The Danger Zone

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20 years a month ago, Americans woke up to learn that the United States had invaded Iraq. They had been told it would cost $50 billion and that it would end soon.

Forty-two days later the President declared Mission Accomplished, and that the U.S. would be greeted as liberators.

That all didn't work out as planned.

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From the earliest years of our nation’s history, the military has relied on contracting to support its missions. Effective administration of these contracts has been vitally important to the well-being and success of our warfighters. It has helped ensure that contractors met their contractual requirements for cost, schedule, and technical performance. To a large extent, the success of any procurement action has and continues to hinge on how well it is administered during its performance.

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U.S. Military Investing Heavily in Africa

Post Date: October 18, 2021 | Category: The Danger Zone

The Pentagon has begun a burst of spending in Africa, expanding its main base on the continent and investing in air facilities, flight services, telecommunications, and electrical upgrades as the U.S. Military deepen its footprint in a region with rising threats.

Hundreds of millions of dollars in expenditures, detailed in unclassified federal documents, demonstrate Africa's increasing importance to U.S. Military and counterterrorism operations like the war in Iraq has ended and American troops withdrew from Afghanistan.

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maritime-security

maritime-security

The maritime industry is one of the largest on the planet, and ensuring operations at sea continue safely takes a determined effort. The implementation of maritime security takes both knowledge and vigilance and is essential to enhance security enforcement without slowing down the timely flow of international commerce.

Maritime security is a specialized field in the marine sector, and safety officers must employ best practices to defend their vessels against both internal and external threats. These threats come in various forms, and each requires a different strategy for a proper defense. Security risks are not always malicious, but maintaining vessel safety is a constant priority.

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PMC

PMC

In recent years, U.S. military operations in Africa have greatly expanded. Washington has established forward operating locations (FOL) and drone bases. It has helped various African countries, like Liberia, retrain their militaries. It has tried to track rebel groups like the Lord’s Resistance Army and the East African terrorist group like Al-Shabaab. The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) has been involved in wide-ranging activities.

Thanks to the work of a very few journalists—like Nick Turse who has greatly enhanced our understanding of U.S. Special Operations Forces in Africa or Craig Whitlock of The Washington Post who has exposed problems at U.S. drone bases—there’s more information about these expanded operations.

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stealth-fighter-jet

stealth-fighter-jet

A hasty U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan as the Taliban overpowered the government and took control of the capital left many wondering what happened to the trillions of dollars spent over the last two decades since 2001.

Around $300 million a day was spent according to a Brown University calculation – that was spent on private contractors to power the logistics. Private contractors served largely as hired guns, but also as cleaners, cooks, construction workers, technicians, and servers on sprawling U.S. bases.

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Afghanistan

Afghanistan

NATE BERG | When the U.S. government officially pulled its military presence from Afghanistan, it left behind a valuable piece of real estate. The U.S. embassy in Kabul, a sprawling 15-acre complex of more than a dozen buildings and annexes, was built at an estimated construction cost of $806 million.

As the Taliban takes over, it is physically filling in the footprint of the previous regime, including taking over the presidential palace. The U.S. embassy, the centerpiece of the country’s long and tumultuous presence in Afghanistan for more than 20 years, could similarly change hands. The State Department declined to comment.

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Private Military Contractors

Private Military Contractors

REPORT FOREIGN POLICY — Military analysts trying to understand the stunning collapse of the Afghan military is increasingly pointing to the departure of U.S. government contractors starting a month ago as one of the key turning points.

The Afghans had relied on contractors for everything from training and gear maintenance to preparing them for intelligence gathering and close air support in their battles against Taliban fighters.

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taliban-hummer

taliban-hummer

According to the Department of Defense, the U.S. military is planning to leave Afghanistan by August 31. The plan for that departure includes not just U.S. service members, but also some of the important military equipment still in the country.

But, right now, the Defense Department is busy getting American citizens, Afghans with special immigrant visa applications in process, and other vulnerable Afghans out of the country. And that will continue to be the No. 1 priority right up until the very end, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said.

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PMC

PMC

Civilian contractors have frequently played an important role in American military operations. George Washington hired civilians to haul the Continental Army's equipment; supply vendors followed the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War.

Indeed, today's military recognizes the use of civilian contractors as a force multiplier in stabilization efforts. Although sometimes expensive, contractors are capable of supplying immediate expertise and manpower much more rapidly than the military can grow subject matter experts.

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