Procurement: Urgent Operational Requirements


: Defense Security Cooperation Agency

July 12, 2010: Britain is spending another $268 million for "urgent operational requirements." Most (85 percent) of the money is going for base security and secure (encrypted) communications. The Brits have noted that, while coping with the much more hostile environment in central Iraq, the Americans developed some excellent technical solutions to base security. There were very few (a handful) of breaches to the 400 or so American bases in Iraq, over seven years. So the British have a list of proven gear they can buy and employ for their Afghan bases. But this stuff is not cheap, as it involves cameras and radars mounted on portable towers or in tethered aerostats (special blimps). The Americans also developed software and communications gear to network all this stuff, allowing automatic sharing of data (including video and incident reports.) These security systems cover a huge (often several thousand square kilometers) around a base, providing useful information for operations outside the wire and for detecting roadside bombs.

The other 15 percent of the money is going for special infantry equipment (especially night vision gear) and weapons (shotguns) , or just more of some standard stuff that, the troops discovered, was needed (various types of machine-guns and long range rifles). There is also money for adding more protection to supply vehicles. An additional 300 troops are also being sent to Afghanistan, putting the British total there at 9,800.