Home » Wars » Afghan Update » Pentagon: Counter-Battery System unneeded in Afghanistan

Pentagon: Counter-Battery System unneeded in Afghanistan

by Richard Sisk on October 19, 2012

The Defense Department pushed back Friday against House Republican charges that U.S. troops in Afghanistan were being denied life-saving systems that were used to counter enemy rocket, artillery and mortar fire in Iraq.

“It’s altogether unclear that this system is a silver bullet,” George Little, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman, said of the C-RAM – the Counter Rocket, Artillery and Mortar system that links advanced radars with what is essentially a land-based version of the Navy’s Phalanx rapid-fire CIWS (Close-In Weapons System.)

Little acknowledged that requests for deployment of C-RAM to Afghanistan came from the U.S. Central Command in 2009 but “operational conditions have changed since ’09” as U.S. troops have begun withdrawing with the goal of having all combat forces out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

If commanders in the field were to renew requests for C-RAM, “then they will get what they need,” Little said.

In a letter to President Obama on Thursday, Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, wrote: “If a C-RAM intercept capability would protect our troops against lethal threats without detraction from our mission in Afghanistan, please immediately order the deployment of these weapon systems.”

In July 2009, CENTCOM put in a Joint Urgent Operational Needs Statement (JUONS) requesting C-RAM for Afghanistan that was supported by Gen. David Petraeus, then the overall commander in Afghanistan.

At the time, “the Army agreed that the systems were available for deployment and determined that approximately 80–100 additional forces per site would have to be deployed to support the C-RAM intercept capability,” McKeon said.

“The Chairman didn’t assert that this would be a silver bullet,” a spokesman for McKeon said, but he said the need for C-RAM system would grow as the Afghan withdrawal continues and the U.S. forces consolidate on larger bases that will become more inviting targets for the Taliban.

The C-RAMS “effectively protected installations in Iraq” but were being denied to troops in Iraq because of of a “force cap” imposed by the Obama administration during the withdrawal, the McKeon spokesman said.

“We’ve got other adequate measures in place” to detect enemy fire, Army Lt. Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said without going into detail. With the C-RAM system, “you have to put a lot of fire into the air which, of course, threatens civilians,” Warren said.
The C-RAM system was deployed to Iraq in the summer of 2005 and was used to protect the “Green Zone” compound and Camp Victory in Baghdad.

The system’s radars are designed to pick up indirect fire and automatically fire a 20mm M61A1 Gatling gun, similar to the Navy’s Phalanx weapon against anti-ship missiles, to eliminate the threat. Unlike the sea-based system, the land-based system uses shells fused to self-destruct in the air to avoid civilian casualties.

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{ 81 comments… read them below or add one }

Lance October 19, 2012 at 3:25 pm

More political dribble from idiots like Buck McKeon. in some controlled situation this works fine. Iraq was flat territory and alot of open distances for radars to find incoming mortars and shells. Afghanistan not so much. Since the mountains can block radar and hid mortars very close by. This is more crap from Republicans fat with bribes from the companies who make this and are full of crap themselves. If they needed them in A-stain they would have asked the pentagon for one.


Matt October 19, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Your administration is a failure. Dont kill yourself on Nov 7th.


Dean October 19, 2012 at 11:06 pm

And if your side wins I hope you speak Persian, don't mind getting sick or maimed and like not being able to pay for treatment.


blight_ November 4, 2012 at 8:10 pm

I assume you meant Farsi?

Guess I will watch red dawn again…


David October 19, 2012 at 7:21 pm

Um, they brass did request it. Don't let the fact get in the way though lance.

"In July 2009, CENTCOM put in a Joint Urgent Operational Needs Statement (JUONS) requesting C-RAM for Afghanistan that was supported by Gen. David Petraeus, then the overall commander in Afghanistan."

Read more: http://defensetech.org/2012/10/19/pentagon-counte


Pappa51 October 20, 2012 at 1:09 pm

So Lance, let me get this right… You would rather keep our troops from having everything they need to protect themselves and other US, and NATO personal from rocket or mortar attack. . . Ya but the big guy got OBL right at least the way he says it we would seem to think he was on the Black Hawk that night. And then put the hammer down all by himself. . .Sure hope you get a chance to get deployed to Afghanistan to help our troops pack. Have a safe trip. . .
Man I get so sick of you Liberal arm chair soldiers. . .


Jason October 22, 2012 at 12:25 pm

as someone sitting in afghanistan RIGHT NOW i would like to have every bit of protection i could have but i guess you clearly know more about the conditions out here dont you chairborne ranger!


Jsmith October 24, 2012 at 11:44 am

Did you read the article? No mention in it of radars.


Drew October 25, 2012 at 2:06 pm

I agree with the spirit of what you're saying, but your logic is flawed. The mountainous terrain has nothing to do with the C-RAM's radar, since the radar is looking for indirect fired munitions. Incoming rockets and mutions would be coming in from above, and unless you're in a cave, there won't be a mountain up there. (If you are in a cave, you don't need to worry about indirect munitions.)


Sean January 31, 2013 at 9:24 am
CDWLDR June 10, 2013 at 4:11 pm

There are a lot of FOB's in Afghanistan in flat areas with no significant "mountain radar blacking". C-Rams are needed to protect the remaining troops since our idiot in Chief told the enemy that we were leaving, and when. The Taliban is increasing their activity and we need C-Rams to protect our bases against incoming mortar and rocket fire. Remaining bases are being expanded and supplies and personnel are shipping directly to the FOB's, making them more lucrative targets. So, you have what military experience which causes you to spew uninformed crap?


Nick October 19, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Just leave now FFS, it's not going to get better in the next 2 years, everyone knows it but no one wants to be the one who "lost Afghanistan". They don't call it the grave yard of empires for nothing.


tmb2 October 19, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Kandahar Airfield had a population of 25,000 troops and contractors last year. It is on a flat plain with open fields in all directions going out 10-20 miles before you get to any mountains. We received rocket and mortar fire a few times a month.


jack October 19, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Here's an idea, how about patrolling outside the walls so the bad guys can't get within range of their mortars. I know this is a crazy idea…


Matt October 19, 2012 at 5:50 pm

So Jack we should just have a patrol out hiking the mountains 24 hours a day?


ltfunk3 October 20, 2012 at 2:37 am

The taliban do


William C. October 20, 2012 at 4:13 am

And make perfect targets for roaming AH-64s and UAVs when they leave their caves.


Tiger October 23, 2012 at 5:50 am

Good point. Sort of a the same reason we kept sending B-17′s up everyday. Fighter bait. If you want to catch fish or Taliban you need a lure…

William C. October 22, 2012 at 5:22 am

Well I suppose you've accomplished one thing in your life by learning how to upvote yourself a dozen times.


blight_ October 22, 2012 at 10:03 am

Even if the messenger is unpopular, he's still got a point. They're out there, like a fish in the sea, as Mao would say.

Makes you wonder how difficult it would be to enforce a nighttime curfew in Afghanistan, then detain/capture whoever's out at night.

Pharsalus October 22, 2012 at 7:03 am

Yes! And again: yes! Agressive combat patrolling *combined with* arty support, smart bombs and the lot.

What else, hide inside a big secure (…) base? Complain if the enemy shoots at you?


Tiger October 23, 2012 at 5:58 am

Of course that would be the move if you were trying to win……………….
What we have is a campaign promise fought on the cheap with bad ROE limiting firepower. With troop levels enough to look good but not enough asked for by the commanders to do the job. Relations so bad we can not trust the Army we are training!!!


Rational Rob October 20, 2012 at 7:17 am

Jack.. lol think before you speak.


Vaporhead October 22, 2012 at 6:56 am

You're silly. You are talking like we are at war or something. Oh, wait……..

I do agree with your comment.


Menzie October 19, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Actually jack, it is kindo of crazy because the level of threat is extremely high once you leave the base. In the case of some of the deployment bases no troops leave thru the wire at all. They are bases used to ferry in supplies and then out to FOB's. The safest thing for them to do is stay inside the wire.


Dim October 21, 2012 at 1:34 am

Menzie, war is not safe. If you want to destroy the enemy, you have to go after them, not hide inside the base.


Pharsalus October 22, 2012 at 7:04 am

I see Dim isn't as stupid as his name inplies.


Big-Dean October 19, 2012 at 7:01 pm

The "stan is getting to be a bit Vietnam-ized with large bases and fixed positions.

We had the same hunker down mentality in Khe Sahn, and lots of other places. We should definitely be patrolling outside the gate, that's what our talented recon teams train for, concealment, observation, and reporting.

There shouldn't be any excuse for bad guy to penetrate the base-that is un-excusabe. If we had teams out there we'd know if they were coming or not. Lastly, where is all of our fancy surveillance, night vision, FLIR, etc, are they being used to protect the bases?


blight_ October 20, 2012 at 9:23 am

The "perimeter" is only useful against night attacks by guys with small arms and sappers with explosives. If they hang back and use rockets, you'd need a perimeter and an electronic frontier so big there would be no money left for Congressional healthcare.

Besides, wars aren't won by hunkering down, as the Taliban know. Take the fight to the enemy. Unfortunately, we can't do much when they hide in Cambodia…whoops, Pakistan.

Makes you wonder if it would be appropriate to recruit Border Troops from the Tajiks and move them to the AfPak frontier. They'd be less able to tell who is who (being from different ethnic group) but they should be reliable and trustworthy…?


ltfunk3 October 21, 2012 at 3:36 am

The Tajiks shoudl remember the fate of the Hmong.


blight_ October 21, 2012 at 8:31 am

I'm sure they do! After the Soviets left, we left all of Afghanistan to their own devices. They turned on each other…


Solomon Grundie November 4, 2012 at 4:18 pm

What and move to Minnesota and Wisconsin?


blight_ November 4, 2012 at 8:10 pm

You make it sound like they wanted to come,as if getting chased through the jungle by Pathet Lao to Thailand was some kind of reality tv show.

That said, the Tajiks should consider what happened to the Shia in 92. don't expect the west to pay it forward any more than they do today.

howard June 28, 2013 at 5:20 pm

what they SHOULD do is to say that in places of known risk anyone venturing there will be killed and then do it. I agree…this let the bad guys get close and deadly had a bad run every time it has been tried.
if the local police can find a terrorist in a boat hull at a Boston neighborhood manhunt, then the Army and AF can find them in the dark or where ever.


NGF October 19, 2012 at 9:22 pm

The Australian base at Tarin Kowt in Uruzgan province in Afghanistan is protected by CRAM.


Brenden October 19, 2012 at 11:12 pm

Opsec, just saying.


DEATHFUCKEREXTREME October 20, 2012 at 8:38 am

OPSEC? Lol. OPSEC doesn't really apply to the CRAM. Taliban knew about CRAM the day it went online. Kind of impossible not to figure it out when you pop off a mortar and a hundred flak explosions turn it into snowflakes in mid air followed by BRRRRT. -/k/


NGF October 20, 2012 at 8:24 pm

The Australian Government publicly announced it: http://www.defence.gov.au/defencenews/stories/201


Riceball October 22, 2012 at 11:13 am

Not to mention that I'm sure the Taliban have seen the thing arrive at the base, get setup, tested, and sitting there now.


c-low October 19, 2012 at 9:33 pm

"At the time, “the Army agreed that the systems were available for deployment and determined that approximately 80–100 additional forces per site would have to be deployed to support the C-RAM intercept capability,”

Team O since day one is locked on withdrawal not victory, with of course enough support to hold plausible deniability. ala surge short full request but just enough to impression, and see above.

war based on craven personal political ambitions.


Sarek October 19, 2012 at 9:36 pm

All of these marvelous technology and NATO still losing the war!!


Skyepapa October 20, 2012 at 12:42 am

We could win. We could win every war. It's because we prefer to avoid genocide and salting the earth that we don't. So go fuck yourself.


Sarek October 20, 2012 at 8:52 pm

Sorry Skyepapa.
You cant win, bad guys never win.

USA are the evil!


blight_ October 20, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Then why even ask a rhetorical question about winning?

You don't beat insurgents with hugs. Even the victorious anti-bourgeoise North Vietnamese had to dump half of the ARVN guys into re-education camps.


IronV October 22, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Hey Sarek… Bet you're a big friend of the guys who shot that little girl for supporting education for women. And the clowns who destroyed the ancient Buddhist statues. You loved them. And the wholesale slaughter of civilians by both Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Your cheer those murderers, don't you?

Your idea of "evil" is interesting to say the least…


Sarek October 22, 2012 at 8:57 pm

Dont matter what NATO people says.
Until NATO still make wars, you all are the bad guys. No matter the reason.

ltfunk3 October 20, 2012 at 2:42 am

You have to remember that we dont have a professional military.

Instead of patroling and basic tactics we have people who prefer to cower in bunkers crying for C-RAM while claiming they could win if only somebody would nuke the enemy.


Rob October 20, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Wow. Just wow. Ltfunk3, walk a mile in the solider/airman/marine/saliors shoes before you say crap like that.


ltfunk3 October 20, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Serivice is a previlage not some sort of sympathy inspiring disability.


Tiger October 23, 2012 at 6:07 am

Blunt, to the point, stands his ground. Thumbs up!

Lexington NC September 27, 2013 at 7:20 pm

Funk u, troll.

Do not say that in front of my son, graduate of USMC 3/3. He's been places and done things that officially never happened because he wasn't supposed to be in that country at the time. Lots of our ground troops can say the same thing. They carry a rifle and leave behind a last letter home. Then they go off to war and hope the resupply will keep up with them.

There are "Garrett Troopers" in every war (Channeling SSGT. Barry Sadler). They are the 9 guys it takes to keep one guy alive on patrol. They are the reason the M1 Garand carbine was made while the guys in the field were carrying the M1 Garand rifle.

On another note …

I've fired an M1 Garand carbine … it's a sweet weapon — if I just look at a man-sized target and pull the M1 to shoulder, I can squeeze off immediately — I'm already on the target. It probably won't be a CNS shot, but it's going to leave a mark. Except for its rate of fire (bolt action), it'd still be a good carry weapon.


Brenden October 19, 2012 at 11:14 pm

If the brass thinks they don't need them then they dont need them. Who here was stationed in Balad, Baghdad or Basrah? Then you might know how intense IDF can be.


SGT Dillard March 25, 2013 at 8:25 am

I was in Speicher in 2004-2006, without any C Ram, I am a 13 R , Radar Operator for the Q36 and Q37, these are great and do the job, However in 2007 in Balad I had the pleasure to experience the good and bad, we had like 7 or 8 of them, I played liason between contractors, and navy on working to get parts and getting them fixed, the problem, not all ran once at the same time, but when they work they are great


ltfunk3 October 20, 2012 at 2:48 am

There is no need for C-RAM our military has lost yet another war and all it thinks about now is saving thier own necks. Rather then deploy some elaborate pretence simply evacuate the bases.

If we were serious about having a real military rather than an expensive horse and pony show we'd court-martial a generration of officiers and discharge the ranks without recomendation. Starting again from the bottom is the only way.


Big-Dean October 20, 2012 at 1:16 pm

I tend to agree with you about our leadership-in all services. (The Marine Corp isn't totally incompetent yet)

For some reason the current crop of leadership, not everyone, but most are spinless, not very smart, politically correct, afraid to call "it" what "it" is, and don't give a crap about the common soldier, sailor, or marine

Here's are the types of leaders, from best to worst

Rate your leader

1. War fighter
2. Hard charger
3. Smarter then Albert Einstein
4. Good intentions but not a great leader
5. Next chairman of xyz corp
6. total jerk
7. In over his/her head
8. how in the hell did he/she get promoted
9. tries hard but is useless
10. should be fired today


Tiger October 23, 2012 at 6:01 am

Sad to say the POTUS is not ranking high on that 10 scale…….


IronV October 22, 2012 at 9:23 pm

You have no clue what you're talking about. None. Literally some of the most ignorant thinking I've seen in awhile. We haven't "lost" anything. To the contrary, we have given the Afghan's their best hope to stand on their own. If they refuse to step up and take the reins, there is nothing practical to be done. They have until 2014 to figure it out. If they don't we will continue to prosecute violent warfare against our enemies via aircraft and special forces.

But our conventional ground forces will come home AS THEY SHOULD.


William C. October 20, 2012 at 4:11 am

Learn how to spell before you try to discuss strategy ltfunk.


NeoconBrony October 20, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Or, you know, we could just leave now. Then the rockets and mortars would be Afghanistan's problem.


blight_ October 20, 2012 at 9:20 pm

Indeed. We can just make friends with the Tajiks and neighboring stans, or make friends in the Panjshir and set up a UAV base there. We can hold that ten percent of Afghanistan for the next century, if necessary. Warlords can fight over Afghanistan all they want. If they want to aid trans-national terror, then they will just have to die, now won't they?


ltfunk3 October 22, 2012 at 4:36 am

Like we did to Cambodia and Laos


blight_ October 22, 2012 at 10:06 am

We didn't do anything in Cambodia. We did however intervene rather heavily in Laos, but instead of backing the national government we backed the Hmong, and once the Pathet Lao took over the national army it became a matter of funding nation-building in Vietnam and simultaneously funding an insurgency in Laos. Once we withdrew from RVN it was game over for the Hmong.

The US wasted a ton of political capital on prolonging a poorly executed war, and we didn't have enough to save South Vietnam after Vietnamisation or to protect the Hmong. When you go double or nothing, people die.


brok3n October 22, 2012 at 1:40 am

So many liberals and hippies posting in defense threads and videos these days. As for the system, they should be deployed to key bases in Afghanistan as IDF attacks occur on a daily basis.


Pharsalus October 22, 2012 at 7:11 am

What, maybe that'll give the US a chance to win? ;)


TonyC October 22, 2012 at 8:06 am

the US Navy has stopped installing the Phalanx, it can't discriminate targets.
The Phalanx works too well, it will shoot at anything it detects in target range
(friend or foe). The RAM is replacing the Phalanx on ships, not quite as good in some respects as the Phalanx.


blight_ October 22, 2012 at 10:02 am

It has range, and there's a diminishing return to installing more and more CIWS when you can replace some mounts with a RAM and take out targets from further away.


Jill Trotchie December 6, 2012 at 6:20 pm

well the taliban will be a bit more careful then to shoot at the us military like they will probably learn real quick


Noha307 October 22, 2012 at 4:10 pm

I wonder what the 4 Apaches lost to mortar attack in 2007 would have to say about this? (And yes, I realize that 2007 occurs before 2009.)


guest November 4, 2012 at 1:32 am

Saudi Arabia: Jewish Bloodline, Jewish State


M. HARMAN November 13, 2012 at 6:03 am



Hend November 18, 2012 at 8:39 pm

It’s like a race to the bottom, here in what was once America, land of the free and home of the brave. Which one will be the nail in the cffoin: the eco-catastrophe playing out all over the globe (including Peak Everything ), the military policy/corporate fiasco *********** or the insolvent bank (Wall Street/Fed) casino situation, practically guaranteed to default in our lifetime? i don’t think even Prozac will help, what we’re facing.


Jill Trotchie December 6, 2012 at 6:18 pm

i cant believe that you would deny them what they ask for -if they say they need the equipment why would you even hesitate-they are the only ones at war and placing it all on the line for this nation they got bin laden and now the feds why even insult the expertise of the military ops in the middle east


Aviator_Guy December 27, 2012 at 5:40 pm

I would support any system that would improve security for our troops and I totally support the Congressman's recommendations.


Boru February 12, 2013 at 10:35 am

Spend a day taking incoming where your only defense is hitting the ground and hoping you don't get hit. Give us the C-RAM and save lives and property.


knives April 8, 2013 at 12:44 pm

heres the bottom line. i was a C-RAM operator in iraq. there are two parts of C-RAM, intercept (the phalanx) and sense and warn. and yes the C-RAM intercept does discriminate targets. C-RAM is in A-stan but only the sense and warn and its contracted. call it a money game if you want. all i know is i made a fraction of the pay as what contractors make in A-stan. as far as intrecept, they really dont need it. capabilities the phalanx cant cover the area you might think or hope. so only HIGH profile assets would be cover by the phalanx. army side of the house sense and warn would be 5 times cheaper than intercept. contractor side it would be pretty close to if they had a phalanx.


howard June 28, 2013 at 5:23 pm

[.... the phalanx cant cover the area you might think ...]

that makes me think more Phalanx are needed.
geeze the military is run by committee who haven't had incoming.


short term cash November 10, 2013 at 2:35 am
A.Physicist October 20, 2012 at 11:54 am

Or, 'don't give me data, I have an anecdote!'
Too funny!


dee October 21, 2012 at 11:33 am

Let me try to clear the smoke.

1. The tatical capabilities of the weapon system; it is pointed out in the article that the CRAM is a force protection measure vs. indirect fire. Note: the name C-RAM – the Counter Rocket, Artillery and Mortar system should have been a dead give away as to its role. Does anyone see in the name or article an indication of anti-personnel capabilities? No.

2. As pointed out by others we're Vietnamizing the fight in The Stan with big "safe" bases. This distances us from the people, decreases our situational awareness and puts us on the path to a Tet-like offensive. We did this in Iraq and turned that fight around via The Surge. We took risks by putting service members out into remote bases but in direct contact with the population.


IronV October 22, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Education for women = evil. Sharia law = good. Individual freedom = evil. Religious dictatorship = good. Science = evil. Corruption and drugs = good.

Your "good" world and you can have it…


Thomas L. Nielsen October 23, 2012 at 6:56 am

"Blunt, to the point, stands his ground."

How is that different from "rude and stubborn"?

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen


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