The Retrograde Diet Plan

Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan—Although the Army is pretty much on schedule with the roll-down of its forward operating bases in Afghanistan, soldiers are having a hard time parting with their gear—just as was the case during the drawdown in Iraq, said Lt. Col. Paul Cornwell, commander of the 451st Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron here. “There is a little bit of a bow wave of actual versus projected retrograde right now. Nothing that’s causing a great amount of alarm,” he said in a mid-July interview. One of the lessons learned from Iraq is that it’s OK to accept a little risk, said Cornwell, who also helped close down the US military’s presence in Iraq. “If you are going to horde everything until the very end, you are basically setting your logisticians up for failure,” he said. Cornwell has already pushed all of his unit’s vehicle maintenance parts out of theater, saying he would just call them back in as needed. “That enabled me to completely reduce my footprint. I did the same thing for supply across my squadron,” he added. “Everybody just started getting skinner. Truly, you are supposed to go out of the war the way you came into the war. When we came into the war, you didn’t have an aircraft parts store or all this excess. You had the bare necessities to make it happen,” he said. He acknowledged, however, that getting people out their comfort zone and into this new expeditionary standard will be a “culture shock to them.”