How to Effectively Hide Your Valuables

Every home has valuable items that need to be protected from thieves.  In the past, this constituted things such as money, jewelry, and antiques.  With the frightening rise in identity theft, however, people are now concerned with hiding passports, birth certificates, and other important pieces of identification.  While everyone will have some strategy for hiding their valuables, most of these tactics are incredibly ineffective.

A Good Hiding Place

People have been hiding valuables in a variety of ways for centuries.  The classic hiding spot is inside of a mattress, in the back of a drawer, or even in a secret compartment in the wall.  Modern options have included things such as fake cans of food in which items can be hidden or even fake books that hide in plain sight.

The major problem with these is that professional thieves know all of these tricks.  They can spot a fake can of food, will empty every drawer, and pull every book off a shelf because they know people hide things this way.  Worse yet, thieves are only one concern.  A major fire can quickly destroy even the most well hidden valuable.

A Home Safe

Home safes are a much better option but they aren’t without their own problems.  A safe needs to be fireproof and, if possible, waterproof as well.  This will keep everything protected in the event of a disaster.  They also need to be well constructed with a complex lock that is not easy to beat.

While these may be easy to come by, one thing many people fail to consider is the size and weight of the safe.  It needs to be significantly heavy or someone can simply steal the entire safe.  A small, lightweight safe is actually making a thief’s job easier.  The problem, of course, is that such a large and heavy safe is often extremely expensive.

Safety Deposit Boxes

Safety deposit boxes are a wonderful option because they fit all of the above criteria.  To begin with, they aren’t even located in your home.  If someone were to break in, or if there is a catastrophe of some sort, your valuables are safely tucked away in a different location.

Secondly, a safety box is located in the strongest and most secure safe you can possibly find.  Most are found within a bank vault that is protected by an array of high tech security systems.  Breaking into your deposit box would require breaking into a full-fledged bank vault.

What makes a private safety deposit box so great, however, is that it is a surprisingly affordable option.  Boxes of all sizes can be rented for a truly insignificant fee and can be used to store anything you’d like.

If you still hide your valuables in your home or rely on a small, poorly made home safe, you should consider renting a safety deposit box.  It’s impossible to put a price on peace of mind and nothing can help you sleep better than knowing that all of your most important items are safely tucked away in a vault that even a nuclear bomb could not open.

Bio:

St. James’ provides high security storage and safe deposit boxes in the centre of Manchester for your cash and other valuables.

 

National Stock Numbers Parts

AeroBase Group is a small, minority woman-owned business (Cage Code 74B05) that provides parts and supplies to the international aerospace and defense industries. As a minority woman-owned small business, we qualify under the WOSB program of the Small Business Administration for award of federal contracts in WOSB industries. The company NAICS code is 423860.

Our senior management team is highly qualified and proven, having worked together as a team for more than seven years. Together, we have over 140 years of combined experience and the complementary education necessary to develop a company that will have an industry-beating margin performance.

This same proven team, which has led us through unparalleled growth and expansion in one of our country’s worst economic downturns in two decades, now accepts the challenge of leading our branches and programs. Through our talent-rich middle management team, we will launch into our next period of growth and expansion. Our senior management team leads by example, demonstrating our culture and values to our current and future associates.

AeroBase Group (ABG) has developed a patent-pending software technology, designed by ABG’s Founder, Thomas Corrao. This software is multi-functional and delivers critical information in real time, tracking available inventory from more than 50,000 suppliers around the world. The software simultaneously examines the demand for this inventory throughout the industry, among both potential and current customers. Customers include the United States government, international militaries, and commercial businesses.

Benefit to Customers – AeroBase Group feels it is our responsibility to support the U.S. and our allied forces during times of war, humanitarian aid, and peacekeeping events. Whether the need is a quick immediate response or long term support, ABG can provide a solution that meets our customer’s requirements by leveraging our global supply network resources to ensure the mission’s success.

Broad Supplies and Services – In addition to aviation equipment and parts, ABG supplies defense parts, ground support equipment and military parts. The Company also carries aftermarket, OEM, manufacturer, and government excess surplus, and PMA parts. ABG provides value-added services like sourcing and procurement of customers’ part requirements.

In today’s aviation and defense industries, locating the parts needed and having a vendor deliver them on time is critical. ABG’s software can simultaneously compare prices and delivery costs between suppliers to secure the most advantageous pricing for its customers.

Broad Supplies and Services

In addition to aviation equipment and parts, ABG supplies defense parts, ground support equipment and military parts. The Company also carries aftermarket, OEM, manufacturer, and government excess surplus, and PMA parts. ABG provides value-added services like sourcing and procurement of customers’ part requirements.

Besides the technology-driven business of locating hard-to-find parts, the Company is also involved in the following businesses:

MRO – Maintenance, repair and operations – We deliver maintenance, repair and overhaul services through a broad network of MRO shops and capabilities.

In stock parts and supplies / government surplus – Our global warehouses and supply chain networks keep your aircraft and equipment running at peak performance without increasing your maintenance costs.

Government contracting – Through government contracts, we are able to offer total-concept solutions to the maintenance, repair and overhaul needs of aircraft and maritime fleets, as well as ground support equipment.

Aircraft parts dismantling – Aircraft Teardown – By dismantling parts from salvaged aircraft, we can identify components that still have many hours of usable flight time left in them. This way, aircraft maintenance costs can be decreased through the use of parts that otherwise would have been relegated to an aircraft graveyard.

The parts provided by AeroBase Group are designed to help lower the expense of maintenance and development. Both government and commercial entities are suffering from budget cuts and expense reviews, and the use of AeroBase Group can assist in decreasing expenses by repairing and refurbishing existing aircraft as opposed to building or acquiring new ones. The inventory that is available through AeroBase Group consists of certified products that hold the same qualifications as if they came directly from the manufacturer. AeroBase Group carries more than 100,000 line items.

NSN Catalog

AeroBase Group, Inc.

624 Atlantis Rd

Melbourne, FL 32904

Phone: 321-802-5889

www.buyaircraftparts.com

 

Why Use Silicone F4 Tape?

With so many different kinds of tapes on the market it is really hard to choose the right one. In the recent period adhesive tapes are getting really popular because they are known for their durability. They are coated with an adhesive and different manufacturers use different types of adhesives.

One of the latest types of quality adhesive tapes is the silicone f4 tape. As the name suggest the adhesive used on this tape is silicone. This tape is using self-infused silicone formula that shortens the time for bonding. It takes several seconds to create a long lasting seal.

This tape is used in the military (especially in the Air Force – F4 airplanes) and that’s why it is also known as military tape. Silicone F4 tape can absorb up to 8.000 Volts per layer which is amazing and just enough to isolate any normal power source.

Furthermore, thanks to the silicone this tape is very elastic and flexible so you can place it on any surface. The new silicone formula makes this silicone military tape superior compared to any other product of this type.

What is great about this tape is that despite being long lasting and fast bonding it is not sticky at all. It is also resistant to fuels, oils and other dangerous chemicals. It is designed much like triangular guideline tape which means that the center is a little bit thicker than the edges.

Silicone F4 tape is a product that can be used anywhere in your house (from fixing pipes to isolation of electrical wires), office or any other place that needs quality tape.

How does a PTZ Camera Differ from a Non-PTZ Camera and Do You Need It?

Any security surveillance system can benefit from incorporating a PTZ camera or two into the design. Whether you install all PTZ cameras or a combination of PTZ cameras alongside fixed focus models, there are definite functional differences to review. So I guess I have given the answer to the “do you need it” question, but let’s see what you actually get with one of these.

Pan Tilt Zoom cameras can pan left and right, tilt up and down and zoom in and out. Their movement is controlled via joystick, be it a locally connected joystick or through the Internet with a mobile phone application or computer. These advanced features are preferred when seeking to install a surveillance system that will overcome the limited viewing issues you encounter when using standard stationary cameras alone. Limited viewing obstacles can always be solved when you invest in a PTZ camera instead.

Initially, you would just need to monitor the PTZ camera’s viewing area and adjust the scanning as needed in order to capture all of the areas you desire. After you dedicate some time to set them up, you’ll have a high quality surveillance system in place to protect your people and property.

If your looking for even more advanced monitoring protocols, you could consider an auto tracking PTZ camera. Auto Tracking PTZ cameras come with software that enables the camera to track all, or specific movements and even zoom on that movement until it is out of viewing range if you choose. The auto-tracking feature enables you to cover a lot of ground without having to physically monitor each camera all the time.

Auto tracking PTZ security cameras typically cost a little more. If you cannot afford to install all Auto Tracking PTZ cameras, then I recommend installing them in areas that will require large expanses of viewing coverage that could demand up to 4-6 stationary cameras to capture. You can always blend your system’s design and use stationary cameras for minimal viewing applications such as entry ways, staircases etc. Designing a system that uses the appropriate technologies to monitor each specific type of application will ultimately save you money and installation time.

While some will argue that PTZ cameras are expensive and require a lot more maintenance than the regular security cameras, this is simply not the case. Keep in mind that PTZ models can zoom in so much so that you can actually read a license plate from up to 400 yards away. That’s quality and an advanced level of security you can’t ignore, versus the few dollars difference in initial investment cost. Best of all, once you install a powerful auto tracking PTZ camera, you won’t have to invest in additional cameras or contract security personnel to monitor the system.  Ok, so it is a little more investment up front, but you’ll actually end up saving a lot more money in the long run.

Finally, always be sure to take into account the camera’s resolution. The higher the megapixels, the higher the resolution. More megapixels mean that you can capture higher quality details during playback and live mode. Zooming capabilities should always be considered when looking to invest in a PTZ camera.

Houston Home Security

Finding a quality Houston home security company that you can trust often feels like an impossible task. People are very selective about the company they choose to install a home security system because there is so much on the line. The system must be without any possibility of malfunctioning or not working when you need it the most. But how do you go about finding a Houston home security company that will guarantee the safety of you and your loved ones? The best place to start is by going through Google.

Search for the local businesses in your area and then analyze their websites. I don’t know about you, but I judge businesses pretty hard based on the quality of their site. I’m not talking about having some fancy or complex design either. A quality website is one that I can easily navigate through and find exactly what I’m looking for without a lot of effort. If the company’s website you’re looking at is sloppy and you’re having a difficult time getting around on it, then this is not a good sign. You want to hire a company that is professional, organized, and who takes great pride in their work.

The reason why these qualifications must be met, is because of the severity of this service. These people are responsible for installing a system in your home that is designed to protect you, your loved ones, and your assets if an unexpected event were to occur. There cannot be any flaws whatsoever. Go with a company that not only takes pride in developing a clean website, but will more than likely also take pride in their work.

One last point that I can’t emphasize enough is that you need to willing to invest a good amount of money. This is not something you should go cheap on because of how important it really. Most people don’t realize, but home burglary is one of the most common crimes in America. Everyday you live without a security system, you are putting your family at risk. Don’t wait another day!

Bollards: A Security Measure That Has Withstood Time

In modern terminology, a bollard is a short vertical post that is used to direct road traffic by obstructing the path of a motorized vehicle. Historically, bollards originated with a different purpose. They were first used in the maritime industry and in that case it was either an iron or wooden post used as a deck-fitting on a ship. Sailors would use bollards to secure ropes for towing other ships. In turn, it could also be found on land as a place to moor the boat. In the 17th and 18th centuries, old cannons were recycled as bollards. The cannons would be buried in the ground with the breech of the cannon left above ground as mooring. Centuries later, bollards were still made to resemble that cannon shape. In England, officials began using posts to control traffic as far back as the 1700s. Of course in those days, they were trying to keep pedestrians out of the way of carriages. Images such as these are depicted in paintings and engravings going back to the 18th century.

Today, bollards are used to control traffic. They are often placed close together so that motor vehicles cannot pass through it, but far enough apart that pedestrians and bicycles can pass through.  Designating an area exclusively for pedestrians is another job that bollards accomplish. Bollards can be temporary, permanent or even retractable. Retractable bollards are effective as security personnel can easily raise or lower the bollards if a vehicle approaches an area that it may or may not have authority to enter. Access systems can be put in place and attached to the bollards to that a vehicle can swipe an access card to lower the bollards and enter the restricted area. When these retractable security devices are not in use, they can remain flush with the street and go unnoticed by the undiscerning eye. When they are raised, pedestrians will know to take caution as they will recognize they are entering an area where motor vehicles are present.

Come and visit our blog at http://deltascientific.com/blog/

You can find me on Twitter via @DefenseDavid

Desert tan Army combat boots

The U.S. Army utilize the battle dress uniform since the 1960s, when a hot weather jungle uniform was needed during the Vietnam War. This uniform lasted until the early 2000’s where it was phased out for a more modern uniform intended for hot weather desert climates such as that of the Middle East. Desert tan Army combat boots were first introduced during operation Desert Storm in 1991. Soldiers needed a highly breathable lightweight boot that would protect them from the harsh working environment of the hot dry desert. These boots were made by several different manufacturers which produce them in hot weather and cold-weather versions. At 8 inch standard military height boot was required for where with the Army combat uniform or ACU. This is the current Army uniform of soldiers and features digital camouflage that blends very easily in hot weather desert climates. The U.S. Army has specific requirements for military boots so that it provides it soldiers with adequate protection and durability for their challenging jobs. Army troops have to undergo rugged training outdoors witching tales intense physical activity such as running jumping crawling and rope propelling. A high quality pair of boots needs to be able to perform up to high standards and is an important part of each soldiers arsenal. Adequate footwear is a critical piece of equipment and is as important as a firearm, compass or other piece of critical equipment needed for the completion of a military mission. Top-quality combat boots are made by several large manufacturers here in the United States. All of these boot companies make military specification boots and adhere to all Berry amendment guidelines.

Foot Detox Pads Help Sailors Stay Strong and Fit

Foot Detox Pads Help Sailors Stay Strong and Fit

Sailors are faced with long, stressful hours of work every day they serve no matter if they are stationed on an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf or working on shore at a duty station in Norfolk, Va. Sometimes these hours may stretch to more than 24 hours if they have to stand guard duty or do similar functions that keep them on their feet for long periods of time.

Due to these facts, Sailors want to stay in shape and feel better so that they can be proud of the job that they do while serving their country. One way to do this is by buying and using Foot Detox Pads.

Foot Detox Pads Keep Sailors Feeling Better

One way to help review the toil on the body is through the use of Foot Detox Pads.  These Foot Detox Pads can help to get rid of all the built up toxins that many people accumulate in their bodies over time.  They work via negative ions inside the foot pads that give off infrared rays that travel through the soles of the feet to get rid of toxins and poisons in the body.

This is due to the fact that free radicals build up in the body, especially with Sailors who are working hard for lots of hours helping to keep our nation free. These free radicals can cause cancer or other illnesses and so Foot Detox Pads can help Sailors to stay healthy and strong to meet the challenges of Navy life.

Benefits of Foot Detox Pads

Some of the Benefits of Foot Detox Pads are:

  • Users get more energy and increase their endurance
  • Foot Detox Pads help to regulate the body’s pH balance
  • They reduce the wearer’s stress levels and anxiety
  • They help the wearer’s immune system get stronger, thus they get fewer illnesses like flu, colds, etc.
  • Help wearer get a better memory and enhances their concentration
  • Wearers get less migraines or headaches
  • Wearer’s blood circulation improves
  • Wearers get more REM and better sleep
  • Wearers get pain relief
  • Blood oxygen levels in wearers goes up

The bottom line is that Sailors in the Navy have a very hard job that requires them to be on their feet for hours at a time. Therefore, they can benefit from the advantages of wearing Foot Detox Pads to help them to be stronger and fitter and be able to last longer and feel better in the process.

Military Housing – on or off base?

Military Housing – on or off base?

This is a hot topic for many service men and women with families looking for a ‘normal life’.  Many families are choosing off-base housing to take advantage of an escape from military life.  It’s a chance to meet people off the base and outside of the military chatter.

At some military bases, the decision is easy.  Some bases are older and their infrastructure is lacking.  Other bases lack of off-site options and it is a struggle for service men to find a good community for their family.

We looked at Camp Le Jeune in North Carolina to see what people are saying.   Camp Le Jeune offers some of the best options for military housing – clean, new homes – some with spacious yards and easy access to waterfront amenities.  But like any military base, there are pros and cons to on-base housing options that are not unique to this one location.  Some military personnel have a different idea for how their family lives while they are on the front lines and look at outlying communities for this.

Bogue Watch is one of the most popular off-base housing options near Camp Le Jeune. The community is located about 35 minutes from the base, but offers family a break from the everyday military life and fulfills the lifestyle options families are looking for.  Specifically at this off-base community, there is a clubhouse, pools, boating areas and places to explore.

We spoke to the sales team at Bogue Watch who agreed – “Camp Le Jeune has good options for on-base housing, but sometimes people just want more” said one of the team.  “Life can be consumed by the demands on a military family and a lot of our residents are seeking that escape.”

One of the service men who now lives off-base mentioned that when you live on-base you are often the first to get called in.  The closer the better is the motto sometimes.  Having that added responsibility along with the lack of privacy and freedom can come at a big price to the families.  The servicemen and women sign up for the disruption in daily life, but often the families do not.

It seems developers like the team at Bogue Watch is welcoming families who want to be a part of a community, want to be appreciated for their service and need a break every once in a while.  Who can blame them?

Sustaining a Fighting Force during Peacetime

Sustaining a Fighting Force during Peacetime

With constants of budgetary cuts and aging armament means that today’s military forces cannot just simply place vehicles and key components up for surplus auction. Maintaining a fighting force for all military branches can be a “wild goose chase” for parts and for keeping under budgetary levels. Fortunately military sustainment is becoming easier thanks to help of online manufactures and distributors of true mil-spec parts. If we look at the nightmare that is sourcing parts through other bases or national guard posts means that you have a better chance of finding or making the necessary parts from your local junkyard which of course would probably not hold up to the extreme conditions that our fighting fleet is accustom too. So the simplest and possibly even the least expensive source for military parts would be through a manufacturer that has certified parts that are aeronautical, marine or mil-spec grade. With fast national based parts sourcing you should be able to find the parts you need and get fast shipping therefore getting your fighting fleet back online. So do you and your company a huge favor and see what online parts manufacturers and distributors can do for your armored vehicles.

Mortgage Investors Corp

Mortgage Investors Corp

The fact that you landed on this very page is no accident. You are most likely here because you have a VA mortgage that needs to be refinanced. Perhaps you are just trying to gather information on how a VA refinance works when that day arrives. Before we proceed, let’s take a quick moment to reassure you that you are far from alone. There is certainly nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed of when it comes to saving money on your VA Mortgage. In fact, with interest rates at an all time low,  it’s a wise thing to do!

When you select a mortgage company to refinance your VA mortgage with, what qualifications would you like the company to have? Does the number of years that they have been in business matter to you? How about the quantity of successful refinances that they have under their belts? Before you finalize how you feel, let us throw out a few facts about a company called Mortgage Investors Corp:

  • They have been in the mortgage refinance business for 75 years!
  • In the last 15 years alone, they have financed more than 30 billion dollars in veterans refinancing!
  • Since they opened their doors in 1938, Mortgage Investors Corp has refinanced over 350,000 loans. That equates to a lot of satisfied customers!
  • There are  two main qualifications to enroll. Just two! You need to have a VA mortgage that is current and not be late on any of your payments. That’s easy enough.
  • Closing on your VA refinance can be super fast, and by fast we mean in as little as 8 to 10 days! If you blink, you may actually miss that closing period!
  • Look at a calendar and put a big dollar sign on the date that is 30 to 45 days from today. That is when the savings on your mortgage may begin for you.

Here is how we can best summarize the above six characteristics of Mortgage Investors Corp, or MIC for short: working with MIC is efficient, fast, and easy. You could be saving a ton of money on your mortgage in the very near future.  You may have the opportunity to allocate those extra funds toward other necessities such as your credit card bills, items for your kids, groceries, and travel.

MIC is a VA Authorized Direct Lender operating in 24 states across the country. When you call to set up an appointment, you will be assigned a local representative who will be extraordinarily friendly, knowledgeable, and competent.  He or she will be working beside you every step of the refinance process.

Why not improve your financial future today? The interest rates are incredibly low at Mortgage Investors Corp, so now is the best time to refinance. Call them today at 866-659-2477.

 

Austin Security Officers

Austin Security Officers

Let’s face it, Austin and the rest of the world is a dangerous place and anything can happen.  Many bad actions can be prevented by hiring a good security company with good security officers, however.  Austin Security Officers work to eliminate risk and protect people and property from illegal actions.  Whether you need security for personal reasons or business reasons, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Many businesses often house important and valuable property and inventory that cannot always be totally insured.  A good example of this is a new technology that’s value has not yet been determined.  If somebody were to know of the potential value of this technology, they may try to steal it from the company.  A security company can step in and keep a constant watch while being prepared to take necessary action should a theft attempt occur.

Security officers are also important for important individuals.  Whether you work with the government, an important company, or you are wealthy you or your family could be at risk if others think that they could benefit from kidnapping or harming you.  Security officers are always alert and expecting the worst to occur which could possibly save your life.  If you’re in the Austin area and have reason for security, call an Austin security officer as soon as possible and start protecting yourself or business.

Flag Connections

Flag Connections

Flag Connections ( http://www.flagsconnections.com) is a company that is completely dedicated to paying tribute to our men and women who have served in all branches of the armed forces. Be it Marines, Air Force, Army Coast Guard or Navy, they have a line of products that pay tribute to retired and fallen soldiers.

They have a wide selection for American Flag Cases such as the American Flag Display Box ( for ex: http://www.flagsconnections.com/Burial-Flag-Display-Cases_c35.htm) that is made of high quality wood. It is made to hold a flag that is 5 feet by 9 ½ feet. The features of this cases include a glass front and hinged lid. The actual case size is 25 1/8 inches wide, 12 ½ inches high and 4 3/8 inches in diameter. This case can be engraved with a brass plate as an addition.

Military flag cases showcases ( http://www.flagsconnections.com/Flag-Display-Cases-for-3ft-x-5-ft-Flags_c32.htm) flag from all aspects of the military. The Air Force Flag Display Case fits the 3 feet by 5 feet Air Force flag. This flag can be seen flown over the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. and Air Force military bases. You can choose from various wood finishes such as Oak, Walnut or Cherry. It has a glass front and the case measure 17 inches wide, 8 ½ inches high and 3 ¼ inches in diameter.

Burial flag cases are used to honor our fallen soldiers. The Coffin Flag Case is made with solid walnut and is something that is ideal to be passed down to generations. This case is equipped to hold flags that are 5 feet by 9 ½ feet. The glass front and United States Seal are the impeccable qualities of this case.

Challenge coin display stands are an exquisite memory of time served in the service. They can be displayed in your home or office. The stands are shaped like a pyramid with three rows that are grooved to fit your coins. This makes the perfect showcase for a mantel, desk or coffee table. Each stands holds up to 50 coins and rotates around. The stands are 9 inches high and 9 inches wide.

Flagpole indoor kits can be used to display flags in schools, churches, homes, offices and courthouses. The kit comes with a 3 foot by 5 foot nylon American flag with pole hem and fringe. The 50 state stars are embroidered and the stripes are hand sewn. You have a choice when it comes to the topper of the flag pole. You can choose from a Metal Army Spear, Metal Texas Star, Gold Plastic Spear, & inch Metal Gold Eagle or a Gold Metal Parade Ball. These can be put on for an additional cost. The gold tassel and cord complete the ensemble.

A military shadow box is ideal to showcase all of your military mementos. The shadow box comes in your choice of Red Oak or Walnut and you can choose your background from the colors green, black, blue or red.

for more information visit: ( http://www.flagsconnections.com)

How hand held security metal detectors can protect your business

How hand held security metal detectors can protect your business.

 

Nearly everyone goes to work, and unfortunately, that means that you may not really know who is working where and whether guests are friend or foe. The amount of crime in the workplace is growing. In 2011, the crime rates in America rose for the first time in nearly a decade. Many businesses are implementing greater security measures to ensure the safety of their employees and guests. One of the most common ways to ensure safety is a security guard who wields not a sword, but a metal detector wand. Rather than cutting down threats, the security guard merely waves a wand around the individual to ensure that the person seeking passage is not concealing any weapons.

The mere presence of a security guard will ward off petty thefts, but those with a darker design will still aim to walk by without being noticed. If the security guard were to check every employee for weapons, greater threats would be exposed, and multiple crises could be avoided. Just adding one metal detector could make all the difference.

Though stated as a wand, these metal detector devises use no magic but science to detect guns, knives, and other metals. The user may consider the metal detector to be magic as some can distinguish between small and large pieces of metal, and others can even detect small metals that have been swallowed. For those businesses that sell fine metals such as rings, watches, and other jewelry, these elite metal detectors may be the best choice. If a person is thought to have stolen a valuable piece of jewelry, these metal detectors can verify his guilt or proclaim his innocence. It is an easy way for a business to avoid theft that could cost thousands or more.

For most businesses, however, a simpler version of a metal detector should be sufficient. These have been designed to specifically identify weapons such as guns and knives. They often have a long battery life, and have been constructed to withstand weather The Garrett Super Scanner V is an excellent example. This model even includes a discreet vibrating alarm so that there is no unnecessary embarrassment.

Whatever metal detector is chosen, the security staff should be well-trained and have proper instruction before using one. Rick was a security guard at a local office. He was always punctual, neat, and paid attention. Every person who walked through the door was checked by Rick, the security guard. Rick would pass the security scanner over the sides and the front and the back, and then let the man through. Rick had no idea that he was missing large areas until a man with a gun took the whole building hostage. Every metal detector has a range in which it can scan for metal. That limited range must overlap as the security guard sweeps over a person’s body. Otherwise the security guard risks letting a weapon pass the screening unnoticed and his oversight could lead to a great tragedy. While tragedies in the workplace are increasing, the number of responsible employers is growing. A greater number of businesses are seeking the safety that comes by way of greater security.

The Federal Air Marshals and Security

The Federal Air Marshals and Security

 

SUMMARY:  Federal Air Marshals not only protect passengers from terrorism but respond to emergencies as well.  They carry a firearm and can arrest anyone who gets out of control on the aircraft.  Their job is very demanding and they must work on flights all over the world.  All suspicious behavior is reported, analyzed, and shared with law enforcement agencies.

Can you believe there were only 33 federal air marshals (FAMs) in the USA in 2001?  The TSA was established in November, 2001 by President Bush as a result of the 9/11 attacks.  At that time, services provided by FAM were taken away from the FAA and assigned to the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.  As of October of 2005, this agency was integrated within the TSA.

At that point applications for Federal Air Marshal Service positions came storming in: over 200,000.  Those who applied were screened and those chosen received training and certification.  FAMs no longer are working in just the USA, but around the globe.  To protect the FAMs, the number of them employed today is confidential from the public.

It is the FAMs who are responsible in making life and death decisions within seconds, even at 30,000 feet.  All travelers aboard are protected according to how FAMs were trained.  Because they do not wear uniforms, they appear no different from regular passengers.  Still they must be alert of what goes on around them.

So if anyone tries to cause a ruckus with airport employees, travelers, flight crew or US air carriers, they will be discovered and subdued by FAMs.  Because they are not in uniform, only the airline’s workers know who they are.  What they are assigned remains unknown to travelers as a means of thwart hijackings and other unwanted events.

FAMs are armed with a gun and can arrest anyone even if there is no warrant.  Still, they intend to use as little violence as possible to control those who get out of hand.  Their main goal is to make the plane safe to all its passengers.  Also, if there is a need for first aid, say one has a heart attack: this person will be treated by an FAM.

It is necessary for each FAM to be familiar with techniques of law enforcement including surveillance, interviews, and the act of asking suspects questions.  Part of their job is to make arrests, do searches and seizures, and run background checks.  Operating wireless devices, cameras, and other equipment unknown to the public are skills they must possess.  They may be asked to testify in court and take on private duties.

The job an FAM has is usually stressful.  Marshals must fly around the world and are out of town for several weeks at a time.  They are on-call throughout the day and may work long and goofy hours.  Their vacation time is limited and some might not be able to see their families regularly.  FAMs also work long, lonesome hours either at an airport terminal or on a plane.

Making international trips is required of FAMs.  They must fly even to countries that are involved in dangerous political or economic activities.  Yet, there are other nations that pose health threats as those that have inadequate sanitation of have tainted drinking water.  Even if we’re at war with a specific country, they might be required to travel there.

Conquering terrorist acts encouraged the Federal Air Marshal Service to go one step further.  Not only do FAMs find and report potentially dangerous activities both on and off air craft, but consult the Surveillance Detection System (SDS).  This information goes into a database which later is analyzed.  Law enforcement organizations use this info to determine likely patterns of potential terrorism.

FAMs can whip out their PDAs and bring up SDS data and other reports.  They do so as an attempt to stop bombers in their tracks.  All this info flows to others in the community of the federal law enforcement agencies.

This article was provided by Protective Technologies Int’l. PTI manufactures and sells security products such as the garrett pd 6500i.

 

 

Civilian Employees as Counter-Insurgents

In modern times, counter-insurgency requires all types of people working together to successfully combat insurgent problems.  Militaries, private contractors, spies, and even civilians often work together to accomplish important missions and counter threats that we face every day.  Military civilians can often aid in many missions in many ways whether the mission is to secure an important area, search for or track a target or threat, aid in public democracy, or gather information for certain operations and missions.

Military civilians often transition to civilian work after their term has been served in the military.  There are also many civilians with certain skill sets that can aid the military and Army without any previous military service.  Some different types of work that civilians do to assist in counter insurgency are medical, administrative, information technology, and much more.  There are also many civilians that work overseas to assist in counter insurgency.  Many civilians work overseas to rebuild old combat areas while others work security in dangerous areas.  Some civilians also translate and gain intelligence by simple communications with those who are threats or linked to those that may have knowledge of threats.

With all of the conflicts occurring in the Middle East and other vital areas right now, civilian assistance is needed more than ever.  For more information about gaining employment as a military civilian or how the civilian workforce assists those in counter insurgency, visit civilianemployment.net/.

2012 Top Shotgun Showdown – Best Of The Year

2012 Top Shotgun Showdown – Best Of The Year

With so many shotgun manufacturers and each with several models how do you pick the best of any year? Should we fall prey to new technology that has yet to be proven in the field or default to tried and true mechanisms and features that are common and reliable? Each year we ask these questions and analyze the field in order to determine the best of the year.

Beretta leads the way with their a400 XPLOR and its tech heavy grip pod that monitors shell count as well as temperature. While this is an interesting feature, few truly have need for it. Benelli came out this year with an Ultra Light 28 gauge semi-automatic. This gun weighs under five pounds, but is limited to a two shell magazine. Weight is important, but when you are already carrying extra shells, the two shot capacity seems oddly limiting for a semi-automatic.

Franchi came out with their new Instinct series. Gone is the futuristic look of their old line, the Instinct series shotguns are lightweight and look as traditional as an old Remington or Winchester from the past. Weatherby has their PA-08 pump action 12-gauge that is a combination shotgun that includes a barrel rifled for slugs. This affordable shotgun is interesting, but a rifled slug barrel should not be the factor that leads it to greatness. After all, we are looking for the best shotgun, slugs can be important, but should not be the deciding factor amongst shotguns. Browning is keeping with their target and hunting focus by introducing a new Browning Citori 725 OU. This is a nice sporting gun with a price that sets it above many others, two to six times above compared to the pricing of the competition.

The Mossberg FLEX platform is an interchangeable shotgun system that allows the owner almost as many options as are available for the traditional Remington 870. With the limitation that the Mossberg, even with its standard tactical look lacks the abundance of available and affordable Remington 870 tactical accessories. Winchester has a fun camouflage model with their new Super X Pump that can chamber 3 1/2 inch shells. If nothing else, this gun is clearly the winner as far as artistic impression, hardly the standard by which a shotgun should be judged, but fun just the same. Browning’s A5 now boasts a lighter weight alloy receiver, the problem being of course that their alloy has yet to have enough years under its belt for the user to count on its reliability under stress.

The Saiga 12 drum has undergone few changes this year and is still a standard by which other combat shotguns can be judged. Winchester has lowered their price for the SX3 and this may in fact be the highlight of the year. Winchester has taken this proven light, reliable, and durable shotgun and simply lowered the price. What was once a great gun for the price is now better at a lower price.

Of all of these the Winchester SX3 is the winner. It is proven, durable, reliable, and includes a 3 1/2 inch shell model. It has a special recoil pad and shoots clean and even under variable circumstances. It is by far the highlight of the year. Not for its technological improvements, flexibility, or artistic look. Simply because it is a superb shotgun that will serve any owner well.

US Afghan Surge to Begin This Week via afghanconflictmonitor

EXCERPT: “The vanguard of the 30,000 US troop surge to Afghanistan will arrive this week to fight a war increasingly linked to Al-Qaeda and extremists in Pakistan, the top US military officer said Monday.

Admiral Mike Mullen flew into Afghanistan for talks on President Barack Obama’s sweeping new war strategy seeking to turn around the eight-year Taliban insurgency, deny Al-Qaeda a safe haven and train Afghan forces. ‘The key part of that strategy was the decision to surge an additional 30,000 United States troops in Afghanistan,’ Mullen told reporters. ‘Marines from Camp Lejeune will arrive this very week,’ he added, referring to the largest US Marine Corps base on the US east coast.

A 1,500-strong Marine contingent is expected to arrive this week in southern Helmand, one of the worst battlefields, as part of a vanguard set to prepare the logistics for thousands more due in the coming months.”

Kashmiri dispute looms large in politics of South Asia via worldfocus.org

Ambassador S. Azmat Hassan is a former Ambassador of Pakistan to Malaysia, Syria and Morocco and Deputy Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations. He is currently an adjunct professor at Seton Hall University and is a contributing Worldfocus blogger.

 

Nonaligned India was perceived by most analysts to be largely in the Soviet camp during the Cold War. But the demise of the Soviet Union prompted India to recalibrate its relationship with the world’s only remaining superpower: the United States.

Another major factor assisting in this realignment was India’s embrace since the early 1990’s of free market reforms, trade liberalization and privatization measures. These changes opened up the vast Indian market to U.S. exporters and foreign investors. While millions of Indians are still desperately poor, around 300 million Indians have joined the middle class. Thus a new and expanding Indian market is opening up for a wide variety of U.S. exports, and U.S. investment in Indian industry and infrastructure has risen appreciably in the last few decades.

As a rising regional power, India is anxious to be recognized as a major player not only in South Asia but on the international stage. The importance of India to the U.S. was highlighted by the choice of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as the first foreign dignitary to be accorded the honor of a state visit.

A major impediment retarding India’s quest towards great power status is its perennial dispute with neighboring Pakistan over Kashmir. The two oldest conflicts on the agenda of the UN Security Council from the late 1940’s are the Arab-Israeli and Kashmir conflicts.

Despite a number of diplomatic meetings spread over five decades, India and Pakistan have yet to overcome the hurdle of Kashmir, over which they have fought three wars. For Pakistan, Kashmir remains the unfinished agenda of the 1947 Partition. For secular multicultural India, Kashmir is a symbol of its heterogeneity.

President Obama has publicly stated that the U.S. would help India and Pakistan to normalize their relations, including the dispute over Kashmir. The U.S. can help both countries. If the U.S. can persuade India to withdraw some of its forces on its border with Pakistan, this gesture would enable the latter to commit more of its troops now facing India to its lawless tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

While the Pakistan army has achieved encouraging gains against the Pakistani Taliban in Swat and South Waziristan, its counterinsurgency efforts need to achieve more success. Once the tribal areas are pacified, they will no longer afford a sanctuary to the Afghan Taliban and al-Qaeda elements that cross the mountainous and porous Pakistan-Afghanistan border at will, to attack U.S. and NATO troops fighting the Taliban insurgents.

So it is patently in the U.S. interest to invest more diplomatic capital in New Delhi and Islamabad. India and Pakistan have both suffered from violent extremism. They continue to be plagued by domestic insurgencies. Whether they admit it or not, they have a shared interest in combating the ravages of terrorism in their territories.

As the U.S. footprint in both Pakistan and India assumes greater depth, hopefully the U.S. will nudge both countries to consistently focus on a resolution of the Kashmir imbroglio. A mutually acceptable settlement of this issue should be placed on the same pedestal as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in U.S. calculations.

- S. Azmat Hassan
The dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir has been ongoing since the 1940’s and impacts security throughout the region. Worldfocus contributing blogger S.Azmat Hassan argues that settling the conflict there should be as urgent a foreign policy goal for the United States as working towards peace in the Middle East.
http://worldfocus.org/files/2009/12/th_india_kashmirsoldier.jpg”

Pat Lang: “Counterinsurgency – a much failed strategy?” via smallwarsjournal.com

Quote:


Some time ago I was asked to encapsulate my views on the afghan policy situation. The resulting summary is quoted below. Since policy has clearly gone in a different direction I feel free to state my view for the record. pl


Quote:


Conclusion
COIN is a badly flawed instrument of statecraft: Why?
- The locals ultimately own the country being fought over. If they do not want the “reforms” you desire, they will resist you as we have been resisted in Iraq and Afghanistan. McChrystal’s strategy paper severely criticized Karzai’s government. Will that disapproval harden into a decision to act to find a better government or will we simply undercut Afghan central government and become the actual government?
- Such COIN wars are expensive, long drawn out affairs that are deeply debilitating for the foreign counterinsurgent power. Reserves of money, soldiers and national will are not endless. Ultimately, the body politic of the counterinsurgent foreign power turns against the war and then all that has occurred has been a waste.
- COIN theory is predicated on the ability of the counterinsurgents to change the mentality of the “protected” (read controlled) population. The sad truth is that most people do not want to be deprived of their ancestral ways and will fight to protect them. “Hearts and Minds” is an empty propagandist’s phrase.
- In the end the foreign counterinsurgent is embarked on a war that is not his own war. For him, the COIN war will always be a limited war, fought for a limited time with limited resources. For the insurgent, the war is total war. They have no where to escape to after a tour of duty. The psychological difference is massive.
- For the counterinsurgent the commitment of forces must necessarily be much larger than for the insurgents. The counterinsurgent seeks to protect massive areas, hundreds of built up areas and millions of people. The insurgent can pick his targets. The difference in force requirements is crippling to the counterinsurgents.

What should we do?
- Hold the cities as bases to prevent a recognized Taliban government until some satisfactory (to us) deal is made among the Afghans.
- Participate in international economic development projects for Afghanistan.
- Conduct effective clandestine HUMINT out of the city bases against international jihadi elements.
- Turn the tribes against the jihadi elements.
- Continue to hunt and kill/capture dangerous jihadis,

How long might you have to follow this program? It might be a long time but that would be sustainable. A full-blown COIN campaign in Afghanistan is not politically sustainable.

W. Patrick Lang”

Obama’s Afghan Strategy via blackfive.net

He said, in 4,579 words what probably could have been said in 500 or so. The 40 minutes were mostly used to justify to the left his decision to send 30,000 additional troops to A’stan.

On the plus side, he made a decision. It took much longer than it should have, and, as I’ll cover further on, it isn’t a great decision by any means, but he did finally decide to do something.

Using the cadets at West Point as a backdrop (they seemed as enthusiastic about the plan as I am) he told the military that the reason this decision had taken so long is he owed them a clear mission before he sent them into battle. Yet reading through his speech, I’m still not clear as to what the military’s mission is.

Certainly at the level of Commander in Chief, you speak in much broader terms when describing a mission, than would a platoon leader getting ready to attack an insurgent stronghold. But there’s a point where ‘broad’ is sort of meaningless. The three broad missions I heard enunciated that I assume comprise the Obama strategy are:

1. Deny al Qaeda safe haven.

2. Reverse the momentum of the Taliban

3. Safeguard the Afghan people

The first is counter-terrorism. Joe Biden’s ninja and drone strategy. It is, I assume, the reason Obama decided to commit fewer troops than Gen. McChrystal asked for. The second and third are elements of counter-insurgency.

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US Tries New Tack Against Taliban via smallwarsjournal.com

Entry Excerpt:

US Tries New Tack Against Taliban – Anand Gopal, Wall Street Journal.

The US-led coalition and the Afghan government are launching an initiative to persuade Taliban insurgents to lay down their weapons, offering jobs and protection to the militants who choose to abandon their fight. While President Hamid Karzai’s government has been trying to woo these insurgents for years, the new program marks the first time that the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces are systematically reaching out to Taliban fighters. The tactic comes as the US prepares to announce Tuesday how many additional troops it will send to Afghanistan as part of a new strategy aimed at bringing the eight-year war to a successful end. US officials also hope America’s European allies will raise their troop contributions as part of the new push.

The Afghan government has had a reconciliation program in place since 2004, and claims to have turned more than 8,000 insurgents. That program, however, is widely derided as corrupt and ineffective. Insurgents were enticed with offers of jobs but rarely received the promised assistance, leading many to rejoin the fight. Western officials behind the new reconciliation program say they believe the majority of insurgents are fighting for money – the Taliban often pay their members – or personal grievances. Luring such men from the battlefield is a central component of America’s new counterinsurgency strategy crafted by US Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top allied commander here…

Afghanistan hikes police salaries (AP via Yahoo! News)

Afghanistan hikes police salaries (AP via Yahoo! News): “Afghanistan is hiking police salaries by between 33 and 67 percent, the Interior Ministry said Wednesday, to curb rampant corruption and boost recruitment in a force that suffers much higher casualty rates than the insurgency-wracked country’s army.”

Contracting for Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan via csis.org

DIIG Current Issues No. 16: Contracting for Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan: ”

The U.S. government has spent $153B in 2008 dollars on contracts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and their neighborhoods since fiscal year (FY) 2001, according to the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS). In June 2009, 194,000 contractors were working for the U.S. government in Iraq and Afghanistan, compared to 190,000 U.S. troops. At least 1,200 contractors have been killed in the two wars.

Center Looks Ahead to ‘Hybrid Threat’ Training via defencetalk.com

FORT IRWIN, Ca: When the National Training Center opened here in 1981, it presented the most realistic training environment imaginable to prepare troops for a potential large-scale, tank-on-tank confrontation with the Soviet Union in Germany’s Fulda Gap.

After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, NTC transformed dramatically to train deploying warfighters for the fight against terrorists and insurgent groups in Iraq, and to a lesser degree, Afghanistan. The Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La., conducts most Afghanistan-based mission rehearsal exercises.

Today, as the military begins drawing down in Iraq, the NTC cadre is looking ahead to what they believe will be this sweeping training center’s future role. Instead of preparing troops for either conventional or irregular warfare, they expect to train them to face “hybrid threats” that include both ends of the spectrum and everything in between.

That will require another major transformation at NTC, a post larger than Rhode Island deep within the Mojave Desert.

NTC long ago shed its Cold War focus, with a permanent opposing force that used Warsaw Pact tactics, dressed in Soviet-type uniforms and navigated the training grounds in Vietnam-era M-551 Sheridan tanks modified to look like the T-72 and BMP tanks.

The focus turned to counterinsurgency operations required in Iraq and Afghanistan. Troops deploying to the combat theater were trained in mounted and dismounted patrols, cordon-and-search missions, searches for weapons and high-value targets, bilateral talks with Iraqi officials and infrastructure missions. They also learned how to detect the enemy’s weapon of choice: improvised explosive devices.

As Iraqi security forces increasingly took the lead in security operations, the NTC cadre began training the new “advise and assist” brigades deploying to support them.

read more »

U.N. moves 600 foreign staffers in Afghanistan (New Haven Register)

U.N. moves 600 foreign staffers in Afghanistan (New Haven Register): “Associated Press KABUL — The United Nations is sending about 600 foreign staff out of the country or into secure compounds because of the deadly Taliban attack on U.N. workers, warning the Afghan government Thursday that international support will wane unless it cracks down on corruption fueling the insurgency.”

Obama nearing decision to send more troops to Afghanistan via miamiherald.com

Obama nearing decision to send more troops to Afghanistan: “The Army’s counterinsurgency manual estimates that an all-out counterinsurgency campaign in a country with Afghanistan’s population would require about …

Anti-terrorism training school to be opened in MP (New Kerala)

Anti-terrorism training school to be opened in MP (New Kerala): “Shivpuri, MP, Nov 5 : In a bid to counter terrorism and insurgency, a training school for security officials and jawans was in the offing here.”

Afghan Push May Threaten Pakistan via dodbuzz.com

Afghan Push May Threaten Pakistan: “Supporters of an escalation in Afghanistan argue that only a troop intensive counterinsurgency there can prevent a spillover of the fighting into neighboring Pakistan, a much more strategically vital country. CSIS’s Rick Nelson warns that an expanded offensive in Afghanistan risks pushing more militants into Pakistan, worsening stability there and ultimately hindering efforts to eliminate Al Qaeda.

The Problem With Training Afghan Troops (Time Magazine)

The Problem With Training Afghan Troops (Time Magazine): “Our troops have become excellent at building security and civil society in Afghan communities, but if the Afghans aren’t able to sustain the institutions we initiate, we’re building sand castles”

Saudi jets pound al-Houthi strongholds (UPI)

Saudi jets pound al-Houthi strongholds (UPI): “SANAA, Yemen, Nov. 6 (UPI) — Saudi forces reportedly bombed al-Houthi rebel strongholds along the shared border with Yemen in a sign of an escalating fight against a growing insurgency.”

Pak Committee calls for escalating India’s involvement in domestic insurgency to UN (Calcutta News)

Pak Committee calls for escalating India’s involvement in domestic insurgency to UN (Calcutta News): “Islamabad, Nov.4 : Pakistan Parliament’s National Security Committee has asked the government to rake up the issue of India’s involvement in fanning insurgency inside the country at all national and international forums, including the United Nations (UN).”

Southern war via bbc.co.uk

So far the wars of the 21st Century have revolved around insurgencies with nameless, faceless and often fearless fighters bombing, shooting and beheading with little care for their own lives.

Afghanistan and Pakistan show how difficult and expensive these insurgencies are to counter and how disruptive and divisive they can be even with ill-defined, non-specific objectives.

Thailand seems about as far from the Taliban as you can get, yet just a short distance from its golden tourist beaches and paradise islands, an insurgency has been raging for five years.

Someone is killed on average every day in the provinces on the country’s southern border with Malaysia, where a shadowy group of Islamist extremists are stirring up a deepening sectarian divide.

In just five years 3,800 people have been killed and more than 6,000 injured. But what they want is not totally clear and no group has ever publically admitted they carried out an attack.

They have no links to al-Qaeda and few ties to foreign organisations except perhaps a few cash donations to keep the Islamic extremist message of violence going.

Tens of thousands of troops have been deployed, and now civilians appear to be encouraged to take the law into their own hands.

Divided communities

At the local Buddhist temple at Trohgen village in Pattani province a class is being held for a group of mostly female community volunteers – but this is no religious ceremony.

 

It is a refresher course to remind them how to clean, maintain and use the shotguns they have been given by the government for their own protection.

“It’s getting more violent every day,” said Monthira Peng-Iad, a 40-year-old farmer.

“So many of my relatives have been shot and killed I feel bitter inside. I want to know how to shoot, so I can help people in the village.”

In a community in which Muslims and Buddhists used to live side-by-side in peace, her rhetoric shows how divisive the insurgency has been.

“It’s time to fight otherwise all the Thai Buddhists will be killed. We used to be friends and relatives but now we are divided. Now they see all of us as enemies. They kill us.”

Civilians targeted

One human rights group says up to a hundred thousand civilian Buddhists and Muslims have been given guns to “protect” themselves in the three southern provinces of Thailand, but this is a figure the military denies.

However many guns there are, the violence doesn’t appear to be abating.

 

At al-Furquan mosque in Ai Payae village, Narathiwat province, there are more armed men on guard outside than there are inside for afternoon prayers.

The group of 18 Muslim men were armed by the government but did not appear particularly well-drilled in weapons safety.

They were brought in after an attack on the mosque in June when gunmen opened fire killing ten people and injured 12.

Ayu Jeh-Ngoh was shot twice, once in the back and once in the leg as he prayed. He suspects the attackers were from a nearby Buddhist village, taking revenge after a Buddhist was killed in the area.

Others in the area suspect a similar thing, but nobody has been charged with the attack and they said the investigation did not appear to be going anywhere.

The victims are often civilians, especially teachers, who in the most dangerous areas travel to school on motorbikes in groups with armed soldiers as outriders to protect them.

Sukhon Deangchot teaches at a school which has already been bombed once.

“We’re really worried about our security when going to work. I’ve no idea who is targeting us,” she said.

Hearts and minds

Tens of thousands of troops are still struggling to contain the violence.

Thousands of auxiliaries have been trained and civilians have been armed or given radios and drafted in as spies on neighbourhood watch.

Lt Gen Kasikorn Keereesri is the Combined Task Force commander. He is trying all sorts of counter-insurgency tactics to win people over and isolate the bombers.

“The number of incidents is decreasing, but every time something happens it is more violent and it causes more damage,” he said.

“The insurgents have started to attack more in big cities now using car bombs which cause more damage inside the city.

“Our strategy is that we have to control the insurgents’ freedom of movement in the villages. We have to win the hearts and minds of villagers and make them side with us.”

It is a similar challenge facing American and Nato troops in Afghanistan and it is far from easy, even with their huge resources.

Farming courses are run to help poorer people and money is spent on other projects, but there have been human rights abuses carried out by some members of the security forces – something the general accepts has not helped, but says is now being addressed.

Both sides are being dragged into the division and instability which the insurgency brings.

“My house was burned down, my husband was shot dead, my daughter was shot and my son disappeared,” said Kuang Narumon, a 52-year-old Buddhist.

“We don’t trust each other now,” she said with a nervous, fixed smile. “We’re separate – not like we used to be.”

Afghanistan: Can the U.S. Succeed with President Karzai? (Time Magazine)

Afghanistan: Can the U.S. Succeed with President Karzai? (Time Magazine): “Good governance in Afghanistan has been identified as the key to beating the Taliban, and few are expecting the re-elected President, Hamid Karzai, to deliver. But Karzai knows that his life may depend on keeping the U.S. involved”

Confronting the Hydra: Big Problems with Small Wars via smallwarsjournal.com

Confronting the Hydra: Big Problems with Small Wars – Lieutenant Colonel Mark O’Neill, Lowy Institute.

Australia’s current role in Afghanistan is the latest experience in a long history of involvement in counterinsurgency conflicts or ‘small wars’. Such commitments may begin as wars of choice, but history suggests they can turn into wars of necessity, and their costs and political impact can be large. In this Lowy Institute Paper, Mark O’Neill charts the enduring nature of Australia’s problems with such wars. He concludes that, as a democratic middle power that chooses to wage counterinsurgency conflicts, Australia needs improved strategic policy approaches and capabilities to overcome a complex and many-headed threat.

The Rising Cost of War in Afghanistan via cato-at-liberty.org

As Iraq collapsed into sectarian fratricide, the primary victims were Iraqis. As combat rises in Afghanistan, Americans and other allied personnel are the primary targets. And the casualty toll is rising.

Reports the Washington Post:

More than 1,000 American troops have been wounded in battle over the past three months in Afghanistan, accounting for one-fourth of those injured in combat since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001.

The dramatic increase in amputees and other seriously injured service members comes as October marks the deadliest month for U.S. troops in Afghanistan.Expanded military operations, a near-doubling of the number of troops since the beginning of the year and a Taliban offensive that has included a proliferation of roadside bombings have led to the great increase in casualties. U.S. troops in Afghanistan are suffering wounds at a higher rate than those who were serving in Iraq when violence spiraled during the military “surge” two years ago. In mid-2007, 600 U.S. troops were wounded in Iraq each month out of about 150,000 troops deployed there. In Afghanistan, about 68,000 troops are currently installed, with about 350 wounded each month recently.
Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell acknowledged that the casualties in Afghanistan have surpassed Iraq surge proportions and noted that the violence in Afghanistan is directed more against U.S. and other coalition forces, whereas it was heavily sectarian in Iraq. “It shows you how we are the targets and how effectively they are targeting us,” Morrell said.

President Obama should ponder well the rising costs as he considers U.S. strategy in Afghanistan. First, what is Washington hoping to achieve, and are the benefits worth ever more American deaths and injuries? Second, whatever he thinks is the best strategy, are the American people likely to support it over the long term? There would be nothing more foolish than to escalate and plan for years of war only to be forced into a speedy and unplanned withdrawal as the public demanded an end to what it saw as a useless conflict.

Defending America should be the administration’s top priority. That means a strategy of counter-terrorism rather than counter-insurgency. However much we might want to transform Afghan society and government, we are not likely to be able to do so at reasonable cost in reasonable time. We should step back from the brink rather than take the plunge into the potentially bottomless Afghan abyss.

This Week at War: You Can’t Always Pick Your Afghan Friends via smallwarsjournal.com

Entry Excerpt:

Here is the latest edition of my column at Foreign Policy.

Topic include:

1) Why would ‘American officials’ expose their own intelligence source?

2) U.S.–India military cooperation: some rare good news in Asia.

Why would ‘American officials’ expose their own intelligence source?

On Oct. 27 the New York Times reported that Ahmed Wali Karzai, brother of President Hamid Karzai and a major power broker in Kandahar, was a paid intelligence asset of the Central Intelligence Agency. The Times’s sources for this allegation included “current and former American officials” including a former CIA officer and perhaps a senior U.S. military officer in Kabul. Ahmed Wali Karzai acknowledged aiding U.S. efforts but denied receiving any payments from the CIA.

The piece asserted that Karzai’s alleged connections to Afghanistan’s drug trade created deep frustrations with senior political and military officials in both the Obama and Bush administrations.

Did frustration and moral outrage with Karzai’s illicit activities lead U.S. officials to expose him as a paid CIA asset? It would certainly be understandable, for these officials may have a low opinion of him and perhaps by association his brother the president. But this collective outburst is folly and will make a nearly impossible task for the Americans in Afghanistan only that much harder to achieve.

The U.S. officials who exposed Karzai are likely hoping that with his status now public, he will no longer be useful to the CIA. Perhaps they are hoping that the CIA will be too embarrassed to continue paying him. As the New York Times piece discusses, some officials believe that if the U.S. really wants better governance in Afghanistan, it must begin by getting rid of types like him. They believe that for a population-centric counterinsurgency strategy to succeed, clean Afghan administration needs to occur concurrently, not later. By continuing to work with the president’s brother, the CIA was not cooperating with this view. Those objecting to the CIA’s alleged connection with Karzai appear to have used the New York Times in an attempt to resolve this interagency dispute.

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Colossal task via bbc.co.uk

By Adam Brookes
BBC News, Washington

The camera shows a group of Afghan soldiers standing on a cold dusty plain, listening to an American instructor. He is showing them how to use a new American rifle.

In many Afghan units, the old AK47s are being thrown away now. The new Afghan army will have new weapons: refurbished M16s.

The new weapons may be more powerful. In a firefight, they may give Afghan troops an edge over insurgents who use Soviet-era AKs.

But the new rifles are also unfamiliar. They require more maintenance, more care.

Nepotism in the army is probably one of the things that hurt them the most
Lt Alan Campbell

The camera shows the Afghan soldiers hunched against the wind, as the instructor talks them through the basics of the M16 rifle, through a Dari interpreter.

The film I am watching was shot by an American lieutenant: Alan Campbell, a US Army reservist in his late twenties. He trained Afghan troops for nine months.

His video is instructive. It exudes a sense of the colossal task facing American trainers as they try to assemble a modern fighting force in Afghanistan, one that can tackle the Taliban, defend the central government, and – one day – allow US, British and other Nato troops to go home.

When I interview Alan Campbell, it sounds to me as if he found the young Afghan army troubled and unsure. He says corruption was a “serious problem”.

“Corruption was big: money, pay, accountability for soldiers, accountability for weapons, accountability for sensitive items, vehicles, fuel, ammunition,” he continues.

“In the big picture, that’s a big problem.”

US officers have told us privately of equipment issued to Afghan units disappearing and US troops finding it on sale in the local markets.

They also told us about Afghan army vehicles that appear to get two miles to the gallon of fuel.

“Either there’s a leak in the tank, or that gas is disappearing,” said one officer.

There are pockets of brilliance and we need to expand that

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Diplos Get Their Own Armored Vehicles, War Zone Survival Gear via wired.com

As part of a push to create a cadre of muddy-boots diplomats ready to serve in conflict zones, the State Department is buying a fleet of fully armored vehicles — along with range of communications, first-aid gear and protective kit. The new equipment is supposed to help government civilians work where they are most needed: outside the protective bubble of the embassy.According to a recent post on Dipnote, the State Department’s official blog, the Civilian Response Corps — a newly created organization that has 50 active members, and another 200 on standby — will be receiving a fleet of 28 “fully armored vehicles” next year. “The vehicles will also be available for use by other U.S. Government employees supporting reconstruction and stabilization missions abroad,” the post says.

In addition, the Corps will receive additional gear to become more self-sufficient in the field: Medical kits, solar powered equipment rechargers, and office start-up kits. They will also have body armor, helmets and self-contained, solar-powered communications equipment packages to keep in touch with Foggy Bottom.

The Civilian Response Corps was created in response to the nation-building fiasco in Iraq and Afghanistan, where the U.S. military ended up shouldering much of the civilian reconstruction burden. Active personnel are trained to deploy within 48 hours; the standby corps is supposed to be available within 30 days. Civilian Response Corps members have served in Darfur and Colombia, although many have been tapped to fill billets on Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) as well.

It’s particularly interesting to watch the development of the Civilian Response Corps amid the kefluffle over Matthew Hoh, the State Department employee who publicly resigned in protest over the Afghan war. Diplomats predictably wailed that Hoh was “not a real Foreign Service Officer” because he had a limited, non-career appointment: The U.S. government has been rushing to fill civilian billets in Afghanistan with temporary hires because the State Department and other U.S. government agencies are not “right sized” to support the civilian component in counterinsurgency.

A comment by a Washington Post reader serving on a PRT is instructive:

Matt is a ‘3161′ State Department employee, a special category of temporary appointments brought on for 12 month assignments in certain areas of expertise– engineering, ag, business, rule of law, etc. Some may sign on for a second 12-month tour.This is a very different thing than being an FSO– a commissioned, career diplomat who is a generalist and is appointed not as a result of an online job application and single interview (sometimes over the phone), but after a series of competitive oral, written, and physical exams. Referring to Matt as a “U.S. Official” is about as accurate as referring to a postal employee as a U.S. official. The commenter adds: “I am not trying to denigrate 3161s or postal employees!” Um, no, but you are betraying a very acute brand of snobbery.

U.S. Quietly Speeds Aid for Pakistani Drives on Taliban (International Herald Tribune)

U.S. Quietly Speeds Aid for Pakistani Drives on Taliban (International Herald Tribune): “The U.S. has rushed hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of arms, equipment and sensors to Pakistani forces for the campaigns in Swat and South Waziristan.”