Mistakes Learned from Operation Anaconda Essay

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Operation ANACONDA was the last major stand-up battle between al Qaeda fighters and conventional Coalition military might in Afghanistan. It was a classic example of the need to change American war fighting strategy and doctrine to meet the demands of current conflicts. Operation ANACONDA was the name for the operation that took place between the 2nd and the 19th of March 2002 in the Shah-i-Kowt Valley. The operation is well documented as a major American and Coalition victory despite the challenges faced with gathering intelligence, command and control issues, initial planning flaws, and negative actions that took place both on the ground and in the air. Although initial operations against al Qaeda and Taliban forces in Afghanistan …show more content…
Requests for air assets had to be passed through LG Mikolashek to GEN Franks and then back to LG Moseley. Lastly, the special operations forces of TF DAGGER were lead by Colonel (COL) John Mulholland, with each special forces “A Team” operating mostly on their own. This dispersed command and control would have required a “unity of effort” (since there was not a single commander to command the entire operation), however, in the end the organizing principle was nicknamed “ad-hocracy” by the Operation ANACONDA command staff of Major General Hagenbeck (Franklin Hagenbeck Biography, n.d.). Initial plans to assault the Shah-i-kot valley were drawn up between late January and early February of 2002. They relied heavily on intelligence assessments that enemy forces on the ground comprised 100-200 fighters, that only the low ground around villages was occupied, and that the enemy was only armed with small and light weapons. This led planners to believe the terrain could be exploited to gain the upper hand. The assault plan consisted of four phases. Special Forces (SF) reconnaissance teams would be inserted to provide over watch and guide air assets. A ground team named TF HAMMER and comprised of Afghan militias with SF advisors, would block off key exit routes from the valley. Conventional U.S. troops in TF RAKKASAN would air assault the eastern side of the valley and force the enemy to flee toward the blocking

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