Op Herrick to be under US OPCOM

#1
Just flashed on BBC news.

UK forces in Helmand to be placed under US OPCOM.
 
#2
Here

UK troops in Helmand are to come under the command of a US general as part of a major restructuring of Nato forces in Afghanistan due to be announced.

UK forces currently take their orders from British Major General Nick Carter, in charge of operations in the south.

But the region is to be split in two to make it more manageable. Gen Carter will oversee Kandahar and a US major general will command forces in Helmand.

Most UK troops on Afghan operations are based in Helmand province.

An announcement on the changes is expected within days.

With the recent influx of American forces, there are now too many troops in too large a geographical area for just one command, making it unwieldy.

Under the plans agreed between Nato members, Regional Command (RC) South will be divided into RC South-West and RC South (East).

The new RC South-West will take in Helmand where both UK and US forces have been involved in Operation Moshtarak, which aims to clear Taliban forces from Marjah and Nad Ali, in Helmand.

Kandahar focus

British Forces say they have made significant progress in Nad Ali over the past few months.

That progress has been measured by fewer attacks from insurgents, and greater participation by locals in governing the region.

US Marines in Southern Helmand have also moved into Marjah - though they are still meeting resistance.

Perhaps the surprise is that a British general will be in command of operations being conducted by US and Canadian troops, while an American general will take charge of British forces

But the next big military objective is focused on Kandahar - in the new RC South (East).

Kandahar has become the insurgents' stronghold, which is another reason to split the regional command.

Nato says what happens in Kandahar over the coming months will be of critical significance to Afghanistan's future.

Kandahar's problems are more acute - there is little governance, but plenty of corruption and crime.

The immediate task for US troops, alongside Canadian forces, is to bring order to one of Afghanistan's most lawless provinces.

Perhaps the surprise is that a British general will be in command of operations being conducted by US and Canadian troops, while an American general will take charge of British forces.

While Gen Carter will continue to oversee operations in Kandahar, he will hand over control of Helmand to a US Marine - expected to be Maj Gen Richard Mills.

For British troops the move will mean relatively little, for the moment.

UK forces will remain in their current area of operation in Central Helmand, while all that changes is the man at the top.

Canadian exit plan

Some may interpret the move as the Americans taking over a so-called British sector - and the UK Ministry of Defence will be very anxious to avoid any headlines that suggest the Americans are having to bail out the British.

But Professor Michael Clarke, director of the Royal United Services Institute, a think tank, said the split makes military and administrative sense.

He noted that in many ways the bigger deal was that the Americans were willing for a British general to oversee their forces in Kandahar.

But the move may signal bigger, and more significant changes ahead.

There has been a debate among Nato commanders as to whether British troops should move to Kandahar when the Canadians leave.

Canada has said it is pulling out its troops for good in the summer of 2011.

Transferring British forces from Helmand to Kandahar would prove more controversial - a much tougher decision than changing the line of command.

It raises the emotive question of sacrifice and cost - why would British troops hand over Helmand to the Americans when they have expended so much blood and treasure?

In a recent interview on BBC Radio 4 the new Defence Secretary, Liam Fox, said that Nato countries should not be "precious" about where their forces are deployed.

It was more important, he said, to ensure a nation's forces were placed where they would have the greatest effect.

Gen Stanley McChrystal, the head of Isaf forces, has also said he is "nation-blind".

But there are questions over whether that would be the view of the British soldiers and their families who have already sacrificed so much in the province.
 
#3
Not sure why the British are under command of the Americans and the Americans under the command of the British; unless this is paving the way for the British to make the switch to Kandahar?
 
#4
whitecity said:
Just flashed on BBC news.

UK forces in Helmand to be placed under US OPCOM.
Yeah, that's really 'news' isn't it? I mean M4 isn't American is he? Or Rodriguez at IJC, he isn't American either. And SACEUR, he isn't always an American is he............ :x

And UK forces on TELIC 1 and subsequently, they weren't under US command were they? Oh, hang on...........

Move along people, nothing to see here.

Perhaps the surprise is that a British general will be in command of operations being conducted by US and Canadian troops, while an American general will take charge of British forces In a NATO Coalition, why should that be a surprise? And in any case, Nick Carter won't be commanding RC(S) for ever, will he?

Journos - they do my head in!
 
#5
Faustic said:
Not sure why the British are under command of the Americans and the Americans under the command of the British; unless this is paving the way for the British to make the switch to Kandahar?
....or exactly the opposite so we don't have to move to Kandahar to be under a UK General
 
#6
Faustic said:
Not sure why the British are under command of the Americans and the Americans under the command of the British; unless this is paving the way for the British to make the switch to Kandahar?
RC(S) is a NATO HQ and, as such, is rotational. It just happens to be the UK 'turn' right now.

Now 1 MEF is MG Mills' command and is about to become HQ RC(SW). TFH etc will be a separate land combat element within it (it won't be a part of the USMC LCE).

The real question is whether the Joint Chiefs can get the USMC to agree US/UK rotational command of RC(SW)..................perhaps JJH could put in a good word for us?
 
#9
What I find interesting is that during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the UK forces (1 Armd UK Div), a 2* command came under OPCOM of USMC 1 MEF - then a 3* command.

Now, USMC 1 MEF is a 2* command operating under a scratch NATO 2* command (RCS) built around 6 UK Div.
 
#10
1stgulfmac said:
And the R3 hosp at Bastion has an awful lot of US people working there already eh.... ( remember it is a rumour service folks)
They're only working there because it would be pointless creating a further R3 next door in Leatherneck. And they're USAF, so they ain't welcome there either!
 
#11
This is all prep before TFL kick us out to Kandahar before the Canadians vacate. Not to sure why people thought we were already under US OpCom before this though? That is simply not true.

Hell, NATO and OEF have only just managed to come under a unified US Command relatively recently. This is a great development.
 
#12
Does this mean we will be under the yanks award system to? Get a load of medals we probably dont deserve but which will certainly be a clunge magnet?
 
#13
It's called NATO.....just think we could be under French command...Zut Alors!
 
#14
shagnasty said:
It's called NATO.....just think we could be under French command...Zut Alors!
Actually it's nothing to do with NATO. ISAF and Operation Enduring Freedom are under a single US Command.
 
#15
REMFQuestions said:
shagnasty said:
It's called NATO.....just think we could be under French command...Zut Alors!
Actually it's nothing to do with NATO. ISAF and Operation Enduring Freedom are under a single US Command.
NATO's main role in Afghanistan is to assist the Government of the ... Since NATO took command of ISAF in 2003, the Alliance has gradually expanded the reach of its mission, ...
www.nato.int/issues/afghanistan - Cached
 
#16
shagnasty said:
REMFQuestions said:
shagnasty said:
It's called NATO.....just think we could be under French command...Zut Alors!
Actually it's nothing to do with NATO. ISAF and Operation Enduring Freedom are under a single US Command.
NATO's main role in Afghanistan is to assist the Government of the ... Since NATO took command of ISAF in 2003, the Alliance has gradually expanded the reach of its mission, ...
www.nato.int/issues/afghanistan - Cached
Sigh. :roll:

When military action inside Afghanistan commenced US Forces moved in under Operation Enduring Freedom. OEF was, and still is, a Counter-Terrorist operation. It was characterised by it's lack of nation building and it's 'robust' rules of engagement.

When the United States realised that failed states actually need rebuilt they signed up the UN to do so and in turn NATO ISAF, via the Bonn Accord, divided up the areas that required attention.

This led to two separate military missions with separate aims and separate chains of command. OEF Special Operations Forces often conducted missions inside ISAF AOR without informing or seeking permission.

Now, under McChrystal the ISAF and OEF missions have been combined under a single commander who co-ordinates both missions and ideally de-conflicts. So, in laymans, the Commander of the US Forces is now the Commander of ISAF.

This means that when an PRT under the ISAF mandate (nation building) arrives in a village they don't find a pile of dead bodies left behind by the Navy Seals from OEF (counter terror).

The UK troops coming under the US OpCom is within the ISAF framework however ISAF now belongs to the Americans as well so technically...technically...everyone is US OpCom.

The key point is the yanks have 100,000 men in theatre now. They have the most ISTAR and the Pedros. It's their show and we will all do exactly what they f*cking tell us. Which is prob best cause the Germans f*cked up the policing, we Br*ts****ed up the narcotics and the Canadians have been fighting for the same piece of ground four times and in the words of one Canadian officer - it was for nothing. They cannot hold it.

We need the Yanks to win this. Let them have MQ. Let them have Sangin. Let their Strykers secure the roads. It's their show.
 
#17
whitecity said:
What I find interesting is that during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the UK forces (1 Armd UK Div), a 2* command came under OPCOM of USMC 1 MEF - then a 3* command.

Now, USMC 1 MEF is a 2* command operating under a scratch NATO 2* command (RCS) built around 6 UK Div.
Something to do with the fact that the US HQ1 MEF has a ability to project power within the area to a degree that the "scratch" RCS can only dream off.

Makes sense to me and shows those less educated where we stand with the US - a poor second relation......
 
#18
Rear Echelon Muther ******...............REMF

The key point is the yanks have 100,000 men in theatre now. They have the most ISTAR and the Pedros. It's their show and we will all do exactly what they f*cking tell us. Which is prob best cause the Germans f*cked up the policing, we Br*ts****ed up the narcotics and the Canadians have been fighting for the same piece of ground four times and in the words of one Canadian officer - it was for nothing. They cannot hold it.

We need the Yanks to win this. Let them have MQ. Let them have Sangin. Let their Strykers secure the roads. It's their show.

No argument..............big guns rule...as always. Legally Big Sam is operating within NATO.....how they interpret those rules is up to the generals. It doesn't alter the fact that this is a NATO operation. If it isn't why are so many NATO troops involved?????


Incidentally WTF has this to do with the North Atlantic? A feck up in geography?
 
#19
Latecomer to this thread - when I heard the news on BBC Radio 2, (twice) they used the term "operational control" (as in OPCON) rather than "operational command", or OPCOM.

Coulda just been slack journo usage, or straight copy from MoD - I do know that folk in 'old' NATO used to get a cockstand about the difference - until we all went soldiering together for real.

Journos will have grabbed on this 'cos the last bit of "big news about AFG" was that CMD had decided not to re-deploy his box of soldiers out of Helmand in accordance with Unca Sam's expressed preference.
 
#20
shagnasty said:
Rear Echelon Muther f*****...............REMF

The key point is the yanks have 100,000 men in theatre now. They have the most ISTAR and the Pedros. It's their show and we will all do exactly what they f*cking tell us. Which is prob best cause the Germans f*cked up the policing, we Br*ts****ed up the narcotics and the Canadians have been fighting for the same piece of ground four times and in the words of one Canadian officer - it was for nothing. They cannot hold it.

We need the Yanks to win this. Let them have MQ. Let them have Sangin. Let their Strykers secure the roads. It's their show.

No argument..............big guns rule...as always. Legally Big Sam is operating within NATO.....how they interpret those rules is up to the generals. It doesn't alter the fact that this is a NATO operation. If it isn't why are so many NATO troops involved?????


Incidentally WTF has this to do with the North Atlantic? A feck up in geography?
You obviously did not read what I put.

Big Sam is not operating "within" NATO at all. Big Sam is now RUNNING NATO. Big Sam also runs a completely separate mission in Afghanistan which is where his 10,000 SOF soldiers are running around the hills shooting bad guys. Sometimes the other mission affects the NATO mission - often adversely. But now..after nearly 10 years they have figured out it might be best if we all just listened to one big swinging d*ck. NATO and OEF.

That d*ck happens to belong to Stanley McChrystal, funnily enough he is also the US Forces Commander.

So now...and this is the ronseal moment....everyone is now commanded by him. He is the man at the top. Rumour has it he sleeps five hours a night, runs 8 miles a day and eats only 1 meal.

He is a serious motherf*cker. He banned alchohol for all yanks and is now ordering all of the entertainment and fast food out of Kandahar.
 
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