February 25, 2008

A Terrible Idea

Aviation Week & Space Technology (sorry, Kip can't link to this one) reported today that Ike Skelton is seeking to get the US a three-star command in Afghanistan.

The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee wants Defense Secretary Robert Gates to expand the scope of the U.S. military headquarters in Afghanistan. Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) is urging Gates to bump up the headquarters’ status to a three-star command—headed by a lieutenant general or vice admiral. Based in Kabul, the upgraded command would improve coordination between U.S. forces and NATO’s International Security Assistance Force on military, political and economic assistance, Skelton says. “The situation in Afghanistan,” he writes in a letter to Gates “is not purely or even primarily a military problem.” Currently, the U.S. headquarters, a 90-min. drive outside Kabul, rates a two-star commander and is focused only on one region of the country—Regional Command East—according to Skelton.

This is a terrible idea. CSTC-A, the command already in Kabul has a two-star general (and 10 percent of its officers are in the rank of colonel or general) as does the US command at Bagram. The campaign doesn't need more chiefs, it needs more Indians. A three-star would just add to the already glaring problems of unity of effort while not assisting with providing more boots on the ground.