The Pentagon’s senior military leaders are worried that the security situation in Afghanistan is stalemated or deteriorating, and now are preparing a far-reaching plan that would prepare the U.S. military for a war that could last three to five more years, officials said.
The effort, which is being coordinated by the Joint Staff and is still in its early stages, is designed to create an experienced cadre of officers and senior enlisted soldiers, who would rotate between assignments in Afghanistan and at their home stations until the end of hostilities.
By doing so, the Pentagon hopes to end a problem that has plagued the effort in Afghanistan—the lack of familiarity with local conditions by U.S. forces who rotate in and then depart after a year, just when they are beginning to understand the area or the mission where they are assigned.
“These would be small groups who would deploy together for shorter periods, going back and forth to the same place and the same mission again and again, so they would know the culture and the terrain,” said a senior Pentagon official briefed on the plan, who said the teams could be asked to conduct training or other specialized counterinsurgency missions.
And hey, who said Rangers aren't smart?
The architect of the new approach is General Stan McCrystal, who commanded the Special Forces effort in Iraq and now is the head of the Joint Staff, officials said.