|MG Richard Kaiser, cdr CSTC-A, meets with Acting Minister of MoD|
Photo credit: RS HQs, May 2017
The U.S. and NATO have embraced the concept of training up indigenous forces to achieve objectives and goals in line with their strategic, national, or organizational interests. Essentially this means conducting "Train, Advise, and Assist" (TAA) missions in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere so that host nations (using local or indigenous forces) can defeat ISIS, al Qaeda, the Taliban, or other adversaries on the battlefield. The United States refers to this mission set as Building Partner Capacity or BPC.
For the past 16 years the United States, NATO, and other partner nations have been slowly developing, training, equipping, and fielding the Afghan National Defense Security Forces (ANDSF) and the Afghan Security Institutions (ASI). Although this effort has made some progress, it has not been a resounding success. While the quantity is there (the end strength according to personnel rosters) the quality is lacking - except in the Afghan Special Security Forces (ASSF).
Currently the Resolute Support HQs based in Kabul is conducting the Train, Advise, and Assist mission on three levels. A major advisory effort is taking place at the security ministries - the Ministry of Defense (MoD) and Ministry of Interior (MoI). There are advisors conducting TAA at the regional ANA Corps level. The Afghan Air Force and Afghan SOF are receiving TAA at the tactical level.
A recently published paper in Joint Force Quarterly examines one critical component of the Building Partner Capacity mission set. It takes a close look at the building of institutional capacity in host-nation ministries (Afghanistan is presented as an example). The authors then offer a scientifically and historically sound methodology for military advisors working at the ministerial level. The aim of the paper is to show the way military leaders and staff can improve how they plan and execute the Train, Advise, and Sssist missions - and, in addition, how we can rethink the role of the military advisor.
You can read or download the 8-page paper below:
"Learning to Fish in Murky Waters: The Missing Link in Capacity-Building", Joint Force Quarterly 86, 3rd Quarter, July 2017.