New plan on Afghanistan submitted to Obama

With the War in Afghanistan approaching its eighth year, the newly appointed U.S. ground commander in Afghanistan, General (Gen.) Stanley McChrystal, is making his case for a new strategy in the recent submission of classified recommendations to U.S. President Barack Obama.

General Stanley A. McChrystal

General Stanley A. McChrystal

A focal point for discussion is Gen. McChrystal’s recommendation for troop levels in the country of which he is expected to recommend an increase by the end of this year.

The classified report was submitted this Monday morning, August 31, 2009 and will eventually find its way onto the desk of President Obama serving as the likely basis upon which he will make decisions about the future of the U.S. engagement in the country.

At this time the 20-page report is being reviewed by Gen. McChrystal’s superiors to include Gen. David Petraeus, Commander of U.S. Central Command, Admiral Mike Mullen, U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Gen. Egon Ramms, the senior North Atlantic Treaty Organization Commander before going to U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and on to the President. A public release of the report is not currently scheduled.

Although the report does not include requests for troop increases, it is possible that such a request will occur in the coming weeks or shortly thereafter. Gen. McChrystal reportedly described the situation in Afghanistan as “serious” which has caused some concerns about the overall progress of the war, driving the need for the strategy assessment. The White House has signaled its concern with Afghanistan as the Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, described the Afghan War as “under-resourced politically, militarily and economically”.

While there have been some leaks about other content in the report, none have been officially recognized by Gen. McChrystal or the U.S. government. Even still Gen. McChrystal remains resolved to ensure the maximum utilization of resources he already commands with reports that he ordered his subordinates to evaluate the need for high numbers of administrative positions vice utilizing those troops in combat roles. Additionally, the U.S. Army is considering whether or not they will utilize contractors to conduct guard duty at certain bases as well as convoy duty.

Gen. McChrystal stated that “The situation in Afghanistan is serious, but success is achievable and demands a revised implementation strategy, commitment and resolve, and increased unity of effort”. This report will likely be the first step in what will be many of significant changes in U.S. strategy.

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