I’m Old Blue, a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom who has 27 months experience in Afghanistan in two tours. On my first tour, I was an embedded advisor with the Afghan National Police in Kapisa and Nuristan Provinces, Afghanistan. My second tour found me teaching counterinsurgency, or COIN, in Afghanistan. I had to opportunity to train military members and civilians from over 30 countries. I got to spend some time in the East, including revisiting Kapisa and Tag Ab. I also spent a lot of time in Helmand Province, mostly working with British forces. The thing I am proudest of from my second tour is being part of the team that wrote the COIN Qualification Standards that were signed by the Secretary of Defense as the tasks that units will train to perform prior to deploying to Afghanistan.
A Senior NCO with 29 years of service in the Army National Guard, I fit the “old dog” name I have adopted. I was raised in the Army of the Cold War, trained in the tactics of AirLand Doctrine developed to fight against the former Soviet Union and used to great effect in Operation Desert Storm in 1991. After all that I found myself in a counterinsurgency fight; so I had to learn a new way of warfare.
My quest in Afghanistan parallels my nation’s quest; finding a new role in an increasingly globalized world. The United States finds itself the world’s only true superpower, but with great power comes great responsibility, such as assisting developing nations to develop rationally. Greater security can be found in furthering good governance, development and the provenance of justice rather than in enforcing our will by force of arms. Unfortunately, until the insurgency in Afghanistan and Pakistan is quelled, these things cannot be achieved there. However, if the United States can assume the role of mentor, advisor and enabler of development, perhaps future conflicts can be avoided altogether. Insurgencies can be avoided and terrorism prevented from developing.
In the meantime, I will do what I can to help speed success in Afghanistan. I believe that success can best be accomplished through the adaptive and intelligent practice of population-centric counterinsurgency.
I am the father of four children; two girls and two boys. I live in Cincinnati, Ohio. My intent is that someday my children will visit Afghanistan as tourists, not as Soldiers.