Thursday, November 20, 2014

Paper - "Reforming the Afghan Security Forces"

A recent paper published in the Fall 2014 issue of  Parameters addresses the challenges ahead for the Afghan government in establishing security in Afghanistan and funding its very large security force structure. The Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) remain deficient in some important areas - logistics, sustainment, fires, aviation, MEDEVAC, intelligence, and (some would say) ability to conduct small unit tactics in a counterinsurgency environment. The Taliban have yet to be defeated, and with the withdrawal of ISAF combat troops and close air support, they are more likely to increase the number of massed attacks against remote ANSF outposts and vulnerable district centers.

According to the authors of the paper, the ANSF suffer from three developmental challenges. 1) A high attrition rate, high absenteeism rate, and inflated recruitment roles, 2) lack of ability to sustain its forces over the long-term, and 3) failure of the GoA to incorporate the country's ethnically and tribally diverse populace into the national security architecture. Compounding these three challenges is the reduction in international funding for the ANSF - which will force a reduction in the overall manpower of the security forces.

The authors recommend ". . . a more resilient, inclusive, and localized security structure . . ." with an expansion of the Afghan Local Police (ALP) and the Afghan National Army Special Forces (ANASF). The growth of the ALP would provide more localized security (more effective in a counterinsurgency environment). In addition, the ALP - a less costly approach from a funding aspect - would allow for a reduction in the size of the Afghan National Army (resulting from decreased international funding).

Read more in "Reforming the Afghan Security Forces", Parameters, Autumn 2014, by Daniel Glickstein and Michael Spangler. Glickstein served in Afghanistan's Laghman province as a U.S. Soldier in 2011-2012 and Spangler is a State Department Foreign Service Officer, a visiting fellow at the U.S. Army War College, and served in Afghanistan in 2009-2010.

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