So What Does My Book Say About Afghanistan? – part 4

New police recruits, 28 June 2008 (photo and legend by William A. Lawrence II)

Continuing the discussion on Afghanistan drawn from fragments of text from pages 258-260 of America’s Modern Wars:

We received no substantive response to our briefing and meanwhile the war in Afghanistan continued. Finally in early 2009, we wrote an unpublished op-ed piece that said in part:

Right now, in Afghanistan we have very roughly 30,000 U.S. troops, 30,000 other international troops, 60,000 operational Afghani Army troops and maybe 60,000 active Afghani Police. The effectiveness of the Afghani army and police are open to debate, but the police have been losing almost 1,000 people a year…

This argues, regardless of everything else currently going on, that U.S. needs to to add between 30,000 and 60,000 troops Afghanistan. Anything less is too little to give us the best chance of a favorable outcome. At 60,000 more, this pushes the force ratio back to a more comfortable 3.75-to-1 ratio even if there is 32,000 insurgents and one does not count the Afghani army or police.

This is assuming that we fully understand the nature of the Afghan insurgency. If this insurgency is much more broadly based (i.e. based upon nationalism), then we are looking at even higher force levels required….

Therefore, we recommend pushing U.S. force levels up another 60,000 more for this next year while continuing to aggressively search for a political solution and while continuing to develop the Afghani National Army and the Afghani Police. If this increase and a potential political solution noticeably changes the conditions on the ground, then this has worked. If not, then in the long run we will want to back out of any major ground commitment in Afghanistan sooner rather than later.


In the interim, the Obama administration came up with its own response to the developing Afghan crisis, which was its own surge. Under this plan, announced in December 2009, another 30,000 or so troops were added as part of a surge, having reached the peak of the surge in the later half of 2010. They then set a withdrawal date of the middle of 2011, which they were unable to achieve.

So, more than five years after we wrote the February 2009 unpublished op-ed piece, does it still stand up? In the Report of Secretary-General of the United Nations for March 2014, they record that as of mid-January 2014 there were 145,199 Afghan National Police and 193,427 Afghan National Army soldiers. The “surge targets” were 152,000 and 195,000 respectively. So, this is between 193,427 to 338,626 counterinsurgent (depending on how you count police). This is certainly enough strength to counteract a force of 20,000 insurgents.

The U.S. force is drawing down and is disengaged from any active combat role as of 2015. The force peaked from about 100,000 in 2010 [meaning we added 70,000 U.S. troops] down to 66,000 as of start of 2013. Over the course of 2013, 34,000 of thee troops were to be withdrawn, with the U.S. involvement to end sometime in 2015. The coalition forces have already mostly left. As such, this Afghan force of over 300,000 troops and police is the primary counterinsurgent force for the future. It is certainly a much more impressive force than the 114,066 that we tried to prosecute the war with back in 2006.

On the other hand, the level of violence continued to rise during the buildup of the Afghan Army. This can be show with the reporting of the U.N. Department of Safety and Security (UNDAS) of security incidences in Afghanistan:

                                      Security               Incidences

Period                           Incidences          Per Month

2008                                8,893                     741

2009                              11,524                     960

2010                              19,403                  1,617

2011                              22,903                  1,909

Jan-July 2012              10,109                  1,431

16 Aug – 15 Nov 2012    4,639                  1,546

16 Nov – 15 Feb 2013    3,783                  1,261

2013                             20,093                  1,674


(to be continued) 

So What Does My Book Say About Afghanistan? – part 3

The old and the new, Soviet tank park next to the Dyncorp compound near Kunduz, 4 May 2008 (photo by William A. Lawrence II).

Picking the discussion up from fragments of text from pages 256 – 258 of America’s Modern Wars:

…if we use the figure of 250 incidents [per thousand], then we are looking at an estimated insurgent strength as high as 26,384 [in December 2008]. This is still based upon a performance that may have been better than what the insurgents were doing in Iraq! We are probably looking at an insurgent force strength that is greater than 20,000 and had been that way for the three years of 2006 to 2008.  

…Looking once again at our logit regression model, if the insurgency is regional or factional, then the counterinsurgency has a 93.1 to 96.8 percent chance of winning. If the insurgency is broadly based (national) then the counterinsurgency has a 28.9 to 48.1 percent chance of winning.

…So again we are back to the same two questions that we face[d] in Iraq, what is the size of the insurgency and is it a regional or factional insurgency.

In a December 2008 briefing [at NIC] I posed that question after presenting this data. I then asked the room full of analysts whether the insurgency in Afghanistan [was] regional or factional, or was it broadly based. I was concerned that it might be broadly based because:

  1. The insurgents came from the majority tribe in Afghanistan, the Pashtun…
  2. It appears that the open source estimate of insurgent strength was again low.
  3. It appears that things were getting worse.

At the time of that briefing, we had 110,790 troops there. The Dupuy Institute estimated insurgent strength between 15,000 and 25,000, with us leaning towards the higher figure. So if the insurgency was a regional or factional insurgency, then even at a force ratio of 4.43 to 1 (assuming 25,000 insurgents), we had an 84 percent chance of winning. Yet, it did not appear that we were winning. [bolding added for this post]

So, the question went around the table, and two or three people there strongly opined that it was clearly a regional or factional insurgency. There was certitude in the voices. I was not sure, but was not ready to argue it at the time.

The danger is that if the insurgency is broadly based, and there were indeed something like 25,000 insurgents, then at a 4.43 to 1 force ratio, then according to our logit regression model, the chance of the blue side winning was only 14 percent. To push the odds up to a more reasonable level of 80 percent would mean that we needed a force ratio of more like 15.5 to 1, meaning an additional 276,710 troops, and most likely the majority of them would have to come from America! Needless to say, as the U.S. was hesitant to build up to 160,000 troops in Iraq, then such a number for Afghanistan was going to be difficult to sell.

We received no substantive response to our briefing and meanwhile the war in Afghanistan continued…

(to be continued) 

So What Does My Book Say About Afghanistan? – part 2

Soviet Hind helicopter carcass used as a monument near Kunduz, 4 May 2008 (photo by William A. Lawrence II).

So the opening paragraph of my chapter (see page 253 of America’s Modern Wars) on Afghanistan says (after the infamous George W. Bush quote):

Afghanistan is an unusual case, as the central government (controlled by the Taliban) was overthrown in 2001 by the U.S. and their Afghan allies, with the U.S. allied with and helping the anti-Taliban insurgents! This U.S. then installed a new government and a new insurgency developed against this U.S. supported government. Still, the insurgency appeared to lie fallow until 2005, when the incidents and violence began cycling upwards and finally exploding into a full scale insurgency in 2009 that now appears to be difficult to control.

I then describe the process in some depth, concluding on page 255:

This left the U.S. and allies in 2006 with 114,066 counterinsurgents facing allegedly only 2,000 to 5,000 insurgents and suffering 65 U.S. killed in action (as opposed to killed from all causes, 65 coalition killed in action, 63 Afghan Army and a rather significant 412 [Afghan] police. Were the counterinsurgents loosing control of the war at that point, only securing those spots they most cared about, and handing over control of the rest ot the country to the insurgents? That appears to be the case.

From there, the war tipped rapidly out of control, with 2007 seeing 83 U.S. killed in action, 99 coalition troops killed in action, 385 Afghan Army and a stunning figure of 925 police killed. The following year was no better, with 133 U.S. killed in action, 125 coalition killed in action, 226 Afghan Army and 880 police killed. The years of 2009 and 2010 have only been worse.

So, what happened and how did the U.S. loose control of the situation? Unfortunately, The Dupuy Institute was not doing any work on the subject at the time. But, we do note to start with that the estimates of insurgent strength again appear low, as was the case with Iraq. In 2006 it was estimated that the insurgents had between 2,000 and 5,000 troops. The U.S. and coalition forces also claimed to have killed 600 insurgents and captured 1,200 more. This is pretty significant casualties if the insurgency only had 2,000 fighters. One wonders how so few guerillas managed to keep the insurgency going with such losses.

By 1 January 2008 the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) had upped its estimate to between 7,000 and 20,000 guerillas, which is much better, but when one considers that the guerillas had been doing over 6,000 incidents a year since 2006, it appears that the public estimates were still catching up with the reality on the ground.

In December 2008 we flagged this concern about guerilla force size in a briefing we gave. We noted that the incidents in Afghanistan were on the rise.  

(to be continued)


So What Does My Book Say About Afghanistan?

Tank park of Soviet tanks near Kunduz, 4 May 2008. These were left over ordnance from the previous war. (photo by William A. Lawrence II).

Now that America has lost another war, what does my book say about Afghanistan?

In 2015 my book, America’s Modern Wars, was published. It took a while to line up a publisher. I ended up having to give it a complete re-working. I do have a chapter on Afghanistan. This book came about as a result of work we were doing in 2004-2005 on providing a duration and casualty estimate for Iraq. This happened to unfortunately, be correct. See: Forecasting the Iraqi Insurgency | Mystics & Statistics (

Then we were contracted to expand our databases and conducted analysis on insurgencies in general. This produced some 16 reports. See I-3 through 14, MISS-1 through 5 and OSD-1 and OTI-1: TDI – The Dupuy Institute Publications

As people outside of DOD heard of our work, we were asked to provide briefings to the U.S. Intelligence community. We ended up with a contract with them (this is OTI-1). At no point in the process we were specifically tasked to look at Afghanistan, although it was one of the 109 cases in our database. Finally, we were asked by the National Intelligence Council to brief on Afghanistan, which we had never done any in-depth analysis of. The briefing was called “Iraq, Data, Hypotheses and Afghanistan (5 December 2008)” This briefing kind of mutated into Chapter 21 of my book “Relating a Force Ratio Model to Afghanistan.” I also will be presenting this briefing “as is” at a conference next September (more on that in January).

All of our work on insurgencies ended in 2009. Apparently, the DOD felt they had a grasp of the issue and did not need our support anymore. So we ceased doing any work on insurgencies after 2009. My book was written 2013-2014 and I did take a moment to update and re-examine a few issues; but, the book is primarily a snap-shot of our analysis and thinking up through 2009. The databases we were using have not been updated since 2008. I have tried to get contracts just to update the databases, but again no interest from DOD. What I would really like to do is update the databases, add in a few more cases, and then update our analysis. Again, not something I am going to do without budget.

So, anyhow, what did my book say about Afghanistan?

First I started the chapter with a quote (see page 253), which is probably a good place to end this particular post:

People often ask me, “How long will this last?” It may happen tomorrow, it may happen a month from now, it may take a year or two, but we will prevail.

–President George W. Bush, 2001, in response to questions in his first news conference 96 hours after the war in Afghanistan had begun.


Appendix II: The 39th Panzer Regiment at Kursk

Appendix II had a brief discussion of the tank losses in the 39th Panzer Regiment due to mines in our report on “The Military Consequences of a Complete Landmine Ban.” This is from It reads as follows:


Losses in the 39th Panzer Regiment at Kursk are confusing. On 4 July 1943 it had 200, and on 6 July 40 tanks, ready for action. But, a significant percentage of the tanks were broken down rather than combat losses. The regiment was attached to the Gross Deutschland Division during the battle. But it is uncertain whether the 20 tanks reported as lost to mines on 5 July were only from Gross Deutschland or included tanks of the 39th Panzer Regiment. We assume that it does not. The 39th Panzer Regiment was equipped with brand new Panther tanks that suffered from various teething problems which resulted in poor reliability. The number of Panthers available on the morning of 4 July is known (200), and the number that broke down during the march up on 4 July is
also known (two or, possibly, six). The next reliable strength report available is for the evening 6 July, when 40 tanks were reported operational. Some of the 158-tank shortfall was due to combat losses (including mines), but many were due to mechanical failure.

There are two reports of mine losses for the Panthers. One was a Quartermaster report of 76 tanks lost to date on 10 July. Four were total losses, 54 were mechanical losses, and 18 were “minor failures (with most caused by mines).” The other was an after action report submitted to the Office of the Inspector General of Armor Troops in August 1943 from the regiment. It reported that on the evening of 10 July there were 10 Panthers left “facing the enemy”, 25 total losses (including 23 hit and burned and 2 burned in the march to the front), 100 in the workshops (including 56 from gun damage and mines and 44 with technical problems). There were also 65 others being released or soon to be released from the repair facilities (cause of failure was not recorded in this report) for
return to the front. This report also stated that “about 40 Panthers were lost to mines in the first days…In one example a total loss resulted when flames penetrated the turret basket and ignited the stored ammunition…”

Since the quartermaster report for 10 July understates Panther losses at that time, and tended to lag behind the tank loss reports, it is assumed to be a partial report. The IG report giving 40 tanks lost to mines is probably closer to the truth.

For 5 July there are no actual reports of Panthers being lost to mines or being in minefields. Of the two battalions of the regiment, one put at least 30 Panthers across the Berezovyii ravine, and as a result, almost certainly took mine losses. Whether these were picked up in the Gross Deutschland report of 20 tanks lost is more difficult to determine. The other battalion did not get across the creek and probably suffered no losses to mines on 5 July.

The following day, they did encounter some mines, and also on 7 July and thereafter. If it is assumed that 18 of the 76 tanks reported as lost were all lost to mines, and that figure is used to account for all of the 158 estimated lost on 5 and 6 July (two them were accounted for on 4 July), then a total of 38 tanks were lost to mines. This is certainly the highest number that can be supported by the historical record. However, the actual number lost to mines may have been 10 or 20 tanks fewer.


There is a more extended discussion on tank losses due to mines at Kursk on pages 16-25. It covers the nine attacking German panzer and panzer grenadier divisions. Some of this made it into my first Kursk book.

More Conclusions on Scatterable Mines

Just wanted to pull up the rest of our conclusions from page 43 of the “Military Consequences of a Complete Landmine Ban” report. I had left this out of my last post for the sake of keeping the post sort. The entire report is here:

There were seven conclusions and three recommendations in the original report. I shortened conclusion 3 in my write-up yesterday. The full conclusion is here:

3) The banning of antitank SCATMINE systems is a more difficult issue. There is no question that there will be some loss of capability, although the degree is not easy to measure.

a) US Army ground and helicopter-deployed SCATMINE systems (Volcano, Flipper, and MOPMS) are fundamentally defensive in nature and are only assigned to divisions and brigades which do not have a robust anti-armor capability. Banning them would effect the anti-armor defensive capability of those units. However, the capabilities of these systems may be replaceable by Hornet. The advantages gained would be a reduced logistical tail (definitely a critical issue for future Army planning), a reduced threat of fratricidal use, and a reduced chance of encountering the same or similar systems in the inventory of opposing forces, a very definite advantage.

b) US artillery launched SCATMINE systems (ADAM and RAAM) have both theoretical offensive and a practical defensive use. Since the rounds in the artillery basic load have a four-hour self-destruct, it is effectively an anti-armor system with a persistent effect, rather than a long-term barrier system. Its interdiction value is short-term. To be used most effectively it must be used in conjunction with other antitank weapons. Therefore, a complete antitank mine ban may result in some reduction in anti-armor capability. However, the actual armor killing capability of RAAM can be replaced by existing systems. The main advantages lost are the capability of temporarily freezing an opposing unit in place and persistence of its effect (up to 48 hours).

c) US airdropped SCATMINE systems (GATOR) have utility in interdicting an enemy. There does not appear to be another weapon system that would provide a complete substitute for that capability, especially for long term use (48 hours or 15 days). The downside of that capability, as was found in the Gulf War, is that this system interdicts both sides. GATOR may also be useful in freezing an opposing unit, which is then attacked with other assets in deep battle. However, SCATMINEs tactical defensive value is limited due to the method of deployment and the difficulty associated with marking and recording their location. They may also have some offensive value in protecting flanks.


Again, this was a snap shot of the issue in 2001. We have not done any further work on the subject since then.

Mark Perry – part 2 (and Landmine Restrictions)

Last week author Mark Perry passed away. I had not talked to him in over a decade, but we worked with him 20 years ago. Links to articles on him:

Mark Perry, working with the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation (VVAF), had arranged to have our original 1997 report that we did for the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) on the “Military Consequences of Landmine Restrictions” published and distributed, along with the letters exchanged between TDI President Nick Krawciw (MG, USA, ret) to General John Shalikashvili, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff. This is discussed in our previous blog post:

Mark Perry | Mystics & Statistics (

That earlier report used to be on line. It does not appear that VVAF maintains its website any more. As dozens, if not hundreds of the report were printed and distributed, I assume there is a copy of in the Library of Congress, but it does not seem to otherwise be available. Of course, it can be ordered from us. I probably need to make it available on line.  Here some links to it:


SIPRI Library and Documentation catalog › Details for: Military consequences of landmine restrictions

The Dupuy Institute’s Research Study: Military Consequences of Landmine Restrictions by The Dupuy Institute – Paperback – 2000 – from Ground Zero Books, Ltd. (SKU: 52962) (

After that report was published, Mark Perry, who lived down the road from our office in McLean, Va., kept coming over to our office and asking us for additional information. This ended up turning into three small reports (M-3, M-4, M5).

TDI – The Dupuy Institute Publications

M-3. An Analysis of Rapid Mine Emplacement in a Threat Environment (1 June 2000) (VVAF) – Pages: 89

and two of these are available on-line:

Microsoft Word – M-4 Landmines in the Gulf War.doc (

Microsoft Word – M-5 Brief Survey of Mine Breaching.doc (

We do make a few of our reports available on line and I should probably make more… but this is an administrative task that is not high on my to-do list (most administrative tasks are not high on my to-do list): TDI – The Dupuy Institute Publications

These were all contracted for, although we insisted on complete freedom in research and results (which we always do), especially as we were doing work for an advocacy group.

And then he contracted us to look at a complete landmine ban (both anti-personnel and anti-tank). Then of course, there is a big different between “dumb” mines, and “smart” and scatterable mines. This report is here:


I gather a number of people at VVAF were pushing for a complete landmine ban. As we state in Executive Summary of our report:

“TDI believes that its analysis is accurate enough to support conclusions that a total “dumb” landmine ban, including all antitank mines of that nature, would make operational sense and should be part of the revolution in military affairs. Such a move would enhance US dynamic battlefield capabilities, would lessen the logistic burden, and may well reduce American casualties. For similar operations effectiveness reasons, the United States should also study the consequences of eventually supporting a ban on scatterable mines. That may have to be conditional on other major manufacturing nations joining such an initiative.”

And to grab the main points from our conclusions:

  1. The Dupuy Institute reiterates its recommendation that the United State support current efforts to implement an antipersonnel landmine ban.
  2. The Dupuy Institute is quite comfortable with extending the ban to include “dumb” antitank mines. Such a ban would not significantly reduce US capabilities. Furthermore, these weapons have already been effectively removed from US doctrinal use. The “dumb” mine is a weapon that will be used against US forces, rather than one that US forces will use.
  3. The banning of antitank SCATMINE systems is a more difficult issue. There is no question that there will be some loss of capability, although the degree is not easy to measure (more on this point in a subsequent post).
  4. If a revolution in military affairs is occurring, with the United States on the leading edge of the revolution, then the deployment of any conventional mine system is to our disadvantage. Fundamentally mines have more value to technologically inferior forces. They remain a simple, cheap, and easy means of attacking technologically sophisticated weapons systems while incurring little risk to the user.
  5. Because of the nature of most US operations, the US is more often on the offense in conventional warfare than it is on the defense. Furthermore, they are not weapons that the US, as a conventional force, would have much use for in a guerilla war.  It is not a weapon that the US has any use for in contingency operations, peacekeeping operations and operations other than war. The mine is still primarily a weapon of the defender and the guerilla. As such, any landmine bans fundamentally favor the US military and reduce casualties.
  6. The “Korean exception” appears to be a “red herring.” It appears that the prime reason for the US Army maintaining “dumb” antipersonnel mines in Korea is to stockpile them for South Korean use and that any planned use of the stockpiled mines by US forces is a very secondary consideration. Korea is not a strong argument for refusing to participate in a landmine ban.
  7. There appears to be a fairly clear dividing line between a mine and command detonated munition. Hornet and Claymore (as configured for US forces) would not be covered under a landmine ban. As such, banning landmines does not open the possibility that other US antipersonnel or antitank weapons would be lost in such a ban.


  1. The Dupuy Institute again recommends that the US agree to an antipersonnel landmine ban.
  2. The Dupuy Institute recommends that the US agree to a “dumb” antitank landmine ban.
  3. The Dupuy Institute recommends that the US consider an antitank SCATMINE ban.

.    The Dupuy Institute understands that this would entail some loss in defensive capability, and possibly a minor loss in offensive capability. Still, the overall benefits of such a ban to US offensive capability – lower casualties and a reduced logistics tail – could make such a ban advantageous to US armed forces. This advantage would be predicated on at least partial, but not complete, effectiveness of such ban worldwide. Thus, the US may wish to make its participation in a ban on antitank SCATMINE systems conditional upon the participation of (or the participation of within a set period of time) certain other major manufacturing nations (i.e., Russia, China and India).


Finally, amid all this mine work, we ended up doing a brief report for Los Alamos (a government laboratory). They had called to ask us some questions, and by the end of the conversation, they decided to give us a small contract. Marketing was so much easier back then.

The Los Alamos report is here: Microsoft Word – M-8 A Measure of the Real-World Value of Mixed Mine System– (

So we ended up doing effectively six different reports on landmines for three different customers (JCS, VVAF, Los Alamos). This was going on the same time we were doing our Capture Rate Studies for CAA (which makes up the basis for several of my first chapters in War by Numbers) and were starting first of our three urban warfare studies for them (also two chapters in War by Numbers). It was an interesting collection of work and we greatly appreciated the support from Mark Perry. Since 2001, we have not done any work related to landmines. 

Mark Perry moved on to other tasks. I talked to him a few times after that about Middle East issues, but his focus was now more on political issues and our focus tends to be more on the nuts and bolts of defense issues, so we did not do any further work with him. He was a very good guy to work with. Sorry to see him go.


Mark Perry (and Landmine Restrictions)

I saw on Twitter yesterday that Mark Perry had passed away. I had not talked to him in over a decade, but we worked with him 20 years ago. Links to articles on him:

Back in the fall of 1995 we did a casualty estimate for our proposed deployment to Bosnia for the JCS (Joint Chiefs of Staff). This estimate is republished in Appendix II of my book America’s Modern Wars. This was a short fuse project, and we turned it around in three weeks.

Apparently Lt. Gen. Wesley Clark was impressed with this effort so contracted us when the issue came up of how DOD should respond to the proposed international landline ban. We started the effort knowing it was short fuse, but was told a couple days into the effort that they needed the report next week. So we cranked out the research, analysis and subsequent report in 8 calendar days. The report was submitted to JCS in April 1996. I think we were paid around $30K for this effort.

Our conclusions were fourfold on an APM ban (anti-personnel mines):

1. What would happen if a ban on APM’s were universally observed?

This clearly favors the attacker. In most conceivable near-term contingencies, the US would be the advancing force; hence this would be advantageous to the US. Our present estimate is a US casualty reduction of 2 to 5 percent, if the campaign does not deteriorate into a US defensive mode. In the case of a guerilla war, the reduction might be as large as 20 percent, but the assumption that guerillas would observe such a ban may be correspondingly low.

2. What would happen if the US observed such a ban, but the opponent did not?

This clearly hurts the US – the only question is how much. A model applied to a Korean-type engagement, augmented by our historical examples, says the US would have suffered 3 percent more causalities. Fast maneuvering typified by the Gulf War could well exact a smaller percentage penalty. We may have a better answer in the next ten days. A really good answer might deserve 3 months or more.

3. What if the U.S. continues to use APM’s, but agrees any such weapons will routinely be promptly disabled or destroyed after battles?

From a purely combat viewpoint, this has the virtue of eliminating whatever increment in casualties would otherwise occur. Beyond this, this feature for APM’s can be valuable in combat.

4. What related capabilities can influence the combat consequences of an APM ban?

There are many, and a careful look at them might well greatly reduce the casualty cost of our unilateral observance of a ban. Improvements in our mine clearance facilities (of enemy mines) may be at the top of the list.


We submitted the report to JCS and the active duty Marine major who was the action officer in charge expressed surprise at the results. We heard no other feedback from JCS at that time.

Some eight months later, Nick Krawciw, the president of TDI, asked for the report and supporting material and then came up with a one page letter that he attached to the report and sent over on 2 January 1997 to General John Shalikashvili, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff. He asked him to: ”Please look at the attached page with four summary points which were added to our study and given to Wes Clark just before he left for his current assignment. In my estimation points 1, and 4. outweigh 2. and 3.. Therefore, I recommend that the United States support a total ban on antipersonnel mines. Our historical research, when coupled with probable future engagements, indicates that a total ban on this type of mine, if eventually adhered to by most nations, will only benefit the US ground forces in the long run.” 

Nick Krawciw (MG, USA, ret.) had served two tours in Vietnam, one around 1962 as an advisor and another up at the DMZ around 1968. There are pictures in my book America’s Modern Wars from his tours and the effects of a mine blast (now called IEDS – Improvised Explosive Devices) on the M-113 he was riding in.

Needless to say, his experiences in Vietnam reinforced the view that landlines are a weapon that is often used against the U.S. military and rarely used by us. Certainly the widespread use of IEDs in Iraq and Afghanistan has reinforced that picture.

John Shalikashvili did respond on 6 February 1997, saying in part: “Your study and summary points have been used on several occasions in considering this issue. Concur in the conclusion that the United should support a total ban on APL [antipersonnel landmines].”

The United States ended up not supporting the anti-personnel landmine ban, which I think is a mistake.

Flash forward four years later and suddenly a couple of people showed up at our office looking for the “suppressed DOD report on the landmine ban.” Well, it was not suppressed. We were never given any restrictions on access to it and like almost all of our reports, it was publicly available for purchase. See It appeared that not too many people had gone looking for our open-source, unclassified, publicly available report; and we were quite surprised to discover that people considered it “suppressed.”

Then Mark Perry showed up representing The Vietnam Veteran of America Foundation (VVAF) which was actively involved in supporting the landmine ban. He asked if they could publish it. We agreed, they published it along with the two letters, distributed it and I think VVAF donated $10K to TDI in response.

And then Mark Perry, who lived down the road from our office in McLean, Va., came over to our office and asked us if we would do another little study for VVAF (more on this in my next post).

Coronavirus in the DC area – update 69

Colorized picture from California, 1918. Source: reddit

This is update number 69 on the coronavirus in the DC area. Missed doing one last week and this one is a day late. So this one covers 15 days. I am probably going to quit doing this on a weekly basis, unless there is demand for it. Instead update it a couple of times a month.

These last two weeks the D.C area (pop. 5.4 million) increased by 6,806 new cases. The previous week was 940 new cases over the shortened week. The week before that it was 1,241 new cases over the week plus two days. The week before that it was 446 new cases. Twenty-eight weeks ago it was 18,934 new cases.

Europe has lost control of the situation, with the UK and Spain particularly hard hit. This varies widely by country. Italy (pop. 60.3 million), the original epicenter of the European outbreak, reported 7K new cases for Wednesday (and 5K for Tuesdays). The UK (pop. 67.1 million) has had an upswing that is still not completely under control. They are reporting 29K new cases Wednesday (and 22K on for Tuesday) but it is not as bad as it was two weeks ago. Its high was 68K new cases on 8 January and they reached another peak on 17 July with 54K new cases in a day. It was down below 2K cases a day three months ago. France (pop. 67.4 million) has the fifth highest number of reported cases in the world (after U.S., India, Brazil and now Russia). They reported for France 29K new cases Wednesday (and 24K on Tuesday). The new case count yesterday for Spain has remained high with 22K new cases for Wednesday (and 20K for Tuesday). As for Germany it is only 4K new cases on Wednesday (and 2.5K cases on Tuesday) and for Russia it is 23K new cases on Wednesday (and 21K cases on Tuesday). Keep in mind, these are daily rates. They do add up over the course of a week. The U.S. (population 331.9 million) had 93K new cases on Wednesday (and 107K new cases on Tuesday). Our high was 300K new cases on 2 January and we hit another peak on 30 July of 195K. We did have it down to around 12K new cases a day in June.

In Asia and the Pacific the number of reported cases remains low for Wednesday/Tuesday: China remains low (87/104), Japan continues to rise (14,114/12,045), South Korea is stabilizing (1,776/1,723), Taiwan (21/19 after peaking at 723 on 5/22), Vietnam has boomed (7,295/16,954), Singapore has stabilized (95/102), Australia continues to rise (302/253) and New Zealand remains low (1/2). Again, these are daily rates.

All the data is from the Johns Hopkin’s website as of today, 7:21 AM:  Johns Hopkins CSSE. The table below for this week is based upon two less days.

……………………..….Population…last week…this week…Deaths
Washington D.C…….…..702,445…….49,827…..50,858……1,149
Arlington, VA……………..237,521..…..15,404…..15,727………258
Alexandria VA……………160,530…….11,972…..12,227………141
Fairfax County, VA…….1,150,795.……77,612.….78,955……1,126
Falls Church, VA…………..14,772.……….430………432………….8
Fairfax City, VA……..…..…24,574.……….568….……574………..19
Loudoun County, VA….…406,850…….28,292.….28,559……….283
Prince Williams C., VA…..468,011…….46,069…..46,848……….514
Manassas Park………….…17,307….…..1,223…….1,232……..…11
Stafford Country, VA……..149,960…….11,644…..11,986…………83
Fredericksburg, VA…………29,144……..2,173.……2,230……..…25
Montgomery C., MD…….1,052,567……71,538…..72,596…….1,634
Prince Georges C., MD.…..909,308……86,014.…87,313…….1,607

The Mortality Rate is 1.67%. There were 20 fatalities in the last two weeks compared to 6,806 new cases. This is a mortality rate of 0.29%, which is very low. The population known to have been infected is 7.71% or one confirmed case for every 13 people.

Virginia (pop. 8.5 million) had 1,717, new cases yesterday and 1,403 new cases on Tuesday. Two weeks ago it was 721 new cases on Tuesday, the week before that it was 346 new cases on Tuesday and the week before that it was 132 cases. Twenty-six weeks ago it was 4,707.

Dare County, North Carolina (pop. 37K), a beach area in the outer banks, has had 2,457 total cases (2,275 cases two weeks ago) and 10 deaths.