Last week I thought I might be going to Kabul in August. Now I know I'm not.
This has bummed me out for sure. This summer has been a... difficult stretch of months and the idea of spending the waning days in Afstan was pretty buoying.
This post isn't a venue for me to bemoan my lot, but rather give some context for working under the auspices of CFAP.
The initial point of departure for most conversations of official war art is propaganda. The great thing about CFAP is that there is no such thing. More to the point the distance between the artist and the military (except for your limited time with the soldiers) is huge to the point of being infinite. The other side of this relationship is there's no guarantee your body of created work will ever see the light of day if you don't hustle for yourself. Certainly, for the most part, the military is indifferent.
The more problematic ingredient of this distance is that while CFAP is very eagre to get artists onto their project, the military proper is potentially (far) less so. This is much more the case when dealing with operational issues... hence me not going to Kabul in August. If immersion in military culture is important for these projects, then dealing with the specific bureaucracy of the Army is just part of the larger process. If, however, you have a specific goal, that CFAP supports, but The Army (or CEFCOM) sees as a distraction, or even a liability, then it's best to not put other plans on hold.
My plans now are as follows:
Mid October: CFB Edmonton (B COY. and Jump School). 7-10 days
December: Camp Phoenix, Kabul Afghanistan. Anywhere from 7-28 days.