Under Review

/ September 23, 2008 at 5:00 AM

The Times today has a must-read on Afghanistan, reporting on four separate reviews under way.

From the story:

The most ambitious of the assessments, run by the White House, begins in earnest this week with a series of high-level meetings, administration officials said. Officials have been directed to produce detailed recommendations within about two weeks for Mr. Bush's most senior advisers on a broad range of security, counterterrorism, political and development issues. Many of the dozen aides interviewed for this article spoke on condition of anonymity because the reviews are continuing.

Some of the issues being studied, including proposed increases in American troop levels in Afghanistan, have set off internal debate and could have far-reaching consequences for the next administration.

Meanwhile, Inside the Navy this week runs its own look at Afghanistan, this time with the focus on what it means for the Marine Corps:

A war-stretched Marine Corps sees decreasing its forces in Iraq on a "one-for-one basis" as the only tenable way to bolster its presence in Afghanistan and makes the question of how to deploy limited materiel between the two theaters a "No. 1" priority, a senior Marine general said last week.

"We are going to decrement Iraq on a one-for-one basis in order to build up in Afghanistan," Marine Lt. Gen. Joseph Dunford, the deputy commandant for plans, policy and operations, said in a Sept. 16 speech at a Marine Corps Association luncheon in Alexandria, VA. "There is no residual capacity or capability available to go to Afghanistan that is not currently either deployed to Iraq or preparing to deploy to Iraq." . . .

"How can we continue to properly equip Marines in Iraq and at the same time, loosen up enough equipment to pre-stage it in Afghanistan, so that Marines aren't waiting on equipment, that it's there waiting on them? And still at the same time keep enough equipment back at Camp Lejeune, ((NC)), Camp Smith, ((HI)), and Camp Pendleton, ((CA)), to maintain enough so that they can . . . conduct proper training before they deploy?" he asked.

"And I've got to tell you, I do not have the answers to all those questions yet," Dunford continued. "But among the priorities that we have, to be honest with you, that is No. 1 inside PP&O."

-- Dan Dupont

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