Jeff Seldin Profile picture
20 Apr, 53 tweets, 34 min read
Happening now: @CENTCOM Commander Gen Kenneth "Frank" McKenzie, @USAfricaCommand Commander Gen Stephen Townsend & @DeptofDefense Acting UnderSec Amanda Dory testify at the House Armed Services Committee
"In #Afghanistan, our mission has been preventing terrorist groups from using the country to threaten the interests & security of the UnitedStates, our allies & partners" acting Deputy UnderSec Dory tells lawmakers "After 2 decades...we have accomplished that mission"
"We are focused on working closely w/the Afghan gvt & our @NATO allies to responsibly conclude Operation resolute Support in #Afghanistan" per @CENTCOM Commander Gen McKenzie "This is my main effort, at present"
"Our singular purpose in #Afghanistan has been to ensure that #alQaida & other violent extremist organizations could never again plot, prepare & perpetrate attacks against the #UnitedStates & our allies" per @CENTCOM's McKenzie
"The campaign has evolved significantly over the years from active combat... to advisory efforts designed to enhance the Afghan nat'l defense & security forces ability to conduct their own campaigns" per @CENTCOM's McKenzie
"That there has not been another 9-11 is not an accident. It is the cumulative product of these efforts" per @CENTCOM's Gen McKenzie
"We are further planning now for counterterrorism operations from within the region, ensuring that the violent extremist organizations fighting for their existence in the hinterlands of #Afghanistan remain under consistent surveillance & pressure" per @CENTCOM's Gen McKenzie
US "positioning significant combat power to guard against the possibility that the #Taliban decide to interfere in any way w/our orderly redeployment" per @CENTCOM's Gen McKenzie

"In #Iraq & #Syria, the campaign to eliminate the threat of #ISIS has entered a new phase" per @CENTCOM's Gen McKenzie

#ISIS' "toxic ideology lives on"
In #MiddleEast, "I believe #China & #Russia will continue to expand their efforts to improve their position in the region & diminish US standing wherever possible" per @CENTCOM's Gen McKenzie
Pulling US troops from #Afghanistan a "very complicated & demanding military operation" per @CENTCOM's Gen McKenzie
"#Africa is the crossroads of the globe" per @USAfricaCommand Commander Gen Stephen Townsend

He ads that by 2050 "1 in 4 ppl on the planet will live in Africa... potential economic potential"
#Africa also home to 14 of the world 20 most fragile countries, per @USAfricaCommand's Gen Townsend
Not just #Russia, #China vying for influence in #Africa - "#Iran is also increasingly active on the continent" per @USAfricaCommand's Gen Townsend
.@USAfricaCommand "operates with 0.3% of DoD's budget" per Gen Townsend "And 0.3% of DoD's manpower"

"Pays enormous dividends" he adds
Some forces from #Afghanistan will remain w/@CENTCOM - "We are going to look at offshore, over-the-horizon options & that's going to require us to do things" per Gen McKenzie
"We still need to still to do some things there' per @CENTCOM's Gen McKenzie

"Work is underway to adapt, adjusting to the security environment & consider how to continue to apply pressure w/respect to potential CT threats emanating from #Afghanistan... over the horizon opportunities" per @DeptofDefense's Amanda Dory
#China in #Africa: #Beijing "has just expanded" its military base there "adding a significant pier that can support even their aircraft carriers in the future" per @USAfricaCommand's Gen Townsend, who adds Chinese looking for other basing opportunities, too
#Chin ain #Africa, "The are also doing cooperation in the intelligence realm that concerns me siginifcantly" per @USAfricaCommand's Gen Townsend

Also offers of training/arm sales...
#China's interest in #MiddleEast mostly economic, per @CENTCOM's Gen McKeznie

"Although we believe they do aspire at some point to have basing in the theater, but that's still ahead of them"
"We need to move beyond the #MQ9 system, which is the backbone system for US Central Command" per @CENTCOM's Gen McKenzie "The future's going to demand bigger, better kinds of ISR, more sophisticated"
.@CENTCOM's Gen McKenzie adds #MQ9 drone has been effective vs #Iran

"In the summer of 2019, we believe we stopped several imminent attack streams simply by positioning MQ-9s overhead so they [Iran] could hear them operating ...the intelligence is very clear on that"
#Mozambique-#ISIS: "It's not clear to me whether they're actually more than just local groups flying an ISIS flag...but ISIS core has claimed them" per @USAfricaCommand's Gen Townsend

"My view is the African partners need to do more & European partners need to do more"
#Iraq #Syria "#ISIS remnants still remain" per @CENTCOM's Gen McKenzie

"They find it difficult if not impossible to hold ground. They can still conduct small scale terror attacks...but in #Iraq, the Iraqi security forces are generally able to handle that problem"
"We are not patrolling w/the Iraqis on the ground" per @CENTCOM's Gen McKenzie

"In #Syria, sort of the same thing" he says "Our #SDF partners are conducting the operations"
"The future in #Iraq & #Syria is not going to be bloodless" per @CENTCOM's Gen McKenzie "#ISIS is not going to go away. It's going to remain..."
"Continued pressure is still necessary" per @CENTCOM's Gen McKenzie, adding "The trends are moving the right way"
In #Afghanistan, "#ISIS & #alQaida have been so significantly degraded bcs of the CT pressure we have been able to put on them" per @CENTCOM's Gen McKenzie

#alQaida "is very small in Afghanistan-probably several hundred fighters" he says "#ISIS-K a little bigger..."
#ISIS-#Khorasan "They have not been able to hold ground successfully in the east" per @CENTCOM's Gen McKenzie "But pressure is the important component of that"
Asked if #alQaida, #ISIS reassert when US, coalition are gone, @CENTCOM's Gen McKenzie says, "The #Taliban has undertaken to agree to not allow that to happen"

"W/the Taliban I've learned not to listen to what they say rather to watch what they do, so we will watch closely"
US response to possible, future terror threat from #Afghanistan - "I'm actually conducting detailed planning by direction of the secretary to look at those options...I will report back to him by the end of the month w/some alternatives" per @CENTCOM's Gen McKenzie
"I can broadly state, if you leave #Afghanistan & you want to go back in to conduct these kinds of operations, there are 3 things you need to do" per @CENTCOM's Gen McKenzie
"U need to find the target. U need to fix the target. & U need to be able to finish the target" per @CENTCOM's McKenzie

"The 1st 2 require heavy intelligence support & if you're out of the country &U don't have the ecosystem that we have there now, it will be harder to do that"
"It is not impossible to do that" adds @CENTCOM's Gen McKenzie, saying overheard ISR won't be based in #Afghanistan anymore

Instead of having drones to target in matter of minutes, they'll be coming "from much further away"
"We'll look at al the countries in the region. Our diplomats will reach out," per @CENTCOM's Gen McKenzie "Some of them may be very far away"
Other possible options: long-range precision fires, manned aircraft


"You could do it w/manned raids although those are inherently dangerous, but you still do it" per @CENTCOM's Gen McKenzie
"We're examining this problem w/all of our resources right now to find a way to do it in the most intelligent, risk-free manner that we can" per @CENTCOM's Gen McKenzie

re CT options for #Afghanistan
On the #Afghanistan withdrawal & @POTUS , "I had multiple opportunities to have a detailed conversation w/the president& give him my advice" per @CENTCOM's Gen McKenzie

"He heard my advice" McKenzie adds, declining to share it publicly
#Taliban - "We need to see what they are going to do here" per @CENTCOM's Gen McKenzie "If they want any form of future int'l recognition for #Afghanistan, if they want any form of int'l support, they are going to have to keep to the agreements that they made"
#Pakistan will be most impacted by US, @NATO withdrawal from #Afghanistan, per @CENTCOM's Gen McKenzie

"Bcs of the possibility of unconstrained refugee flow, bcs of the possibility of new terrorist attacks in Pakistan that could ramp up as a result of this"
Countries to the north of #Afghanistan - #Tajikistan #Turkmenistan #Uzbekistan - "they're going to be worried about refugee flow & perhaps the flow of fighters, as well"

"They're going to face some very tough choices"
US-#Iraq: "I believe we have a good relationship with the gvt of Iraq... I don't see us withdrawing completely from Iraq in the future" per @CENTCOM's Gen McKenzie
"We're going to go to zero in #Afghanistan" per @CENTCOM's Gen McKenzie "There will be no US forces on the ground there"

"We will use a variety of means to monitor #alQaida & #ISIS...intelligence will decline" he says "But we will still be able to see into Afghanistan"
"There still will be ways to do that" per @CENTCOM's Gen McKenzie "Much of that will depend on the embassy platform that remains, and that is as yet undermined"
"The president's been very clear. We're not going to reenter to reoccupy #Afghanistan under any conceivable circumstances" per @CENTCOM's Gen McKenzie
"What we will retain the ability to do is to find & fix those ppl who plan attacks against us that we can detect... When appropriate we will be able to strike them" per @CENTCOM's Gen McKenzie "I don't want to make that sound easy bcs its extremely difficult to do"
"The known aspiration of these groups to launch attacks against the United States, that hasn't gone away" per @CENTCOM's Gen McKenzie

"It's also possible that the #Taliban will do some of the things they said they're going to do. I just watch that very closely"
US has no basing agreements in place w/any of #Afghanistan's neighbors, per @CENTCOM's Gen McKenzie

"We engaged in a significant effort to evaluate where we want to put potential CT forces, where they'd be best optimized" he adds
"Most of the contractors are going to leave. Certainly, the US contractors are going to leave" per @CENTCOM's Gen McKenzie "We're looking at ways to do distant contracting where we can"

"Clearly there are going to be some thing we're not going to be able to do anymore..."
#Bagram airbase - "Bagram is key terrain, tactically, in #Afghanistan, operationally & strategically" per @CENTCOMs's Gen McKenzie
#Taliban post May 1 - "We're ready for whatever they chose to do" per @CENTCOMs's Gen McKenzie

"Everyone will leave" he adds, of US contractors in #Afghanistan

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More from @jseldin

20 Apr
US reaction to reported death of #Chad President Idriss Deby

"We would like to express our condolences to the people of Chad for their loss" per @USAfricaCommand spox Col. Chris Karns "The United States is closely monitoring the rebel incursion in Chad..."
"#Chad plays a vital role in efforts to counter regional transnational threats" per @USAfricaCommand's Col Karns "Chad's ability to contribute to regional security initiatives helps reduce instability in the region"
"We continue to remain encouraged by #Chad|ian participation in regional counter violent extremist
organization efforts such as the Multinational Joint Task Force, G5 #Sahel Joint Force & the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in #Mali" per Col Karns
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20 Apr
"Every operational plan in the department and every other capability we possess rests on an assumption that strategic deterrence and in particular nuclear deterrence is holding" per @US_Stratcom's Adm Richard "If that fails, nothing else in the Dep. of Defense works as planned"
US "facing two nuclear capable strategic peer adversaries at the same time, both of whom have to be deterred differently" per @US_Stratcom's Adm Richard "#Chinese & #Russia|n advances are eroding our conventional and strategic deterrence"
"#China in particular, I submit, cannot be considered anymore a lesser included case in this context" per @US_Stratcom's Adm Richard

"In the very near term, China will possess a credible nuclear triad..."
Read 4 tweets
20 Apr
"Strategic deterrence ... if that fails, nothing else in the department of Defense works as planned" @US_Stratcom Commander Adm Charles Richard tells Senate Armed Services Committee, warning of danger from nuclear #Russia & #China
#China "at some kind of an inflection point... well ahead of the pace to double their [nuclear] stockpile by the end of the decade" per @US_Stratcom's Adm Charles

"In the very near term China will possess a credible nuclear triad"
"#Russia remains the pacing nuclear threat" warns @US_Stratcom's Adm Charles, saying #Moscow's nuclear modernization is 80% complete, while the US is still at zero
Read 17 tweets
19 Apr
Just in: More than 28% of US military now vaccinated vs #COVID19, per @PentagonPresSec
"We do continue to see that build-up.. we call on #Russia to make their intentions more clear" per @PentagonPresSec "We call on the Russians to cease their provocations"

No comment on EU estimate that Russia has massed 150,000 troops in #Crimea, along #Ukraine border
"In general, we have continue to see this build-up increase...that is concerning to us" per @PentagonPresSec, asked if build-up has plateaued at all
Read 11 tweets
15 Apr
HAPPENING NOW: @POTUS talks #Russia after slapping #Moscow with what US officials described as sweeping sanctions for a variety of malign activities Image
"Earlier this week, I spoke w/President Putin of #Russia about the nature of our relationship" per @POTUS "I was candid & respectful. The conversation was candid & respectful - 2 great powers w/significant responsibility..."
"#Russia|ns & Americans are both proud & patriotic people" per @POTUS "And I believe the Russian ppl, like the American ppl, are invested in the peaceful & secure future of our world"
Read 18 tweets
15 Apr
NEW: "We believe we have the means to keep an eye on any terrorist threats or any sign of #alQaida's resurgence w/out having a persistent footprint on the ground" per @PressSec Jen Psaki
"The threat against the homeland now emanating from #Afghanistan can be kept to a level that can be addressed w/out that persistent footprint" per @PressSec, adding US "will retain significant assets in the region"

CT capabilities also being repositioned to counter any threat
Stable & predictable relationship w/#Russia "has to be our objective" per @PressSec "Obviously, this continues to be a difficult relationship. There are adversarial components..."
Read 5 tweets

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