MilBlog Conference 2011 (MBC) - 3

LTG William Caldwell (commander, NATO training mission) addresses us from Afghanistan.

LTG Caldwell is welcoming everyone. This is his second time addressing this conference - last time was as the commander for CGSC. He applauds each and every blogger for what they do in supporting the United States military.

Live stream up over at YouServed.

He's currently talking about infiltration into the ranks, based on the events in Afghanistan recently where US servicemembers have been killed by Afghan servicemembers. He's quite emotional and it's obvious that this is taking it's toll on him. I can't imagine. There is an 8-step process and a biometric database that aids in vetting the Afghanis. Afghanis are also starting to employ HUMINT and counterintelligence training in their effort to help weed out infiltrators. By the end of this year, there should be about 440 Afghani soldiers trained in these methods and serving in BNs and BDEs.

Question: What tools are we giving the soldiers over there in order to tell the stories of the training they are taking place in Afghanistan?
The philosophy is that there is nobody more informed than the soldier on point, doing that training each and every day. They need to be made to feel free to engage in whatever avenue of social media that they are comfortable with to share their experiences.

Question: What protections do we have that the Afghan soldiers WE train don't leak away and join the insurgency to use those skills against us?
There isn't an automated database up and running yet but it's on it's way. By employing biometrics we hope to be able to track those assets.

Question: per Pres. Obama we begin to drawdown in July. Will his command be immune from that process for the time being?
The command represents about 3% of the current force in Afghanistan. They have plans to be there for many years but are setting the conditions for the Afghanis to take the lead on the situation per the drawdown in 2014.

Question: What do you see the role being for junior officers in terms of social media environments?
We train them to understand the limits of the system - the ins and outs - what's appropriate and what is not. 99% of the American public have no experience serving in uniform, therefore our servicemembers are our embassadors. Use the social media to share your experiences but do so responsibly.

Closing remarks from LTG Caldwell.

I have to say, I admire this man. His support for social media is unwavering and clear. His support for his soldiers is beyond that. Our military is in good hands with this man. It was good to see him again.


- hfs

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