Sunday, February 4, 2018

Train, Advise, Assist, Accompany, and Enable Mission in Afghanistan

A Marine advisor with Task Force Southwest (TFSW) battle tracks
with a soldier from the 215th Corps at Camp Shorabak, Afghanistan.
(photo Jan 22, 2018 by SGT Conner Robbins, USMC)

Reporting on the 'Train, Advise, and Assist' Mission. The renewed emphasis and modest increase in the advisory effort with the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) will not win the war; however, it is an important component of the U.S. and NATO strategy for Afghanistan. For that reason, the Afghan War Blog will continue to report on Security Force Assistance efforts by NATO and other Coalition / Partner nations.

Upcoming CoC for TAAC-Air. Brig. Gen. Phillip A. Stewart, commanding general, Train, Advise, Assist Command-Air; and commander, 438th Air Expeditionary Wing, Air Combat Command, Kabul, Afghanistan, will be the commander, North Atlantic Treaty Organization Alliance Ground Surveillance Force, Allied Command Operations, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Sigonella, Italy. He will be replaced by Col. Joel L. Carey, who has been selected for the grade of brigadier general. Carey is currently the commander, 12th Flying Training Wing, Air Education and Training Command, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, to commanding general, Train, Advise,Assist Command-Air; and commander, 438th Air Expeditionary Wing, Air Combat Command, Kabul, Afghanistan.

New DCoS Ops for RS. BG (P) Dan Walrath will soon be back in Afghanistan. He did a great job as cdr of 2/101st in RC East. The Strike BCT was one of the first SFABs to deploy to Afghanistan in 2012.

The Afghan military attache at the Afghan Embassy in D.C. meets with
two U.S. Army officers to discuss the training of the ANDSF.

Paper: "Afghanistan Army Development: What Went Wrong", Interagency Journal, Vol. 6, Issue 1, Winter 2015, LTC Tommy J. Tracy.

Marines to Lease Reaper Drone for Helmand. The Marines assigned to Task Force Southwest are looking to use an armed drone to keep an eye on things in Helmand province while they conduct their 'advise and assist' mission. Read "Marine Corps Wants Reaper Drone to Provide Overwatch for Helmand", Defense Tech,  January 29, 2018.

Increased Risk of U.S. Casualties. As advisors work closer to the front lines (at Afghan kandak level) the probability of casualties rises. See "US troops at greater risk in Afghanistan under Pentagon's new approach, top official says", Fox News, February 2, 2018.

Advising - Lessons Observed: Not Actually Learned

Some Familiar Themes Here - Vietnam and Afghanistan. Read "US Combat Advisors in Vietnam Knew the Score and Got Ignored", by James A. Warren, The Daily Beast, February 2, 2018.

USMC's CAP in Vietnam. The US SOF's Village Stability Operations (VSO) program in Afghanistan bore a resemblance to the U.S. Marine's Combined Action Program (CAP) - advisors living in small Vietnamese communities. "Preventing the Barbarization of Warfare: The USMC CAP Program in Vietnam", Small Wars Journal, February 2, 2018.

Want to Read more Papers on Advising? Take a look Afghanistan: Annotated Bibliography for Resolute Support, over 200 pages referencing documents and publications on SFA in Afghanistan.

Breaking News - COIN Actually Worked in Vietnam. J. R. Bullington, a man who spent considerable time in Vietnam, writes on how counterinsurgency actually was the right strategy in Vietnam. Other factors contributed to the lost effort; but not COIN. "Assessing Pacification in Vietnam: We Won the Counterinsurgency War!", Small Wars Journal, March 23, 2012.

News on the 1st SFAB

1st SFAB - "Fully Capable".  On February 8, 2018 the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade will be recognized as fully capable at a ceremony at Fort Benning, Georgia. The 1st SFAB is scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan this spring.

SFAB Recruiting. The U.S. Army is on a big push to recruit for the six Security Force Assistance Brigades (SFABs) that it is in the process of standing up. The first one was brought online in August 2017 at Fort Benning - it has finished its training and will deploy to Afghanistan soon. The 2nd SFAB is now forming at Fort Bragg. The SFABs, 800-men strong, are key to the U.S. efforts to advise foreign military forces. Read "Event highlights options in Army", Fort Hood Sentinel, January 25, 2018.

Modernization and Equipping the SFAB. Standing up a brand new unit like the 1st SFAB (August 2017) and deploying it within its first year of existence poses an number of huge problems. One of which is fielding the equipment for a new brigade (yes it is undersized in strength but still . . . ) In addition, the U.S. Army wants it to have the latest and greatest in equipment (more fielding and training issues there as well). Read more about the latest of comms gear going to the 1st SFAB in "A special Afghan unit could be the Army's test case for its future network", C4ISRNET, February 2, 2018.

1st SFAB EOD Specialists. An EOD specialist talks about his assignment to the 1st SFAB and it's impending deployment to Afghanistan. (DVIDS, Jan 23, 2018).

SFABs New Pistol. The 1st SFAB trained up on the Army's new pistol - the M17 Sig Sauer 9mm P320. But . . . there seems to be a few problems. (The Warzone, Jan 2018).

Read more about the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade - SFAB.

Read recent news reports about the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade - SFAB.

Read about the Army's newly established Military Advisor Training Academy (MATA).

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