Chicken or the Egg?

The rate of aircraft munitions usage in Afghanistan began to drop before US Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal issued his new tactical directive in early July. McChrystal took over on June 15 as US and NATO International Security Assistance Force commander, replacing US Army Gen. David McKiernan to provide a fresh perspective per Defense Secretary Robert Gates. The rate of munitions usage dropped by about 30 percent in a comparison of the first eight months of 2009 to the same time period in 2008, but, comparing the month of June alone, the rate was about half what it was last year. It seems reasonable to say that US/NATO forces already had begun reducing their calls for air strikes under McKiernan’s watch and are continuing to do so under McChrystal. (See Data Points Chicken or the Egg)