The Air Force’s top civil engineer said he is looking to surge as much capacity as he can into Afghanistan in the coming months to help build up facilities, airstrips, and infrastructure to accompany the recently approved troop buildup there. All military services are leaning hard on their engineers at the moment, Maj. Gen. Del Eulberg told reporters in the Pentagon Monday. (The Air National Guard has notified its civil engineer units thatinvoluntary deployments are in store to help fill the increased requirements.) Eulberg noted, too, that current major operational hubs in Afghanistan are maxed out. “You go to Bagram [Air Base] and Kandahar [Airfield], they’re absolutely full up with missions,” he said, adding that they’re “bursting at the seams.” Eulberg said, at Bagram alone, four concrete batch plants have been operating 24-hours-a-day for the last 18 months to keep up with the demand for concrete, which is used in everything from blast walls to ramps. Aircraft are parked three deep on ramps in some places, something Eulberg said he hasn’t seen in his 31 years in the Air Force. There are some areas to expand, but limitations include clearing minefields and making sure locals don’t lose too much farmland to ramp space.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.