Defense

August 27, 2012

Stavridis expects busy autumn for NATO, Eucom

by Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Emphasizing that the mission in Afghanistan remains “job one,” NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe said a busy autumn season lies ahead as the transition there continues.

Even so, Navy Adm. James G. Stavridis, who also commands U.S. European Command, recognized Syria and the Levant in his command blog last week as “the wild card” that requires the alliance to stay vigilant.

“The civil war in Syria continues to burn, with over 20,000 dead and perhaps a million pushed out of their homes,” he wrote. “Lebanon is increasingly affected. Israel is deeply concerned, even as they continue to watch Iran. The Eastern Med[iterranean] is full of warships from lots of different nations.

“With struggling diplomatic efforts for Syria, there are increasing calls for military and human intervention,” Stavridis continued. “From both a NATO and a Eucom perspective, we need to stay ready for anything.”

Meanwhile, despite recent setbacks in Afghanistan – a deadly Black Hawk helicopter crash and an uptick in Afghan security force attacks on coalition troops – Stavridis reported continued progress there, particularly in the security sector.

“We are transitioning to Afghan-led security in 75 percent of the country, and our plan to turn over complete control by the end of 2014 remains on track,” he said. Afghans now lead more than 50 percent of the security operations and partner with U.S. and other coalition forces in 90 percent of them, he noted.

As Afghans step to the lead, coalition casualties have dropped about 25 percent compared to last year, Stavridis reported. Afghan security forces now number about 350,000, and are taking casualties at about five times the rate of coalition soldiers, he said.

The admiral expressed concern about the rising number of attacks by Afghan security forces on coalition forces. These tragic incidents, while statistically small in light of the regular, close interactions between coalition and Afghan forces, “can have a negative impact on morale and perception out of proportion to their military impact,” he said.

“We’re reviewing all our procedures carefully, vetting incoming Afghan security forces even more precisely, developing procedures to protect our troops and using biometrics thoroughly,” Stavridis said.

With the approach of fall, he told his commands to expect a busy time with the focus to remain on transitioning to Afghan-led security. That, he said, will include continued training for Afghan security teams and the building of combat capability in the east while consolidating gains made in the south.

“The key in the security sector will be maintaining mentoring, training and funding for the Afghans through the transition,” he said.

A related emphasis, Stavridis said, will be on the continued drawdown of coalition combat forces – to drop soon to 68,000, from a high of more than 100,000 – and on redeploying their equipment.

Looking ahead, “There will be good days and bad,” Stavridis cautioned. He emphasized, however, “the overall trend is positive, and we’re on track to success.”

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines April 18, 2014

Business: Lockheed to Lose 17 F-35s Under Automatic Pentagon Cuts - Pentagon will cut 17 of the 343 F-35 fighters it planned to buy from Lockheed Martin in fiscal 2016 through 2019 unless Congress repeals automatic budget cuts, according to a new Defense Department report. DOD looking for ways not to break MH-60R helo deal - The...
 
 

News Briefs April 18, 2013

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,177 As of April 15, 2014, at least 2,177 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. At least 1,802 military service members have died in Afghanistan as a result...
 
 
LM-F35-hours

F-35 fleet surpasses 15,000 flying hours

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fleet recently surpassed 15,000 flight hours, marking a major milestone for the program.  “Flying 15,000 hours itself demonstrates that the program is maturing, but what I think is e...
 

 
nasa-cassini

NASA Cassini images may reveal birth of new Saturn moon

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has documented the formation of a small icy object within the rings of Saturn that may be a new moon, and may also provide clues to the formation of the planet’s known moons. Images taken w...
 
 

NASA completes LADEE mission with planned impact on Moon’s surface

Ground controllers at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., have confirmed that NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer spacecraft impacted the surface of the moon, as planned, between 9:30 and 10:22 p.m., PDT, April 17. LADEE lacked fuel to maintain a long-term lunar orbit or continue science operations and was intentionally sent...
 
 
Photograph courtesy of NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Kepler telescope discovers first Earth-size planet in ‘habitable zone’

Photograph courtesy of NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech Kepler-186f resides in the Kepler-186 system about 500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. The system is also home to four inner planets, seen lined up...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>