted mentor for that team is Army Master Sgt. John Welgos, who reminded the graduating class of their responsibility to protect the public.

"The eyes of the people will watch you closely," he said. "Stay on the path of good."

(From a Combined Security Transition Command Afghanistan news release.)

Coalition Forces Kill Six Terrorists, Detain Six Suspects

American Forces Press Service

Feb. 22, 2008 - Coalition forces killed six
terrorists and detained six suspected terrorists yesterday and today during operations to disrupt al Qaeda operating in central and northern Iraq, military officials reported. During an operation east of Khan Bani Sad today, coalition forces targeted an alleged al Qaeda in Iraq associate involved in the suicide-bombing and improvised-explosive-device network that runs from Baqouba to Baghdad and north to Mosul. Reports indicate the suspect is associated with Abu Karrar, the al Qaeda leader also involved in the suicide-bombing network, who was killed during a coalition forces operation Feb. 17.

As the ground force arrived in the area, the troops were engaged by enemy fire from what appeared to be an underground bunker. A fixed-wing aircraft was called to engage the threat, killing three
terrorists. A supporting helicopter engaged two more enemy personnel outside the building, killing both. As the ground force continued to clear the area, troops called for occupants of one of the target buildings to come out. One individual refused to comply and moved toward two weapons in the building. Coalition forces engaged and killed the terrorist. The ground force also detained two suspected terrorists and destroyed a vehicle that contained a weapons cache.

Also today, coalition forces detained one suspected terrorist during an operation in Baghdad while targeting associates of an al Qaeda in Iraq network involved in facilitating materials, vehicles and suicide bombers to
terrorist groups throughout Baghdad.

During an operation in Mosul yesterday, coalition forces detained three suspected terrorists while targeting an alleged associate of a senior-level foreign-terrorist facilitator responsible for attacks against Iraqi and coalition forces in the region.

"Iraqi and coalition forces continue to disrupt al Qaeda in Iraq's networks across the country," said
Army Maj. Winfield Danielson, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. "The indiscriminate violence wreaked by al Qaeda's suicide bombers and explosive attacks only strengthens our resolve to find the terrorists and bring them to justice."

Eight Iraqi civilians and one Iraqi
army soldier were wounded yesterday in Arab Jabour during an attack by al Qaeda in Iraq operatives. All nine of the wounded, including four women and three children, were evacuated to a nearby joint combat outpost and then by helicopter to Logistics Support Area Anaconda near Balad for treatment.

Initial reports indicate the al Qaeda operatives seized a home in the village, took the residents hostage and destroyed the home with an explosive device. Al Qaeda then engaged local citizens and Iraqi army soldiers with small-arms fire as they attempted to help the residents of the home.

The Iraqi
army had recently cleared al Qaeda in Iraq from Arab Jabour and established a "Sons of Iraq" citizen security group there to maintain security, said Army Maj. Mike Garcia, a spokesman for the 2nd Infantry Division's 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team. "Al Qaeda's hold on the population continues to grow weaker every day," he said. "And this is the latest example of their desperate and brutal efforts to seek retribution against Iraqis who attempt to keep (al Qaeda in Iraq) out of their towns and villages."

In other Iraq news, Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers detained the commander of an Iranian-trained and -funded "special group" during an operation in Baghdad's Shaab neighborhood Feb. 20. The detainee is suspected of involvement in multiple murders and other
criminal activities.

Paratroopers with 82nd Airborne Division's 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, detained the suspect after a tip on his whereabouts. The suspect is a known special groups leader and financier believed to receive funding from Iran that was earmarked to support the Diyala
criminal network, said Army Maj. Cameron Weathers, the 2nd BCT intelligence officer. The money typically is used to pay and equip special groups criminals, procure vehicles and support criminal activities against innocent Iraqis.

In Iraq operations Feb. 19:

-- Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers captured a suspected special groups
criminal cell leader in the Rashid district of the Iraqi capital. Soldiers from 2nd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, attached to Task Force Dragon, noticed a man fitting the description of a suspected cell leader during a routine patrol of Abu Tshir and detained him without incident. Officials believe the alleged cell leader had taken over day-to-day direction of the criminal cell after its previous leader was arrested by coalition forces in the same area.

-- Iraqi
army and Multinational Division Center soldiers discovered a significant weapons cache north of Lutifiyah. Members of 1st Battalion, 4th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, and 4th Platoon, Battery B, 3rd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, found a mass of weapons and homemade explosives after a local citizen provided the tip and led the soldiers to the site. The cache contained various improvised explosive device-making materials, multiple explosive rounds, firearms and documentation.

-- Acting on information provided by a Sons of Iraq group, soldiers assigned to Troop C, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, confiscated a weapons cache in a small village southeast of Baghdad on Feb. 19. The cache contained 21 122 mm Russian projectiles and three 130 mm Russian projectiles. The munitions were buried about 3 feet deep in a suspect's backyard. The suspect was detained and taken to Combat Outpost Cashe for questioning.

(From Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)

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Commander in Iraq Expresses Optimism About Security Gains

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 22, 2008 -
Security contributions provided by surge-fortified U.S. forces and ongoing efforts by Iraqi soldiers, police and concerned local citizens' groups have combined to produce stability, a senior U.S. officer posted in Iraq said today. "The current security situation is stable, and I am optimistic about the future," said Army Col. Tom James, commander of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, a component of the Fort Stewart, Ga.-based 3rd Infantry Division. The Iraq veteran and his unit deployed to Iraq in December.

A component of Multinational Division Center, James' 3,000-member brigade is based at Forward Operating Base Kalsu, located near the town of Iskandariyah, about 25 miles south of Baghdad. Also known as Task Force Marne, James' brigade also is responsible for security operations in Najaf, Karbala and Hillah.

The 4th BCT's area of responsibility is about the size of Switzerland and contains more than 620,000 Iraqi inhabitants. James' area encompasses north Babil province and stretches from the Euphrates River Valley in the west to the Tigris River Valley in the east.

The U.S. soldiers work with Iraqi forces "to secure the population, interdict accelerants moving towards Baghdad, defeat extremists and neutralize resistance groups, primarily focused on defeating sectarian violence, and build capacity of the Iraqi
security forces, government institutions and economic programs," James explained.

James' unit also is working to transfer
security and local development tasks to Iraqi forces and local governments, he said.

Violence is down across his area of responsibility, James said. "Sunni extremists are severely disrupted; they no longer find sanctuary and support from the (Iraqi) population," he noted.

James attributed the improved
security situation to the effects of the surge, improved Iraqi security force capabilities, and the contributions of the Sons of Iraq and other concerned local citizens' groups.

"The five-brigade surge gave coalition forces the resources required to concentrate combat power in extremist-dominated areas, that allowed us to occupy key terrain in these areas to avoid enemy re-occupation," James explained. Today, U.S. forces and Iraqi soldiers and
police work together to expand upon those security gains and to keep the peace, he added.

The perceptible increase in security has boosted Iraqis' confidence in the future, the colonel added, noting Iraqi citizens are providing more and more information about extremist operations.

"When the people know that coalition and Iraqi
security forces are living with them, they feel more comfortable providing information on extremist activity and they feel more secure in their neighborhoods and homes," James noted.

In addition, the performance of Iraqi soldiers and
police "has improved significantly," James said. "The difference between their capacity during my last deployment and now is truly amazing."

Also, Iraqi citizens are tired of being terrorized by extremists and have stepped up to secure their neighborhoods, James pointed out.

"The Sons of Iraq program employs local Iraqis to secure their neighborhoods under the supervision of local tribal
leaders and overwatch by Iraqi security forces," James explained. "We use these static security positions to thicken our security lines in areas where we cannot fully commit coalition or Iraqi security forces."

Almost 8,000 Sons of Iraq members, including Shiites and Sunnis man 552
security checkpoints within James' area, the colonel said.

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U.S. Urges 'Swift Conclusion' to Turkish Operations in Iraq

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 22, 2008 - The United States has urged Turkey to bring to a "swift conclusion" any ongoing
military operations in Iraq, a Pentagon spokesman said today. Bryan Whitman told reporters the United States also urged Turkey "to limit their operations to precise targeting of the PKK." Whitman said the U.S. maintains its position that the PKK, a militant Kurdish nationalist group that operates in northern Iraq and Turkey, is a terrorist organization and an enemy of Turkey.

Whitman declined to comment on whether the United States provided intelligence ahead of a Turkish incursion into northern Iraq reported today, but spoke generally of the strategic U.S.-Turkey relationship.

"Turkey is a NATO ally. We have a long-standing, intelligence-sharing relationship with Turkey," he said. "It was intensified recently with respect to the PKK
terrorist group."

Whitman said the U.S. respects Turkey's need to protect its population and urges that Turkish officials work directly with Iraqis in dealing with the PKK, which he called "a common enemy." Further, he said, the United States encourages "a long-term agreement that will enhance the stability and
security of that border region."

"We believe the long-term solution is one of diplomacy, and not a
military solution," he added.

General information was used to produce this entry.

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- February 22, 2008

Biolab officials face skeptics
“Four officials of the Department of
Homeland Security and the U.S.Department of Agriculture faced a demonstrative crowd of about 250 people Thursday night, many of whom waved signs protesting the proposed National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility. The officials had come to Creedmoor [North Carolina] to answer local questions about the facility, intended to study and develop countermeasures for foreign diseases such as hoof-and-mouth or swine fever that could enter the U.S. and infect agricultural animals.”
(The News & Observer, 22Feb08, Jim Wise)

Texas A&M to pay $1 million fine to end ban on biodefense research
“Texas A&M University will pay a $1 million fine to resume biodefense research on campus – the long-awaited federal penalty for failing to report illnesses and infection in its labs last year. In a conference call Wednesday, top university officials said the payment, which is 100 times larger than the fine A&M originally proposed, should put an end to nine months of uncertainty around the research program. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suspended biodefense research at A&M in June.”
(Dallas Morning News, 21Feb08, Emily Ramshaw)

[Washington] State preparing for the worst as 2010 Winter Olympics approach
“With the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, B.C., just around the corner, Washington state is using its partnership with British Columbia to prepare for bio
terrorist attacks and other public-health emergencies. That cross-country partnership, which has already led to sharing of information on severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, and a salmonella pet-food problem, was noted in a new federal report on health-emergency preparedness. [….] State Secretary of Health Mary Selecky said Washington and Canadian labs and epidemiologists are in constant contact.” (The Seattle Times; 21Feb08; Rachel La Corte, AP)

Amtrak contracts for explosives detection
New Jersey-based Smiths Detection has been contracted by Amtrak for the recently announced planned upgrade of passenger screening procedures. Under the contract Smiths Detection will supply Amtrak the company's Sabre 4000 detection systems for the quick detection of explosives, narcotics, chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals among other threats.” (UPI, 21Feb08)

Federal Funding Helps Prepare Students For BRAC [Base Realignment and Closure]
Maryland will need space for new students under the military's Base Realignment and Closure [BRAC] program, but there's also a need for more specialized educational programs. Sen[ator] Barbara Mikulski announced Wednesday that schools will get more than $300,000 in federal dollars to develop programs to help prepare for BRAC. At Aberdeen High School's Science and Mathematics Academy, students work alongside mentors from the Department of Defense at Aberdeen Proving Ground […] Some of Aberdeen's 12th graders shared with Mikulski parts of their projects that were made possible with the federal dollars secured by the senator. ‘What I'm looking at is the decontamination of chemical warfare against warfare agents,’ said student Jacob Burlin. ‘We are studying levels of ketamines and how it affects the heart when you are exposed to a nerve agent,’ said student Ashley Larsen.” (WBAL TV, 20Feb08)

Salt Plains [
Oklahoma] digging area remains closed to the public
“The crystal site at Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge will not open for its usual digging period until more than 400 sites within the area can be searched for chemicals, officials said. Last April, about 134 vials of blistering solutions used in
military chemical warfare training kits were unearthed about a mile from the public entrance to the crystal digging site after a Bartlesville Boy Scout found a vial on April 21. The crystal digging area has been closed to the public since.” (Enid News, 20Feb08, Cass Rains)

Court upholds dismissal of ‘agent orange’ suit
“A federal appeals
court on Friday upheld a lower court ruling dismissing a civil lawsuit against major U.S. chemical companies brought by Vietnamese plaintiffs over the use of dioxin, or ‘agent orange,’ during the Vietnam War. The decision was handed down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York involving a suit brought against Dow Chemical Co, Monsanto Co and nearly 30 other companies that had earlier been dismissed by a U.S. district court.” (Reuters, 22Feb08, Martha

Canadian firm cited as potential source for
dirty bomb material
“Canada's leading nuclear medicine company has been identified by a U.S. scientific panel as a major source of potential ‘
dirty bomb’ materials at American hospitals and research labs, prompting a call to end the use of devices requiring radioactive cesium-137 as soon as possible. The U.S. National Research Council, commissioned by Congress to assess the terrorism risks posed by radioactive substances used for medical and scientific purposes, released a report Wednesday in Washington that highlighted blood irradiators and other machines - hundreds of them supplied to U.S. institutions by Ottawa-based MDS Nordion - as vulnerable to terrorists.” (; 21Feb08; Randy Boswell, Canwest News Service)

Terrorism News is prepared by the Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Program of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in order to bring timely and focused information to researchers and policymakers interested in the fields of chemical, biological, and radiological weapons nonproliferation and WMD terrorism.

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