Former Senior National Security Practitioners Offer President Trump A ‘Secure Afghanistan’ Blueprint, Outline Alternative To More-Of-The Same Or Surrender


For Immediate Release

September 9, 2019


Hamilton Strategies,, Patrick Benner, 610.584.1096, ext. 104, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 104     



WASHINGTON, D.C.— In the wake of President Trump’s laudable decision not to meet at Camp David with Taliban jihadists (doing business as the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan”) and to suspend further negotiations with them regarding the presence of U.S. forces in that country, four seasoned national security professionals outlined key elements of a new approach for securing Afghanistan.

Two highly decorated military officers, Lt. Gens. William G. “Jerry” Boykin, USA (Ret.) and Thomas G. McInerney, USAF (Ret.), and two experienced civilian officials, former acting Assistant Secretary of Defense Frank J. Gaffney and a former key leader of the successful Vietnam-era counter-insurgency program, Stephen B. Young, proposed in an open letter to the President an alternative to two present – and highly unpalatable– choices: 1) continuing “business as usual” in theater (i.e., the relatively large-footprint and extremely expensive military and contractor presence in-country that has yet to defeat the Taliban) or 2) withdrawing all, or even most, U.S. forces pursuant to an accord negotiated with that designated terrorist organization.

In a brief one-page letter, the authors recommend adapting two proven models. The first would make far more effective use of continuing – albeit much-reduced – forces for lethal operations against the Taliban and other radical Islamic terrorist groups in Afghanistan. And, the second would “Afghanize” the local defense of the country’s population against such enemies.

The open letter describes the former as “a Special Operations model for bringing to bear relatively small units of highly skilled professionals backed by reliable airpower, sophisticated intelligence capabilities and logistic supply.”  Key elements of this model would be: contracted veteran mentors with previous combat experience in Afghanistan who will be attached for long-term (i.e., multi-year) assignments to Afghan units; contracted supplemental air power that will supply the Afghan Security Forces with decisive combat enablers; and governance support advisors who will supervise resources, assure reliable delivery of combat logistics and provide accountability for funds and contractor performance.

The latter would adapt the effective counter-insurgency techniques known as Civil Operations and Rural Development Support (CORDS) used in Vietnam to equip, train and provide funding for self-defense, self-government and self-development, so as to enable local communities to play a key supporting role in defeating the Taliban and other insurgents.

The authors note that numerous, important details – governing for example: command arrangements for contractor personnel; the duration of such a transitional program; and addressing related regional challenges – must also be addressed and approved as soon as possible. In the meantime, the United States must not endorse an accord with jihadists who clearly have no intention of abiding by its terms and every intention of portraying that agreement as formalizing America’s abject defeat and weaponizing it to that end.

The letter is embedded and downloadable below:



Contact, Patrick Benner, 610.584.1096, ext. 104, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 104.