17 June 2008

Not sure what to write

The usual subject matter of this blog is a bit more serious than the Livejournal, and I find myself at a loss for things to write.

I am in Kuwait, waiting to go North, dependent on the vagaries of June weather in Kuwait, which runs to howling sandstorms.

I've been to some interesting briefings and classes, but the extent of what I'm willing to write about is a handful of bald facts upon which I have difficulty elaborating without running into the borders of what I consider acceptable subject matter. I have not, nor will I in the future, discuss information which deals with what we call TTPs, or Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures.

For instance, I'm comfortable saying that the United States Army is continuing to refine both tactical and technical counter-IED measures beyond even where we were 18 months ago. Obviously lots of smart people are spending a lot of time on this, and we're winning the fight, defined as reduced casualties, higher percentages of IEDs found and cleared without damage or injury, and other metrics. Beyond that, I just don't feel comfortable discussing. I mean, the insurgents are pretty good about observing what it is we do. But why give them any help. Not that I think it's probable that some smelly goat-herder is surfing my Blogger site, but you never know. Better to be paranoid than to contribute to some guy getting whacked because I discussed a system in too much detail.

We did a tactical site exploitation class that was really fun. They've got this spiffy house built of some 3,000 square feet, and stuff hidden every where. Booby-traps, hidden caches, weapons, documents, cell phones, all sorts of stuff. The idea is not to turn Soldiers into CSI, there's a 40 hour course that does that, more or less, this is only four hours. But the focus is on finding well-hidden stuff and documenting it well enough that it is acceptable evidence in the Criminal Courts of Iraq. I really was amazed by the emphasis they are putting on this stuff, since it's been primarily the province of specialists in the field previously. But it ties into the increasing focus on law enforcement-style operations and intelligence gathering at all levels. This is a huge change from the way we did business in 2003-04, and a continuation of trends seen in my last rotation. Based on a lot of the reading I've been doing on the subject of counter-insurgency and the experiences I've had, this is a key element to finding the bad guys--we're getting outstanding conviction rates these days, and it's apparently amazing how much stuff a guy looking at the hangman's noose will give up, or so I'm told.

Anyway, I'll be posting erratically on this journal once we get North--not sure how much I will be able to write.


Blogger Chris said...

Dear Sappersgt......My prayers are with you and Soldiergrrrl in this time of separation. God bless you both, and God Bless the USA.

8:02 AM  

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