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Tuesday, 27 August 2013

From Today's Papers - 27 Aug 2013
Cross-border skirmishes peak as Pak focuses on Afghan drawdown
Ajay Banerjee/TNS

New Delhi, August 26
Ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) between India and Pakistan have peaked in the past one month triggering apprehensions between two nuclear armed and mistrusting neighbours.

The Indian Army estimates say that the LoC is volatile along 48 km or some 6 per cent of its 740-km length.
This year, there have been 84 violations from across the LoC with 39 incidents in August so far giving rise to speculation of a repeat of a 1999-Kargil-type limited skirmish.

The LoC has been demarcated on the ground. Maps of the same have been signed and exchanged by India and Pakistan in 1972. The ceasefire agreement was inked in 2003.

Pakistan has claimed that six of its soldiers have been killed by Indian Army's firing since the start of August. Five Indian soldiers were killed on August 6 along the LoC. So far, both sides have been using small arms like light machine guns and heavy mortors which fire up to 5 km.

The 48-km stretch is spread across five distinct sectors in the Jammu region, the Kashmir region and the Ladakh region. Since the start of this year, Poonch has had some 18 ceasefire violations spread across a swathe of 10 km, Krishna Ghatti has seen some 20 incidents of cross LoC firing spread across 10 km, Bhimber Galli has had 22 violations and 12 km of areas is affected. All three sectors are in the Jammu region.

The Uri-Tangdhar sector, which is the north of the Pir-Panjal mountains, have seen firing along the LoC on 15 occasions affecting 12 km while Drass-Kargil have seen firing on nine occasions along 4 km. The two towns are in the Ladakh region and, in August, have seen the first violations along the LoC in years, clearly being the biggest expansion of tensions. The areas in Jammu region and the Kashmir region have been traditional infiltration routes for militants.

Army Chief General Bikram Singh's orders are clear. "If fired upon from across the LoC, retaliate with force. Give a reply." He has asked formation commanders to follow the laid down standard operating procedures to deal with Pakistan's firing. He has made it clear that moral ascendancy has to be maintained. Rather in January this year, when two soldiers were beheaded, he had assured the nation that "we will respond to Pakistani firing".

Indian Army official today admitted that LoC ceasefire violations, meaning when fire is directed from across, is clearly setting the stage for a post-2014 scenario when the US-led international forces withdraw from Afghanistan. Indian assessment is that the Pakistani Army has been gradually increasing the area of firing across the LoC to keep India engaged and raise the issue that civilians were being killed on the Pakistani side.

"There is no fear of any escalation as yet. The 48-km stretch can be managed locally", said a senior functionary while admitting that Pakistan has upped the ante and the India has responded. There is no artillery gun fire till now.

Indian assessment is that ceasefire violations are not just the routine ones to facilitate entry of militants into J&K. It's a message from the Pakistani Army that the Kashmir issue will not be dealt with diplomatically.

The Director Generals of the Military Operations are expected to speak over the hotline tomorrow where the matter of recent incidents is likely to be raised.
The volatile stretch

As per Indian Army estimates, 48 km or roughly 6% of the 740-km Line of Control is volatile

There have been 84 violations from across the LoC this year with 39 incidents in August so far

The 48 km are spread across five distinct sectors in the Jammu region, the Kashmir region and the Ladakh region

The LoC has been demarcated on the ground. Maps of the same were signed and exchanged by India and Pakistan in 1972. The ceasefire agreement was inked in 2003
'Rogue' acts on LoC
Raise the cost for Pakistan army's proxy war
by Gurmeet Kanwal

In recent months the Pakistan army has been behaving in a rather aggressive manner on the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir in blatant violation of the mutually observed ceasefire. Its rogue actions have included the beheading of an Indian soldier in January 2013 and an ambush on the Indian side of the LoC, which resulted in the death of five Indian soldiers in the Poonch sector. Since then, there have been daily incidents of trans-LoC firing, including in the relatively quiet Kargil sector. The Indian army has responded appropriately to this unprovoked firing.

The Pakistan army has denied that its personnel were involved in the ambush on August 6 and that so-called Kashmiri terrorists may have sneaked across the LoC and ambushed the Indian patrol. This preposterous denial lacks credibility as every military professional familiar with the LoC environment knows that incidents of this nature can occur only with the direct involvement, wholehearted operational planning and full logistics support of the Pakistan army.

Complex operations by Border Action Teams (BATs) are invariably led by personnel of the Special Services Group (SSG, Pakistan's Special Forces) and include specially selected regular soldiers. A large-sized terrorist group simply cannot get through the Pakistan army's well-coordinated forward defences, navigate the anti-personnel minefields and then come back safely after several rounds of firing have taken place and plenty of noise has been generated. In short, explicit connivance is an inescapable prerequisite for a trans-LoC raid to succeed.

Why did the Pakistan army orchestrate such an incident at a time when the Nawaz Sharif government wishes to reach out to India? General Kayani has himself admitted that India is not Pakistan's number one national security threat and that the danger lies within. Quite obviously, the Pakistan army is not in sync with Prime Minister Sharif regarding his policy of normalising relations with India and would like to keep the pot simmering in Kashmir. Though it has carefully calibrated the number of incidents of violence and the targets to be attacked, the army considers it necessary to keep the machinery created for terrorism and insurgency well-oiled so that the so-called Jihad can be ratcheted up when needed.

Perhaps the Pakistan army is of the view that the Jihad in Kashmir is flagging and needs to be revived through a series of spectacular incidents designed to raise the morale of terrorists. Lt Gen Gurmit Singh, GOC, 15 Corps, has said that 28 hard core terrorists have been eliminated since June 24. Of these, 18 were killed while attempting to infiltrate. Approximately 500 terrorists now remain, including sleeper cells, and about 2,000 are waiting in Pakistan and PoK to be inducted. The Indian army is making it difficult for them due to sustained counter-infiltration operations. This summer has seen a major increase in the number of attempts that are being made to infiltrate newly trained terrorists. According to a statement made by Defence Minister A. K. Antony in Parliament, there have been 57 violations of the ceasefire agreement so far this year compared with 93 in 2012. Most such violations are of small arms fire to aid and facilitate infiltration across the LoC.

On another plane, there could be a connection with the situation in Afghanistan. The incident on the LoC has come close on the heels of the ISI-sponsored attack on India's consulate in Jalalabad. Is the Pakistan army sending a message to India to reduce its involvement in Afghanistan, particularly its military aid and training support to the Afghan National Army? It is well known that the Pakistan army is deeply concerned with the support India enjoys in Afghanistan and India's continuing commitment to Afghan reconstruction and would like to limit India's influence.

The real question to be asked is whether the Pakistan army can ever have a genuine change of heart about the futility of prolonged hostility towards India. The answer is very simple. Pakistan's recent overtures towards India are a tactical ploy to tide over the army's current difficulties, rather than a paradigm shift in the grand strategy and should not be seen as a change of heart at the strategic level.

What should be India's response? Should India continue to engage Pakistan and discuss peace and stability? Even during war it is always advisable to keep a channel of communication open with the adversary. In the case of India and Pakistan this is even more important as the two nuclear-armed nations have a long history of conflict and have come close to war at least twice in the last decade. Hence, it is important to continue the dialogue process, but after first giving a befitting response for the Pakistan army's grave provocations on the LoC. Edward N Luttwak, a well-known military strategist, said a few days ago, "Be good to Nawaz Sharif, be harsh with the army." This advice is appropriate under the circumstances. The aim of the peace talks should be to get Pakistan to end terrorism directed against India from its soil, bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attacks to justice and stop the army's 'rogue' acts on the LoC.

The Indian army has been given a free hand to retaliate punitively at one or more places of its choosing on the LoC. The aim should be to cause maximum damage to the forward posts of the Pakistan army, particularly those through which recent attacks have been launched. This will raise the cost for the army and the ISI to continue to wage their proxy war. The selected instrument should be the firepower of the artillery — guns, mortars, multi-barrel rocket launchers — supplemented by infantry weapons like medium machine guns. Every single bunker visible on the targeted Pakistani post should be razed to the ground.

Planning for these 'fire assaults' should be carefully undertaken so that collateral damage is avoided and civilians are not hurt. Every time acts of similar provocation are repeated in future, the quantum of punitive retaliation must be correspondingly enhanced. Fire assaults should be repeated as often as necessary. Quite soon, when it bleeds and hurts, the Pakistan army will get the message that wanton acts of violence do not pay.
India Moves to Boost Anti-Tank Capabilities
India's armed forces have been complaining of a severe shortage of tank ammunition, and the fleet's new T-90 tanks have had their share of problems. Over the last couple of weeks, India's Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) has moved to patch these gaps, by approving budgets for a pair of purchases. One is a gun-launched missile that can make the T-90 fleet more effective, while supplementing existing tank ammunition. The other is a follow-on order for an anti-tank missile that can be used by the infantry or mounted on vehicles.

Taken together, India hopes to add some punch to its mechanized divisions in particular.
Konkurs-M/ AT-5 missiles. Can be mounted on a number of vehicles, or deployed separately as an infantry-portable anti-tank weapon. The US Army's FM 3-19.4 lists its effective range as being up to 4 km/ 2.5 miles. It uses semi-active command line of sight (SACLOS) guidance, which means you have to keep the missile sight on target, but don't need a joystick to control the missile's flight. The tandem HEAT (High Explosive Anti-Tank) warhead is lethal to lightly armored vehicles, and remains dangerous even to main battle tanks with explosive reactive armor.

Russia's Tula KBP doesn't list the "9M113″ as a product offering any more, but license production by firms like Bharat Dynamics continues to keep the missiles relevant. The missile is in service with a number of countries, including Iran, who supplied its own license-built "Towsan-1″ missiles to its Hezbollah foreign legion for use during the 2006 war in Lebanon.

Invar. The tandem-warhead, 125mm gun-fired missile is closely derived from the laser beam riding 9M119 Refleks (T-90)/ Svir (T-72) family. NATO's designations consider it to be part of the same AT-11 Sniper series, with an effective range of up to 5 km/ 3.1 miles.

India's armed forces have been complaining of a severe shortage of tank ammunition, and the Invar missile purchase is expected to help offset that somewhat, while providing long-range accuracy and helicopter-killing capabilities. India's locally designed Arjun tanks have the same inherent capability, using the Israeli LAHAT missile, but India doesn't have very many Arjuns.
Aug 20/13: Invar bought. The Indian Ministry of Defence signs an INR 30 billion (currently around $475 million and dropping) contract for Invar missiles with state-owned Bharat Dynamic Ltd. in Hyderabad. They'll missiles will be made locally under a continuing license from M/s Rosoboronexport, and deliveries are expected to take place from 2013 – 2018. Note that this figure is a INR 10 billion/ 33% increase over the October 18/12 Cabinet approval for 20,000 missiles.

Apportioning that 33% difference depends on foreign exchange conversions, as well as the average level of imported materials in each Invar missile ordered. Work done by BDL is a straight Rupee transaction, but key supplies will be imported, and license and support costs to Russia aren't paid in Rupees. Do they convert the Russian component of the sale through the US dollar? Or was the trade a direct Rupees to Roubles deal? That matters a lot, because the Rupee dropped by 16.7% vs. the US Dollar from Oct 18/12 – Aug 20/13, and keeps hitting new lows every day. In the same period, it 'only' dropped 10.92% against the Rouble. Issues like payment terms can confuse the issue further. Is payment of license and support fees to Russia a lump sum, or due annually? If the latter, what does the contract specify for how foreign exchange is handled at each payment period?

Recent currency arrangements make these questions very germane. In March 2012, Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) Summit members signed a BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism agreement to back their mutual trade with credit offered in local currencies, instead of using US dollars as an intermediate conversion. As an ancillary, they also signed the Multilateral Letter of Credit Confirmation Facility Agreement between their respective Exim/Development Banks. On the other hand, Russian VEB chair Vladimir Dmitriev recalled that it took 3 years to make similar arrangements work with China, and added that he expected the same thing for India. That means direct conversion wouldn't be ready until 2015, unless the governments of Russia and India have special arrangements around defense buys. Sources: India MoD release | Russia Today, "BRICS agree to local currency credits to ease dollar dependency" | Zee News, "BRICS members sign pact to trade in local currencies".

Invars bought

Oct 26/12: Konkurs ATGM. India's Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approves an Rs 1,200 crore (about $250 million) budget proposal to buy 10,000 Konkurs-M/ AT-5 wire-guided anti-tank guided missiles, in order to equip infantry and mechanized units. Sources: Defence Now, "CCS Clears USD 250 Million Konkur Missiles for Army" | India's Economic Times, "CCS clears 10,000 Russian anti-tank missiles for Army" | India Today, "Cabinet clears Rs 1,200 crore deal for anti-tank missiles from Russia".

Oct 18/12: Invar. India's Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) clears a Rs 8,000 crore budget that will buy 200 or so air-launched BrahMos long-range supersonic strike missiles, and 20,000 Invar 9M119M/M1 missiles that are fired from the 125mm barrels of India's T-90S tanks. The Rs 2,000 crore ($380 million) Invar missile purchase is expected to be divided evenly between Russian production, and licensed production by Bharat Dynamics. Sources: NDTV, "Rs 8,000 crore cleared for BrahMos, Invar missiles" | Defence Now, "India Approves $1.6 Billion Orders for Invar, BrahMos Air Version Missiles".
Ex-Maoist fighters join army in Nepal but challenges remain
Nepal commissioned a group of former Maoist rebel fighters as officers in the national army on Monday, fulfilling a main component of a fragile peace deal that ended civil war but has failed to bring political stability to the Himalayan nation.

Some 70 Maoist fighters who battled the army in the decade-long conflict that ended in 2006 joined their former foes in a parade at the Nepalese Military Academy at Kharipati, 20 km (12 miles) east of Kathmandu.

The army had initially resisted integrating the Maoist guerrillas, saying they were politically indoctrinated.

In total, 1,460 of the 19,600 fighters registered by the United Nations after the war have joined the army. The rest left camps for civilian life, some with a rehabilitation package of up to $10,200.

Former fighter Anil Rokaya said he was happy to join the army and had put the past behind him.

"There is no question of bad feelings. That was a different time when we fought and the context has changed after the peace process," said the 26-year-old.

Dressed in dark green military uniforms, the last fighters received the insignia of their new positions in the army from Khilraj Regmi, chairman of the caretaker cabinet that is governing Nepal before elections due in November

"This is a matter of happiness for all that the integration process has completed successfully," Regmi said.

But Nepal is some way from normality. Seven years after the end of the war, it is still without a new constitution, and successive governments have collapsed because of differences about the course the young republic should take.


The Maoists emerged as the biggest party in an election in 2008 for a special Constituent Assembly, which subsequently abolished the 239-year-old Hindu monarchy and turned Nepal into a secular republic.

Bharat Pulami Magar, who battled the army for five years, said the fall of the monarchy was a result of the conflict.

"This would not have been possible otherwise," the 33-year-old Magar said, a cream colored Buddhist prayer scarf and marigold garland dangling from his chest.

Nepal has scheduled November elections for a second Constituent Assembly to draft the charter after a similar body was dissolved last year without completing it.

About 16,000 people were killed in the war.

Analysts say Nepal will not enjoy lasting peace without a constitution that addresses demands for decentralization of power to ethnic regions. The economy is in tatters and survivors of the violence that killed thousands are demanding justice and compensation.

"These have not received any attention from the state so far and must now be addressed for sustained peace," said Bishnu Raj Upreti, who teaches conflict management at Kathmandu University.
Army Commander visits Gurez, Manasbal
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Srinagar, Aug 26: General Officer Commanding–in-Chief Northern Command, Lt General Sanjiv Chachra Monday visited a forward post of Army in Gurez near the Line of Control in north Kashmir's Bandipora district to take the stock of situation.
In the backdrop of the prevailing tension on the Line of Control (LoC) for the past some weeks Gen Chachra arrived here Sunday on a three-day visit.
Sources said that Monday morning, Gen Chachra, accompanied by General Officer Commanding 15 Corps, Lt General Gurmit Singh flew to Gurez. "He visited a forward post and met the soldiers there," an Army official told Greater Kashmir. He said Gen Chachra also visited the Brigade Headquarters in Gurez and interacted with officers and soldiers.  "He took stock of the situation," he said.
The official said besides reviewing the security situation in the border area, Gen Chachra also held detailed discussions about the facilities and problems that security persons face during harsh winters in the area, the official said.
The officer said that Gurez Sector has witnessed some infiltration bids recently. "He complimented the soldiers and asked them to remain vigilant to meet any eventuality," the official said. He said that  Army had in recent past foiled infiltration attempts at various places in north Kashmir include Gurez in which 18 militants have been killed in different operations.
On his return Gen Chachra visited 3 Sector Rashtriya Rifles located in Mansbal area of Bandipora. He interacted with officers and soldiers. On Sunday senior Army General was briefed by the Commander on the prevailing security scenario in his area of responsibility. Gen Chachra also called upon J&K Governor NN Vohra and deliberated the prevailing situation on LoC and hinterland.
Army orders probe into housing 'scam' in Kochi
NEW DELHI: The Army headquarters has ordered a court of inquiry (CoI) into the alleged irregularities in the Army Welfare Housing Organisation's (AWHO) project in Kochi for building houses for military families. Over the past several months, allegations of major misdeeds, including possible conspiracy between AWHO and a private builder, had emerged in Kerala's commercial hub.

Defence minister A K Antony on Monday told the Lok Sabha: "A court of inquiry has been directed by Army Headquarter to investigate into the alleged irregularity in the Army Welfare Housing Project in Kochi. The convening authority has been directed for early completion of Court of Inquiry."

The Army move came after Antony sought a report on media reports about alleged irregularities in the Kochi project. The Army has in the past admitted that a performance audit of AWHO has been done by a board of officers. "Allegations that AWHO tied up with private builders to sell their houses and of financial wrongdoings in land purchase are incorrect," it had said in that statement.

However, ever since the Army's denial of a TOI report on serious allegations regarding AWHO, it has been on a cleansing drive of the organisation that is meant to construct affordable houses for military families. The chief of AWHO was removed, and the transfer of the then adjutant general was informally blamed by the Army on irregularities in AWHO and other projects under him.

Controversies surrounding the Kochi project of AWHO include allegations of deliberate efforts to scuttle its own project and a possible criminal conspiracy.

AWHO had bought a 4.25-acre plot on Silver Sand Island in 1987 near Kochi to build houses at affordable rates for its applicants in Kerala. However, even after 25 years the houses are still not ready. Meanwhile, AWHO got into a 'turn-key' project with a private builder and bought an apartment complex from it and sold it to military families. Sold at Rs 2,940 per square feet, the turn-key project is next to a railway track on a small plot and without much civic amenities.

Allegation abounds that AWHO quoted the cost of its own project on Silver Sand Island at a higher rate than the turn-key project, and thus tempted applicants to the private builder's complex. Strangely, its own project should be far cheaper because the land cost was negligible when it was bought, and AWHO operates on no-profit no-loss basis.

Worse, the cost of both the AWHO projects in Kochi is more than the open market rate of several good apartment complexes in Kerala's commercial capital, according to complaints by serving and retired officers.

There are also hints of a possible conspiracy in Kochi, with the AWHO awarding the contract for constructing its Silver Sand Island project to the same builder whose building was earlier bought on a turn-key basis. It is alleged that the tender processing was flawed and there may be serious violation of norms, which led to the same builder bagging the contract.
Army Adopting 'Progressive,' AKA Tiered Readiness: Vice-Chief Campbell
Cancelled training. Deferred maintenance. Grounded aircraft. That's been the damage to military readiness from the mandatory budget cuts known as sequestration in 2013. Now the Vice-Chief of Staff of the Army says the service may have to keep many units at lower levels of readiness for years. This is not a short-term expedient but new policy.

"We're looking at having certain number of brigades at a higher level of readiness," Gen. John Campbell told me last week. "Many of our units will go down much lower."

"Some people would call that tiered readiness, where we said we never were going to go again," the Vice-Chief went on, referring to the Cold War practice where units not in West Germany or South Korea sometimes never received their full allotment of troops, equipment, and training dollars. "I'd call it progressive readiness."

A preliminary plan may be ready for public discussion within weeks, Campbell said. "We're working through that now," he said, as the service builds its 2015-2019 budget plan, the Program Objective Memorandum.

Campbell's remarks suggest new willingness on the Army leadership's part to shift it position on readiness, one that's been urged by many thinktanks.

"While Army leaders have avoided cutting readiness to every extent possible, it is no longer feasible under current budget plans – even before sequestration moves into year two," argues Mackenzie Eaglen, one of the think tank experts who recommended cutting readiness levels to guarantee the military's ability to develop and buy new weapons.

"There is already a readiness shortfall this year that is being funded through war spending and additional untold readiness gaps based on all the services receiving fewer resources than expected when Congress finally passed a defense appropriations bill for 2013," she said.

Eaglen, a member of the Breaking Defense Board of Contributors and a defense analyst at the American Enterprise Institute, said the "only silver lining is that some Army leaders have said the service is today the most ready it's been in four decades. This means that readiness reductions will start from an historic high point and be more easily reversible, if desired, at some point in the future."

As our Defense News colleague Paul McLeary reported last week, the Army is already rushing through a massive cost-cutting exercise whose recommendations are due, ironically, on September 11th; but the August 14 memo launching that effort instructs participants "to determine how best to allocate these cuts while maintaining readiness." (Emphasis mine). Now it looks like readiness is on the table too.

Before slamming the Army, it's crucial to remember that no military force in human history has ever been 100 percent ready, with every finger on every trigger all the time (or on every arrow, spear, or sharpened rock). In fact, "unreadiness is the natural condition of all forces," wrote Army officer and military iconoclast Robert Leonhard.

For generations, Navy and Marine forces have set sail, conducted operations, and then come home again to refit the ships and rest the men. In the Army, for over a decade of war, the service has run its brigades through a regular cycle called "Army Force Generation," ARFORGEN: a "reset" period on coming home from war to rest, reorganize, and absorb new personnel; a training period during which readiness steadily climbed; and finally a period of full readiness and deployment.

But ARFORGEN as we know it is probably going away. Each unit's level of readiness will still cycle up and down over time, but some active-duty brigades will no longer reach maximum readiness at any point in their cycle.

Eaglen believes Campbell is being realistic in getting rid of ARFORGEN.

"The next realization will be that the Army simply cannot afford to keep a post-9/11 operational reserve as planned. So not only will ARFORGEN be thrown out but a return to a strategic reserve is likely raising a whole new set of questions for a modern force that has not signed up to be garrisoned the majority of the time. The Vice Chief is appropriately focused on setting realistic expectations now for those currently serving. He'll have to do the same for future enlistees soon and talk about how the Army is going to have to change its contract with soldiers going forward if sequestration sticks for the remainder of the decade," she says.

Units bound for high-risk areas – such as Afghanistan or South Korea – will always be fully ready, Campbell emphasized, as will the "Global Response Force" of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg. Beyond that, he said, the service will maintain "a certain amount of armor, infantry, Stryker, combat aviation, [etc.] at a different tier of readiness" for (relatively) rapid response to contingencies. The rest of the Army will have fewer resources, although it's not clear whether that means less training, less equipment, fewer personnel, or a combination of all three. Nor has the Army decided how much of each type of unit will be at each level.

"We're going to adjust how we look at readiness," Campbell said. "We know that we're going to have issues here for a couple of years."

Keeping some units at a lower – and therefore less expensive – level of units probably strikes Army leaders as better than not keeping those units at all. The Army is already shrinking by 80,000 troops and eliminating 13 brigade headquarters, though the remaining brigades will be bigger, and Campbell is counting on further cuts. How far? "I fear… that we're also going to downsize to levels we've never seen before," Campbell said. "There's talk about bringing the Army down to levels that are pre-World War II."

Those cuts would come to both the regular active-duty Army – the full-time troops – and the "reserve component," the Army Reserve and National Guard personnel who have full-time civilian jobs but train a minimum of 39 days a year. Army leaders have preserved the Reserve and Guard from personnel cuts so far but warn full sequestration would force reserve component to shrink too. That's another set of tradeoffs Army leaders are looking at, and a particularly tricky one: The balance between active and reserve has been a bitterly contested question in the past and looks likely to flare up again as budget pressures mount.

"Progressive" readiness further complicates the active-reserve question. Army leaders argue that only the full time, active-duty force, with a few select reserve "enablers," can respond rapidly to crises – meeting what Campbell calls "early-on requirements" – while National Guard combat brigades provide "strategic depth" for prolonged conflicts but take longer to spin up. If some active-duty units are kept at relatively low readiness, however, that blurs the old distinction between active brigades and Guard.

A nuanced answer could be a continuum: the 82nd Airborne and units in combat zones ready to go at all times; a second echelon of the active-duty Army and select reserve component forces ready to go in days or weeks; a third echelon ready to go in weeks or months; and the big Guard brigades coming in last but hardly least. Nuanced answers, however, rarely win out in Washington.

Nor are the nuances easy to convey to Army soldiers in the field and at bases around the country. "With this unprecedented level of uncertainty out there, I've got to make sure they understand that we do have a plan," Campbell told me. "Otherwise it's all doom and gloom."

"What I try to tell people is you're part of the best army in the world," he said. "It's going to be smaller, but it's still going to be the best."

Dan Goure, a defense expert at the Lexington Institute here, says Campbell's remarks make it clear the Army had no choice but to adopt tiered readiness. "We have essentially priced ourselves out of the ability to field an all-volunteer force with modern equipment. On the current trajectory, fixed personnel costs will consume the entire procurement portion of the defense budget within a decade. Tiered readiness is just the first step toward a return to the pre-WWII mobilization-based Army," he said in an email.

Nevertheless, many analysts and soldiers are deeply skeptical that the era of large standing armies is over, no matter what the administration's 2012 defense strategic guidance says. A conference is convening this week at Fort Belvoir, south of Washington, to discuss "strategic landpower," Gen. Odierno's effort to enlist the Marine Corps and Special Operations Command in a united intellectual (and budgetary) front against the idea that air, sea, space, and cyber warfare can do it all. (I'll be attending). One young enlisted soldier, though, has already put the argument in blunt terms, Gen. Campbell said.

"My son's a specialist in the 101st [Airborne Division], getting ready to do another deployment to Afghanistan," Campbell told me. When the general talked with his son about maybe getting out of the Army and going back to school now that the war is winding down, the son replied (as Gen. Campbell recounts it), "Dad, I think there's going to be plenty of work in the future. Look at the world we live in."
Army to raise porter company in Arunachal
ITANAGAR: The Indian Army is planning to raise a porter company consisting of 600 porters to cater to its requirements in western Arunachal Pradesh. The region has a tough terrain and many areas don't have motorable roads, so porters are necessary to carry essentials and other items required by the army.

The Army's 19 Grenadier has been nominated to raise a porter company for which a special recruitment rally would be organized from September 9 to 15 at Bogdo in West Siang district, official sources informed here Sunday. Candidates from Arunachal Pradesh as well as outside the state can participate in the recruitment drive.

Meanwhile, the West Siang district headquarters, Aalo, is getting ready to host an Army recruitment rally from September 2 to 8 for eligible candidates from all districts of Arunachal Pradesh.

In this regard, a meeting, attended by Colonel G S Chundawat, Commandant of 19 Grenadier and the heads of departments of the district associated with the holding of the ensuing recruitment rally, was held under the chairmanship of ADC Moki Loyi Saturday at Aalo.

Detailed arrangements for cleaning of the ground, provision of drinking water, electricity supply, security and sitting arrangements, medical facilities and other logistics were discussed threadbare at the meeting.

Later, the team of officials made a spot visit to the venue to assess the immediate requirements, and all the departments vowed to complete their assigned task by August 31 next, sources added.

A special recruitment rally will be organized from September 9 to 15 at Bogdo in West Siang district by the Army's 19 Grenadier.

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