Should UK development funds be given to the Army?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by armchair_jihad, Oct 22, 2006.

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  1. Yesterday

  2. Right now

  3. Only when everything is peaceful

    0 vote(s)
  4. No DFID needs it for its Kabul hotel and bar bill

  5. Pongos dont understand development its above their pay grade

  6. No BAE needs the contract

    0 vote(s)
  1. The following article on proactive use of development funds by the US Army in Afghanistan triggered this for me. This sort of development doctrine SHOULD have been enacted in 2001, in fact everything was ready to go, then it was hijacked and fcuked up by the UN et al.

    DFID in Afghanistan is NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE and time is now very limited.

    All DFID development funds in Afghanistan should be used at the discretion of local Commanders.

    American troops stationed at the remotest base in Afghanistan are finding a makeshift radio station to be their most potent weapon in the war against Al-Qaeda-led militants.

    “We’re fighting an insurgency and the cornerstone of fighting an insurgency is winning over the population rather than just destroying the enemy,” explains First Lieutenant Joe Lang, who heads the Information Operations cell. “We still do both but our priorities have switched.”

    “Anything that happens with the coalition we put that out because the bad guys have a habit of putting their news out quickly, so we have to be pretty quick on the draw too,” said Hampton. “We aim to have things on air within an hour.”

    The soldiers have distributed more than 8,000 radios, mostly wind-up or solar-powered, and have another 20,000 to hand out. The station broadcasts to 48 villages comprising 60,000 people but is extending. Boxes have been placed in villages for requests and they receive about 45 a day.

    In fact, the radio station is already the most listened to of the three available in the area and this has brought some unexpected rewards. “When we broadcast asking people if they had any information about IEDs (improvised explosive devices), people started turning up every day with information,” said Hampton.

    Similarly, when a Raven remote-controlled surveillance aircraft went down, the news was broadcast on the radio. Within an hour, someone was at the front gate with the 4ft craft.

    US forces are now planning to replicate this in other bases and the British are considering doing the same in Helmand.

    Article in full,,2089-2415611,00.html

    I know this approach works because I have done it elsewhere.
  2. I'm frankly amazed that this hasn't happened. Despite many of the things that went wrong on TELIC Phase IV we were out there with the wind up radios pretty quickly.

    As a sub unit commander what I could have done with $100,000 or even half that may have made a difference in those months. Fix the local water pump, buy a few gennies from Kuwait for the school, hospital etc, contract a few local blokes to start cleaning filth out of the streets...

    Instead the only way I had to get cash was through the DfiD "Quick Impact Project" process. The forms have to be seen to be believed: 30 odd pages including parts to show how the proposed project would improve women's rights, use sustainable resources etc etc. It's more suited to opening up a craft shop in Notting Hill than trying to achieve some sort of positive effect on the ground. Needless to say by the time we redeployed in Jun 03 we had nohting from DfiD. Not Quick. No Project ergo no Impact.
  3. Working from the ground up, as opposed to cumming from the ultra safe top to lower levels, sounds like a good idea to me.
    Also I remember reading in Books on Oman, The Dofar Rebelion, that tribesmen don't mind Bubbling other tribesmen, who are not of their tribe/clan, epecially when a small quantity of Gold be on offer.
  4. Surely this could only be a partial solution - as I have argued on other threads, the army is too small, and its available skill set too limited, to tackle the whole reconstruction/development challenge.

    I can easily see - and would fully support - the need for immediate 'tactical' use by the military, of development dosh.

    BUT surely there is a need for a larger number of civilian development teams, perhaps working to an agenda influenced, if not directed by, the military and under their protection if necessary to secure the longer-term future, and to continue after the Army withdraws.

    O - and unconstrained by needless PC bullsh*t and bureaucracy.

    Edited for spelling grammar and punctuation - that'll teach me to post in a hurry
  5. As has been hinted at by CF, if the military has control of a large development budget, the 'natives' will quickly associate the presence of uk soldiers with improvements in conditions. hearts and minds anyone?

  6. Can't say I care a damn who does it - as long as it's done. Saying that though, the UK development agencies need to realise they are a laughing stock - with as Stonker says, their PC bulldust - and get their act together before it's too late.
    If the Army has to baby-mind them, then fine - but it shouldn't have to do their job for them too......
  7. My big concern right now would be that this would happen too late - I wonder if it is possible - after all the killing - for the Army to transform itself, in the eyes of the Afghan people, back into a force for good. Those on the ground (AJ - a view?) could judge this better. Certainly, the Talib will be looking to stop it happening, and to drive out the infidels.

    In a similar vein, given that I believe the total reconstruct/development mission to be too big for the Army, I am equally certain that the planning and preparation that would be necessary for DfID - or any other agency for that matter - to get stuck in in a timely fashion, is chronically behind the power curve back here in Blighty (and too small-scale); lending greater urgency to the commitment of funds through the Army, on a 'tactical' basis, as a stopgap, and a way to open up opportunities for the future.

    At the moment - and until somebody unblocks the dam - it seems to be just a matter of UK troops in AFG killing to stay alive, while waiting for resources to arrive that don't seem to be on their way. :x :x :x

    (P.S. Directly related - BBC R4 'Today' Prog tomorrow a.m. is an AFG special. Also do a 'listen again' or podcast download of yesterdays From Our OwnCorrespondent David Loyn with the Taliban - he's on again on Newsnight Weds PM on BBC TV/watch online)
  8. My bold.

    I would suggest that control of the funds doesn't mean that the army will do all the work. They will be able to hire the best people for the various jobs required. The army / RM move into a town which needs a well or a school, it can be sorted quicky. JFDI and all that, rather than filling out forms for a couple of weeks, and wait while the dfid have their 'businees lunches'.

  9. Money needs to be spent quickly on manpower-intensive basic infrastructure repair and improvement, according to local needs, in order to keep the locals busy, with enough money to feed their families, and to win their support. Providing or repairing facilities for drinking water, electricity, shelter, sewage, roads etc needs to take place before long-term projects will succeed. Not one hospital has been constructed in Iraq since the mid-90s.

    It would make sense to have a detachment from the appropriate capbages to do this (assuming the toybox is not empty) with enough cash to pay for local labour and materials and no interference from central government!
  10. Mighten the American Commanders Emergency Relief Program provide a good frame work? Power and Money was delegated to commanders in the field to carry out essential reconstruction. It is small project but does seem to be rather successful.

    7 page article on the CERP in Afghanistan and Iraq
  11. That should do the trick, American approved so Bliar should have no problem with it
  12. How about the money saved after paying off the last of the lend lease loan to teh Septics from WW2 when it is finaly paid off at the end of the year, around £45M I think.
  13. Just so you know:
    It's Official - UK Plc Iraq Escape Plan Is Under Development

    BBC R4 News 22 Oct 2006 1300hrs UK time:

    "The Defence Secretary Des Browne has said that he believes security forces in southern Iraq might be able to take over from British troops in 12 months time. He said negotiations to transfer responsibility to the Iraqis were already well advanced."

    Hear it in full:]The World This Weekend[/url]
  14. Afghan Governor of Helmand Province has just been on Radio 4 Today Program slagging DFID for total non performance in his province

    lets see the DFID bullsh!t machine lurch into action this morning defending their right to keep Kabul’s 5 star establishments operational.

    Stop press! its started apparently DIFDs projects are very 'long term' so cannot be seen day to day on the ground! Marvelous MBE's & OBE's all round!
  15. This is worth a look:

    House of Commons Written answers
    Friday, 20 October 2006
    International Development - Afghanistan

    William Hague (Richmond (Yorks), Conservative)
    "To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of progress on reconstruction projects in Afghanistan; and if he will place in the Library copies of the relevant aid impact analysis reports."