Defense

October 9, 2013

Army’s top logistician remains ‘cautiously optimistic’ on Afghanistan withdrawal

Sgt. Sharmella Andrews verifies information on the outside of a container at the logistics retrograde area at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Sept. 13, 2013. Andrews, the logistics and supply non-commissioned officer in charge of Detachment 33, is assigned to the 335th Signal Command, Theater Provisional, Regional Command South.

The Army’s top logistician told members of the House Armed Services Committee Oct. 2 he remains “cautiously optimistic” that the Army will complete its withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“Right now we are on the glide slope we had planned, but that can change overnight. One incident at a border could cause us challenges,” said Lt. Gen. Raymond. V. Mason, deputy chief of staff, Army G4.

The Army continues to bring Soldiers and equipment home while finishing operations and training Afghan forces with the goal of all non-enduring equipment returning by October 2014.

“The closure of bases, then the retrograde that follows, is based on what commander on the ground is doing as he works through the BSA (bilateral security agreement),” Mason said.

The Army plans on bringing back $17 billion worth of equipment currently in Afghanistan, but assumes generally stable conditions, Mason said. Critical to the success of meeting the 2014 deadline is the Pakistan ground lines of communication, which is referred to as the PAKGLOC by military commanders, and to a lesser extent the northern distribution network, or NDN. Both of these land routes are less expensive then multi-modal and direct air transportation.

“Unfortunately the PAKGLOC and the NDN are not always viable and open,” Mason said. “Additionally other variables, including increased enemy activity or potential delays in Afghan elections, would most certainly effect our retrograde and drawdown plans.”

Currently, 50 percent of the Army’s equipment leaves Afghanistan through the PAKGLOC, and that is where Mason would like the majority of equipment to flow through.

The multi-modal route requires equipment to be flown from Afghanistan to a port and loaded onto a ship. Shipping equipment by sea cuts costs significantly compared to flying it home, Mason said.

In some cases, equipment is flown to the United States from Afghanistan, but is limited to critical items, such as communication equipment and weapons.

The fluctuating price of fuel is a concern for Mason and an exact cost for retrograde is hard to nail down. Mason said the Army has budgeted $2 to $3 billion to get equipment home, but fuel is a huge variable.

“If fuel costs continue to go up, we are going to push into the $3 billion range,” Mason said. “If the PAKGLOC was to close, we could in fact go above the $3 billion range, because we would have to fly more out.”




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


 
 

 

Headlines July 28, 2014

News: U.S. has lost track of weapons given to Afghanistan - The United States supplied almost three quarter of a million weapons to Afghanistan’s army and police since 2004, but the military cannot track where many of those arms have gone, a new report found. Bill to improve VA has $17 billion price tag - A bipartisan...
 
 

News Briefs July 28, 2014

Marines seek authorization for dolphin deaths The Marine Corps is asking for a five-year authorization from the National Marine Fisheries Service for incidental deaths of bottlenose dolphins during training exercises at a bombing and target range. The Sun Journal of New Bern, N.C., reports that Connie Barclay of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says...
 
 
Army photograph by David Vergun

Senior leaders explain Army’s drawdown plan

Army photograph by David Vergun No commander is happy when notified that a soldier from his or her command has been identified for early separation. But commanders personally notify those Soldiers and ensure participation in th...
 

 

Northrop Grumman awarded mission support services contract

The U.S. Army awarded Northrop Grumman a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract, with a potential value of $205 million, to continue providing mission logistics services in support of combat brigades training at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif. The contract covers one base year and two one-year options. Support will include the full range of mission...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Beth Groom

F-35 Rollout Marks U.S.-Australia Partnership Milestone

Lockheed Martin photograph by Beth Groom Royal Australian Air Force Air Marshal Geoff Brown delivers his remarks at the roll out ceremony for Australia’s first F-35. The official rollout of the first two F-35 Lightning II...
 
 
NASA/JPL-Caltech image

NASA’s Mars spacecraft maneuvers to prepare for close comet flyby

NASA/JPL-Caltech image This graphic depicts the orbit of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring as it swings around the sun in 2014. On Oct. 19, the comet will have a very close pass at Mars. Its nucleus will miss Mars by about 82,000 m...
 




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>