Showing posts with label TAACs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label TAACs. Show all posts

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).

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Resolute Support Advisors in Action

ANDSF test map reading test at Bost Airfield, Afghanistan
(Marine Corps photo by Justin T. Updegraff, July 16, 2017)

TF Southwest Advisors and Map Reading. After 17 years of conflict and training up the Afghan Army and police our advisors are still teaching basic map reading to Afghan soldiers and police. For the past three weeks U.S. Marines with Task Force Southwest conducted a map reading class for the Operational Coordination Center (OCC) at Bost Airfield, Afghanistan. Hmmm. I would think at this point we would be teaching some advanced topics like . . . I don't know . . . maybe the fine art and science of counterinsurgency. Is there anyone in Afghanistan teaching counterinsurgency? Is there a Counterinsurgency Academy somewhere in Afghanistan? Probably not. Read more in "Building the Foundation: Task Force Southwest teaches map class to ANDSF forces", DVIDS, July 23, 2017.

TF Southwest and Afghan ORC. The Operational Readiness Cycle (ORC) pulls Afghan army units out of combat and puts them through a training program for several weeks. In Helmand province this program is 8 weeks long. 2nd Kandak, 4th Brigade, 215th Corps recently completed its ORC in late July 2017 at the Helmand Regional Military Training Center (RMTC). Read more in a news release by RS HQs, July 24, 2017.

Great Progress? So the above article released by RS HQs would make you think that the Marine advisory mission in Helmand province is right on track. Ummmm, maybe not. Read "Marines facing 'discouraging' challenges in Afghanistan",, July 23, 2017.

"Watch the Hands". Of course this TAAC-Air advisor is a pilot;
who else moves their hands like this in a conversation?
(USAF photo by Tech Sgt Robert Cloys, March 3, 2016).

TAAC Air Working with Afghan Air Force. A four-year, $7 billion expansion plan is designed to produce more flight and maintenance crews for the Afghan Air Force (AAF). According to Brigadier General Phillip Stewart, the commander of Train, Advise, and Assist Command - Air, "That is what will provide the asymmetric advantage to break the stalemate on the ground." Hmmmm. Really? A bigger Air Force is needed to defeat insurgents who practice guerrilla warfare? One that has no air force, no tanks, no armored personnel carriers, and no artillery? I believe the problems that the Afghan security forces have run much deeper than not having a big enough air force. But anyway, read "As U.S. weighs Afghan strategy, hopes set on fledgling Air Force", Reuters, July 23, 2017.

US SOF Trapped in Afghanistan. 70% of the offensive operations carried out by the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) are conducted by Afghan Special Service Forces (ASSF) - the special operations units of the MoI and MoD. The principle advisors to these ASSF units are U.S. and NATO SOF. The worldwide needs of U.S. SOF is immense and the Afghan commitment sucks up a lot of the US SOF resources. Read more in "SOCOM Is In A Prison of Its Own Making", Task and Purpose, July 25, 2017.

Task Force Southeast - Collective Training and Leader Development. One of the serious deficiencies of the Afghan security forces is the lack of leaders in both the army and police that are competent. The advisors and trainers of Task Force Southeast are using the collective training model (combining the army and police) as a method to develop the ANDSF leaders. Read "Training Leader Development: Fundamental to Afghan National Security", DVIDS, July 27, 2017.

TAAC South Soldiers End Deployment. Soldiers from Task Force Rakkasan of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team have returned home after working in the train, advise, and assist mission at Train, Advise, and Assist Command - South (TAAC-South). They were based in Kandahar province but also provided coverage into Zabul, Uruzgan, and Helmand provinces. Check out pictures of their homecoming at Fort Campbell, Kentucky in "Photos: 3rd Brigade soldiers come home from Afghanistan",, July 23, 2017.