Source: Most CENTCOM Officers Fail Basic Geography sandy December 14, 2012 News 12 Comments Follow Duffel Blog: Unofficial CENTCOM Map (courtesy of The Atlantic) TAMPA, FL – Sources at United States Central Command revealed today that less than half of the officers assigned to the command could correctly identify ten or more of the twenty-two countries in the command’s area of responsibility. “Of course we’re concerned about this,” said Colonel Albert Hawkins, CENTCOM’s Chief of Training. “I mean you can’t expect an officer to properly plan and execute an invasion of a foreign country if he can’t point to it on a map.” The officers were given a map of the CENTCOM AOR with nothing but the national borders outlined and asked to fill in the names of the countries. While most did well in identifying Iraq (82%) and Afghanistan (81%) fewer were able to properly identify Iran, Qatar and Kuwait (77%, 73% and 69% respectively). Just over half the officers were able to identify the remainder of the Gulf nations except Oman, which a full third identified as “Brunei.” “We’re OK with their knowledge of the Gulf region,” Hawkins stated, “even though we had to give a lot of them credit for labeling Qatar as Al Udeid. I mean Al Udeid Air Base is huge and it is out in the middle of nowhere. They may think the country is just the base.” When asked if there was any other worrying data in the test results Hawkins pointed out that, “41% of our officers correctly labeled India on their maps. That should be a plus but unfortunately the test directions said to identify countries in the CENTCOM AOR and India is PACOM’s. And don’t get me started on the Stans.” “The Stans” is CENTCOM jargon for Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. “Unfortunately,” Hawkins admitted, “most of our officers simply wrote ‘The Stans’ over the whole area and didn’t identify any individual countries. The officers that did try to identify individual countries usually labeled them with something marginally racist and insulting like ‘Hajistan’, ‘Camelstan’, or ‘Muslimastan.’” Colonel Stanley Rayburn, the Chief of International Engagement at CENTCOM, admitted he was one of the offenders. “Yeah, I should know better,” he admitted, “but to be honest the only time we care about the Stans anymore is when Pakistan threatens to cut off our land supply routes. Then we take all the liaison officers from the Stans out to Hooters for some wings to show how important they are to our regional strategies. Pakistan backs down and we’re back to only seeing them at parties and photo opportunities for six months.” Colonel Hawkins was confident that renewed emphasis on basic map knowledge of the AOR would be the first step in resolving the training deficiency. “This is a core competency we’re going to have to improve upon,” he admitted, licking Hooters wing sauce residue off his fingers. Sam Cook says: April 16, 2014 at 2:09 AM I guess this is why they invented Second Lieutenants? Your knowledge of geography is probably better if you were recently in college. Larry Lambert says: April 16, 2014 at 2:09 AM So THAT is why I see so many senior staff officers at the Islamabad Hooters. I knew that they were there for the ‘chicken’ but never knew that they were shmoozing Pakistani allies. And truly, if you’ve seen one Stan, you have seen them all. Scotty Dawson says: April 16, 2014 at 2:09 AM In fairness to my CENTCOM Collegues, the ‘Stans are pretty hard to keep straight or spell. And it turns out that “Whogivesastan” is not a real place. Scott Bartz says: April 16, 2014 at 2:09 AM We had a saying in the fleet, “The 2 most dangerous men in the Corps are a PFC. with a checkbook and a 2nd Lt. with a compass.” Yeah, that statement was a pretty damned accurate assessment too! Gregg Shoemaker says: April 16, 2014 at 2:09 AM Ah it all makes snese now…the US has wasted all this money over here because these people running the show are idiots. I see..makes perfect sense now. Richard Dickson says: April 16, 2014 at 2:09 AM I’ll bet the dweebs at STRATCOM, Space Command, Global Strike and Cyber Command would fail the same geography test. Morons. Troy R. Stull says: April 16, 2014 at 2:09 AM Well that sure enplanes why every time I volunteered from Iraq I ended up Kuwait or South Korea. Charlie Poag says: April 16, 2014 at 2:09 AM The Stans.. classic. I remember a conversation with a buddy in Afghanistan on why we were there, he said to find this “Stan” guy. I asked him what he meant, he said, “We gotta find this dude Stan that all these countries are named after. He’s obviously a really powerful ruler or an awesome dude, he’ll have to know where Osama is.” I about lost it. Trina D Jenkins says: April 16, 2014 at 2:09 AM Who is Centcom? William Cassara says: April 16, 2014 at 2:09 AM While brieifng a Brigade commander in the early 80″s, he asked “what is that large country next to Kazakhstan? Um, that would be Russia sir. Ornate Mirth says: April 16, 2014 at 2:09 AM “most of our officers simply wrote ‘The Stans’ over the whole area…” THANKS – coffee snorted all over my laptop. Bob Leonard says: April 16, 2014 at 2:09 AM wait a sec…I thought Duffleblog was a satire site. When did they start reporting true stories?