Coming well after a spate of Quixotic attacks against coalition bases in Afghanistan -- including Bagram Air Field, Kandahar Air Field and Camp Salerno in Khost -- where suicide squads of Taliban fighters donned Army Combat Uniforms (or look-alikes) in hopes of getting that much further inside the wire, the Coalition command in Kabul has declared ACUs "sensitive cargo" that must be transported by air into the country rather than overland.
My colleague at Politico's Morning Defense blog reports that commanders are concerned enough to issue a warning to all troops.
"U.S. outer-garment uniform items are considered highly pilferable items and every effort must be taken to ensure they are safeguarded while in transit," the message said. It covered tactical vests, plate carriers, cold weather gear and fire-resistant items, as well as standard uniforms. The Army did not respond to a request for comment; many officials were off Thursday for Veterans Day. The ISAF official said the use of uniform tricks "is certainly an old tactic, and one we constantly guard against."A couple things to add here. First, when Ward and I were in Afghanistan, we saw after action reports and photos of dead attackers fully outfitted in ACU top, bottom and chest rigs. Those are easy enough to get off the commercial market or from knock offs at Pakistani bazaars.
But during a pre-mission brief with some EOD bubbas out of Sharana, I heard that 2,000 Army Combat Uniforms had been lost or stolen off the air base in Manas, Kyrgyzstan -- another major transit point for supplies going into the Afghan sand box. Officials at Kabul could not confirm that report, but it sure as hell didn't come out of nowhere.
Second, this could have an interesting affect on the fielding schedule for OCP (MultiCam) uniforms to Joes already in the field in Afghanistan. PEO Soldier says all the surge brigades have been outfitted in the OCP duds and now its up to units in country to decide their issue schedule. Maybe this'll provide a burr in their bonnet to get that accelerated.