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.


 
 

 

Headlines January 28, 2015

News: Panel will propose new military retirement system - The long-awaited report on military compensation set to drop Thursday will propose fundamental changes to military retirement and health care benefits, according to several people familiar with the report. Source: DOD to request $585 billion for fiscal 2016 - The Department of Defense is preparing to submit a...
 
 

News Briefs January 28, 2015

Defense contractor to pay $2 million to settle claims A Northern California defense contractor will pay the federal government $2 million to settle claims about its manufacturing of parts for remote-controlled aircraft. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento says Sacramento-based Composite Engineering Inc. agreed to pay the money to end allegations that it artificially inflated...
 
 
Navy photograph

USS Roosevelt marks 200,000 trap

Navy photograph An F/A-18F Super Hornet flown by Capt. Daniel Grieco, commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), and Capt. Benjamin Hewlett, deputy commander of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1, complet...
 

 
Navy photograph by PO1 William Larned

USS California returns from maiden deployment

Navy photograph by PO1 William Larned The Virginia-class attack submarine USS California (SSN 781) returns from its maiden deployment to its homeport at Naval Submarine Base New London. Under the command of Cmdr. Shawn Huey, Ca...
 
 
Army photograph

Army proves new watercraft capabilities

Army photograph Marine Corps assets are loaded onto the USNS Sgt. Matej Kocak (T-AK 3005), from an U.S. Army Landing Craft Utility, or LCU, USAV Port Hudson during port operations, at White Beach Naval Base, Jan. 22, 2015. Sold...
 
 

Orbital stockholders approve merger with ATK’s aerospace, defense groups

Orbital Sciences Corporation announced Jan. 27 that at a special meeting, the company’s stockholders voted overwhelmingly to approve the proposed merger with the Aerospace and Defense Groups of Alliant Techsystems Inc., pursuant to the definitive transaction agreement dated April 28, 2014. Approximately 99 percent of the votes cast at the special meeting voted in favor...
 




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>