Military Analysis – In 3 Tacks for Afghan War, a Game of Trade-Offs –

Although not quite the trade-off analysis that it promises, since each scenario starts with different resource allocations, this is a good overview of what things look like in Afghanistan. The most relevant piece of information: there are only 5000 American and Canadian soldiers in Kandahar (21,000 sq miles, 1 million population) and 4000 American Marines in Helmand (22600 sq miles, 1.4 million population). Afganistan has a road density of 5 km/100km of land area, compared to 71 in the US or 300-500 in Western Europe.

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If Mr. Obama limited any additional American troops to 10,000 to 15,000, the military would deploy them largely as trainers, with some reinforcements likely in the southern province of Kandahar, the Taliban’s spiritual home. The neighboring, and opium-rich, Helmand Province and the eastern border with Pakistan, military analysts say, would receive few if any American troops and would remain largely as they are today.

Such trade-offs are part of the discussions under way in the West Wing and at the Pentagon as Mr. Obama and his top advisers debate escalating the eight-year-old war. And they drive home the basic point that while the numbers will dominate the headlines, what is really at stake is how to fight the war.

Here is a primer, culled from the diverse views of administration officials and military analysts, on the military utility of some of the force options before the president to bolster the 68,000 American troops already in Afghanistan.

via Military Analysis – In 3 Tacks for Afghan War, a Game of Trade-Offs –

Sorin Adam Matei

Sorin Adam Matei - Professor of Communication at Purdue University - studies the relationship between information technology and social groups. He published papers and articles in Journal of Communication, Communication Research, Information Society, and Foreign Policy. He is the author or co-editor of several books. The most recent is Structural differentation in social media. He also co-edited Ethical Reasoning in Big Data,Transparency in social media and Roles, Trust, and Reputation in Social Media Knowledge Markets: Theory and Methods (Computational Social Sciences) , all three the product of the NSF funded KredibleNet project. Dr. Matei's teaching portfolio includes online interaction, and online community analytics and development classes. His teaching makes use of a number of software platforms he has codeveloped, such as Visible Effort . Dr. Matei is also known for his media work. He is a former BBC World Service journalist whose contributions have been published in Esquire and several leading Romanian newspapers. In Romania, he is known for his books Boierii Mintii (The Mind Boyars), Idolii forului (Idols of the forum), and Idei de schimb (Spare ideas).

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