Defense

December 17, 2012

Pentagon warns of higher bomb threat in drawdown

American and coalition forces in Afghanistan will be more vulnerable to deadly improvised explosive devices as the military draws down troops next year, a senior Pentagon official said Dec. 13.

Lt. Gen. Michael Barbero described his concerns about what is the top cause of military and civilian deaths in Afghanistan and Pakistan in congressional testimony that also underscored U.S. frustration with Islamabad’s efforts to thwart the production of the devices known as IEDs, most of which are fertilizer-based explosives.

IEDs are responsible for more than 60 percent of U.S. troops killed and wounded in Afghanistan as the war has entered its second decade. Although the number of incidents is down this year, IEDs caused 1,874 American casualties.

Barbero told a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee that the drawdown of some 66,000 U.S. troops next year will make American forces more susceptible to IEDs. He said fewer troops will mean travel on Afghan roads becomes more predictable, raising the possibility of more attacks. In addition, fewer troops will mean less awareness of what’s happening in the vicinity.

“IEDs will continue to be the weapon of choice against our forces,” Barbero told the panel.

Barbero, the director of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, and Jonathan Carpenter, a senior economic adviser at the State Department, insisted that Pakistan, which has had more than 926 IED attacks and more than 3,700 casualties, needs to do more to stop the devices.

About 70 percent of the homemade explosives are made with ammonium nitrate from calcium ammonium nitrate, known as CAN. The common agricultural fertilizer is produced by two factories in Pakistan.

Barbero said the Fatima Group, which owns and operates the two factories, has not been cooperative. Further complicating the situation, the Pakistan government stopped all direct communication between the United States and the company. He said any contact must go through one of the Pakistan ministries.

Carpenter said the U.S. was constrained by the closing of supply lines that didn’t reopen until July of this year.

Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat and chairman of the subcommittee, said Pakistan is vital to stopping key components from making their way into Afghanistan.

“I see too many casualties at Walter Reed,” Casey said of the Army military hospital. “We need to see action.”

The officials pointed out that Treasury has imposed sanctions and the Commerce Department has added 150 names to the list of entities barred from doing business with the United States.

 




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


 
 

 
Untitled-2

Tactical reconnaissance vehicle project eyes hoverbike for defense

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory, or ARL, has been exploring the tactical reconnaissance vehicle, or TRV, concept for nearly nine months and is evaluating the hoverbike technology as a way to get Soldiers away from ground thre...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. William Banton

Upgraded AWACS platform tested at Northern Edge

Air Force photograph by SSgt. William Banton Maintenance crew members prepare an E-3G Sentry (AWACS) for takeoff during exercise Northern Edge June 25, 2015. Roughly 6,000 airmen, soldiers, sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen ...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Marleah Robertson

First Marine graduates Air Force’s F-35 intelligence course

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Marleah Robertson Marine Corps 1st Lt. Samuel Winsted, an F-35B Lightning II intelligence officer, provides a mock intelligence briefing to two instructors during the F-35 Intelligence Formal Train...
 

 
Air Force photograph by SrA. James Richardson

5,000 days of war

Air Force photograph by SrA. James Richardson Airmen from the 17th Special Tactics Squadron out of Fort Benning, Ga., control airspace operations during exercise Jaded Thunder Oct. 29, 2014, in Salina, Kansas. Joint special ope...
 
 
Huntington Ingalls photograph

Navy’s new aircraft launch system tested on future carrier CVN 78

Huntington Ingalls photograph Aboard the aircraft carrier Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), Susan Ford Bales, the ship’s sponsor and daughter of the late President Ford for whom the ship is named, rejoices i...
 
 
Navy photograph by JO2 John Hetherington

Prowler retires following 45 years of naval service

Navy photograph by PO3 Brian Stephens An EA-6B Prowler assigned to the Garudas of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 134 lands on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). George H.W. Bush is supporti...
 




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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>