Leadership: Safe At Home In Iraq


April 10,2008: One major accomplishment in Iraq and Afghanistan has been the tight security of U.S. bases. There have been only a handful of security breaches (suicide bomber getting inside). This saves lives, and also provides the troops inside these bases with a respite from all the violence outside. This is great for morale, and helps reduce combat fatigue.

Such effective levels of base protection were achieved through a combination of technology, technique and sheer manpower. The technology includes lots of security cameras, including those in UAVs and balloons (which serve as 24/7 UAVs). There are also many concrete and earthen (large plastic containers filled with dirt) blast barriers.

Technique consists of well thought out procedures for where to point the cameras, station the troops on guard duty, and for examining people and vehicles entering the base. Manpower, to watch the cameras, man the guard posts and stand by for emergencies, is obtained from several sources. For non-combat troops (those who don't go outside the wire to fight) on the base, there is lots of guard duty, in addition, or in place of, their regular job. Even some combat units get involved in this, particularly artillery units. There's not a lot of call for artillery fire, so the artillerymen have time available for security duties. In addition, there are civilian contractors (from all over the world) and additional U.S. troops assigned to security duties.

The security is so tight that the enemy rarely even try to breach it. Rockets and mortar shells are fired into some bases, but the American security forces often figure out ways to nail the enemy troops carrying out those attacks, and get them first.


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