Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Monday, March 01, 2004

This is coolbert: Now, we hear that a renewed effort is going to be made to capture or kill Osama bin Laden.

This effort will take place in a month or a few months in the mountainous border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Now, several mistakes here.

One is just to announce that such an effort is to be made. This would be normally a gross violation of OPSEC (operational security).

Secondly, the number of troops to be involved in this operation are reportedly to be large. A lot of Pakistani troops and a lot of U.S. troops, accompanied by Afghan forces, irregular and otherwise.

I think the Pakistani troops presence and involvement have been spurred by the attempts to assassinate Musharref, the President of Pakistan. He has realized the threat to himself and wants to remove bin Laden from the scene too. And eradicate the presence of Al Qaeda as much as possible.

With regard to the number of troops going to be involved, you read that the numbers will be of upward to 70,000 personnel on the ground, scouring the mountains for bin Laden.

Now, this approach is ass-backwards. Normally, when searching for one person or a very small number of persons, who are in hiding, the rule of thumb is, you never want to use a search force greater in size than the number of persons you are searching for. To use a large force creates such a stir that it tips off the persons you are searching for that something is afoot. They give up their normal behavior and take refuge in a hiding place. Making it that much more difficult to find them.