MilBlog Conference 2010 (MBC) - 3

THIRD PANEL: MG David R. Hogg (US Army)

MG Hogg joins us live via video conference from Afghanistan. (and that's Hogg...pronounced "hoag" as in "hoagie")

If you'd like to watch the livestream for this panel, go HERE.

MG Hogg is discussing the situation in Afghanistan with regard to the Afghan National Army and their commandos. He says that the Afghan commandos have a less than 1% attrition rate.

The question has been brought forth about UCMJ and its implementation in Afghanistan with regard to the ANSF. MG Hogg responds that they understand it but the implementation is forthcoming.

Next question: what is the primary mission with regard to the ANSF? There was an attack in Kabul a few weeks back and it was the ANSF that went in and got it under control. In central Helmand, the ANSF were the first ones in that set the stage for the rest of the forces to come in - a highly successful mission.

Next question: How do you find/recruit for the ANSF? It's a combination of the Afghan recruiters going out into the population and recruiting, the elders in the villages recruiting, and different cultural methods. There is a new campaign forthcoming to target more recruits from the southern sector. Back in September, the recruiting numbers were about 850. In December, that number had jumped up to 8,000+ and overwhelmed the training program.

Next question: What has been the relationship between the people of Afghanistan and the ANA? The polls run in Afghanistan show a confidence in the ANA. It's all about being a part of Afghanistan. They believe in their country. The pay raise helps but there is a national pride that plays in as well.

Next question: What are the Afghan military leaders doing about the prevalent drug use in the ANA? It is a big issue. There is full medical screening and the rate of positives is about 5.9%. There are cultural differences that play in to this. Marijuana is not frowned upon like it is here. Anything else will get you booted but MJ use is not grounds for prevention of enlistment.

Next question: Any idea how the Polish soldiers are handling the tragedy currently playing out in Poland? Our hearts and prayers go out to them. There really isn't much more to say.

Next question: How much do forces differ from those in Iraq? With any Army, you're going to face similar challenges. I think the biggest difference you face is the tribal cultural issues. Trying to maintain an ethnic balance is an issue.

Next question: How many people in your command are blogging and do you encourage your people to blog? My boss is GEN Caldwell so yes, blogging is encouraged - both through NIPR and outside of NIPR.

Next question: Does the blogging that you allow include open dissent? I've not yet seen that issue come up. There are guidelines that must be followed but I've not heard any instances I've seen that have come up.

Next question: Is there anything that you can tell us from your level about the recent Osprey crash? You're probably not going to like my answer - I don't have details. And if I did, I wouldn't be able to tell you due to the fact that it's an ongoing investigation.

Next question: What sorts of enablers do you have for the Afghan commandos? What have they been trained on? And what's the down-the-road plan for providing them with aviation support? They are partnered with our SF so they get additional air support as needed. They do have lift assets, sniper capabilities, and uparmored Humvees. We're looking to maintain basic light-infantry equipment.

Next question: How has the infighting between our admin and the Karzai admin affected troops and mission? No affect on the mission. We worry about the things we CAN control. It has not affected our mission.

Next question: How are the ANA and ANP dealing with new weapons systems? It's still working. What we have not done yet but needs to be done is to get them the ability to maintain and repair those weapons.

Closing remarks.

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