Gates: McKiernan Wasn't Fired Over Troops

Over the news transom comes this from SecDef Gates: McKiernan, contrary to wild speculation, wasn’t fired because the general wanted more troops in Afghanistan now, and faster.

“A commander in the field should never feel constrained from asking for what he needs,” Gates told a House committee hearing.

Disagreeing with the higher-ups couldn’t have played in McKiernan’s favor, though. It could have easily been used to add to the case against him. (“He doesn’t ‘get it’, he just wants to throw more troops at the problem etc…”)

Gates, a day later and dollar short, did say yesterday that McKiernan “will retire with the honor and respect that he deserves.” And he added: “”There was certainly no intent to convey anything negative or denigrate [McKiernan] in any way.”  (Right, well, that statment seems to be a belated non-truth.)

Lastly, the Afghanistan Troop Count, per Gates. 68,000 American troops in Afghanistan by the end of the year…with possibly 10,000 more next year…I’m watching the creep towards the 100,000 mark…

Wagers on when/if we’ll hit it?


About michaelhastings

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3 Responses to Gates: McKiernan Wasn't Fired Over Troops

  1. jocko says:

    I’ll put $100 that the troop levels in Afghanistan will stay under 100k until the end of BHO’s first term. After that–with much fewer troops in Iraq–he might push for a big “Win.”

  2. Michael Hastings says:

    Jocko, that sounds about right. It will be interesting to see just how fast they can drawn down Iraq tho.

  3. ntstlkr says:

    It’s not just troop levels but what types of personnel that are being deployed is what’s important. Iraq was a mix of heavy urban with broad swaths of rural and remoter terrain. We had a very heavy (no pun intended) emphasis on heavy units, armor and mechanized infantry, medium (the Strykers and MRAP equiped) infantry. Even the “light” infantry are equiped with a very generous amount of motorized and uparmored motorized transport.

    Afghanistan is an entirely different operational environment. The terrain is, for the most part, not suited for heavy units employment. Same goes for the medium stuff. Sure, it’s not to say that they don’t have any kind of role but the focus should be on light infantry and air assault (airborne in anything but a very limited and situational dependent scenario that almost precludes it’s consideration. Airborne is hard enough on a “good day” and it’s too freakin expensive to justify on anything but forced entry ops).

    Freeing up units from Iraq frees up alot of heavy and medium forces. Not alot of light infantry. The upside is that operational level support units like helo transport and the like should be more available and other more esoteric units like electronic warfare (everything from the sigint folks to the drones, ground sensors, and command and control types) will be brought to the fore in greater numbers.

    I’m not so interested in total numbers released, I’d like to see ratios and unit types.

    I’d also like to see who’s gonna drive the cart. Is JSOC going to be a/the prime mover on this shindig with support from the conventional line components? Or are they going to try to keep their “lanes’ seperate?

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