Showing posts with label advising. Show all posts
Showing posts with label advising. Show all posts

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Training the Afghan Security Forces - TA3E

1st SFAB HQs at Advisor Platform Lightning after uncasing colors ceremony.
1st SFAB HQs company after uncasing colors ceremony at Advisor Platform Lightning.
(photo by Maj Matthew Fontaine, 1st SFAB, Mar 18, 2018)

TAAC South HA/DR Exercise. Members of Train, Advise, and Assist Command - South along with folks from Resolute Support hqs recently held a humanitarian assistance / disaster response exercise on March 18-19, 2018 in Kandahar. The two-day course consisted of scenarios involving floods, drought, earthquakes, and mass refugee crisis. The course was led by senior Afghan leaders and planners who recently graduated from the first NATO Operational Planner's Course. TAAC-SOUTH is comprised of members of the 40th Infantry Division of the California Army National Guard and the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division. (DVIDS, Mar 19, 2018).

'Big 5' For Advisors. The 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment has identified lessons from mentoring the Philippines Armed Forces and compiled them into a paper. The authors hope that the many observations collected over months of training, will serve as an aid to anyone deploying, or currently deployed to, an advisor mission with foreign forces. Read Operating as an Australian Army Training Advisor 'Big 5' - The Philippines, The Cove, March 23, 2018.

A Little Something about Gender Advisors. Deanne Gibbon - of the Australian Defence Forces - recently served in Afghanistan from August 2015 to May 2016 as NATO's Senior Gender Advisor. She writes about the role that gender advisors play within military organizations - especially when deployed in peacekeeping, humanitarian, or military operations. Read "WPS 2018: Navigating the operational gender agenda", The Strategist, March 23, 2018.

Photo Story - Marines in Marjah District. RS HQs, DVIDS, March 9, 2018.

101st Abn Div to Head up USFOR-A. Major General Andrew Poppas, an Army officer with considerable Afghan experience, is once again heading to Afghanistan. This time he will be the U.S. Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A) deputy commanding general for operations and the Resolute Support deputy chief of staff for operations. In the past the 101st was focused on the eastern region of the country (the old RC East hqs). With this 9-month long deployment the 101st will oversee NATO's train, advise, and assist mission nationwide. Read "101st Airborne Division Headquarters to case colors for Afghanistan deployment", Clarksville, March 22, 2018.

A Grain of Salt Please. Army BG Michael Fenzel, the chief of plans (Director CJ-5) for the Resolute Support mission, is quoted in a DoD news release as saying "We are more capable as an advisory force than we've ever been before, and the Afghan fighting forces are more effective than they have ever been before."

Things that make you say 'Hmmm'. Perhaps he missed the time frame of 2012-2014 when NATO and the U.S. had hundreds of advisor teams (SFAATs) deployed with MoI organizations from district center level up to MoI and MoD organizations from kandak level up to MoD. In RC East alone there were a couple of hundred advisor teams plus company and battalion combat formations conducting the 'partnership' mission. More effective now as an advisory force? I think not. We would have to provide advisor teams (or to use the new term - Combat Advisor Teams or CATs) to every district center and kandak as we had in the past.

If the ANDSF is more effective than they have ever been before why does the Taliban control more territory than at any period in the conflict since the fall of 2001?

Read more in "Officials Note Progress in Afghanistan, Difficulty for Taliban", by Jim Garamone, Defense Media Activity, March 20, 2018.

DoD IG Report on CSTC-A Oversight. A new report by the Department of Defense Inspector General's office finds that there are systemic challenges associated with the Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan's (CSTC-A's) oversight of U.S. direct funding provided to the government of Afghanistan. It specifically finds that the Bilateral Financial Commitment Letters may not be the most effective method to manage and oversee the administering and expending of U.S. direct funding to the Afghan MoD and MoI. Of course, looking back over the past few years, these commitment letters were to be the management tool to ensure that the MoD and MoI would decrease corruption and implement reforms. Hmmmm. See "Summary Report on U.S. Direct Funding Provided to Afghanistan", DoD IG Report 2018-090, March 21, 2018.

News & Info about the 1st SFAB

1st SFAB Uncases Colors. The 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade HQs and its six battalions are now stood up in Afghanistan. The brigade hqs is co-located with the 203rd ANA Corps. Its six battalions are spread across Afghanistan. Read more in "1st SFAB uncases colors, begins partnership with ANDSF across Afghanistan.", Resolute Support HQs, March 18, 2018.

1st SFAB at Camp Buehring, Kuwait. The advisory brigade, on its way to Afghanistan, stopped off in Kuwait. While they some of the brigade soldiers went through some pre-deployment training to include MRAP, SUAS, and CUAS. Read more in "1st SFAB Enters Theater", 1st Theater Sustainment Command, March 16, 2018.

Gen Dunford to Meet with 1st SFAB. A recent DoD news release says that General Dunford traveled to Afghanistan to do an assessment of the situation. In addition, he wants to meet with soldiers of the 1st SFAB which has just deployed for a nine-month rotation to conduct a Security Force Assistance mission. See "Dunford Arrives in Afghanistan to Assess Campaign Plan", Department of Defense Media Activity, March 19, 2018.

Dunford "Enthusiastic" about SFAB. General Dunford met with members of the 1st SFAB this past week and was encouraged by how the combat advisors are fusing the pillars of the ANDSF to work together in the conduct of combined operations.  Read "Chairman Expresses Enthusiasm about Military Dimension in Afghanistan", Defense Media Activity, March 21, 2018.

Assessment and Training for SFAB Soldiers. BG Mennes, director of force management (G-3/5/7) for the U.S. Army, provides info on the assessment, selection, and training of Soldiers for the Army's SFABs. (Army News Service, Mar 19, 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, March 4, 2018

TA3E - "Train, Advise, Assist, Accompany, & Enable"

207th Corps - Afghan National Army

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.

Training and Equipment Needs of ANDSF. Ahmad Murid Partaw writes on how the Afghan security forces must increase focus on training and equipment. Partaw is an alumnus of the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies in Washington, D.C. In addition, he is a former Afghan Army major and served as Afghanistan's senior national representative to U.S. Central Command. His article is posted in the CENTCOM quarterly periodical UNIPATH. Read "Aiding Afghanistan", February 2018.

Updated Senior Advisor Training Requirements for RS. On February 15, 2018 the Commander of the Resolute Support Mission, General John Nicholson, approved updated senior advisor training requirements for uniformed personnel deploying in support of operations in Afghanistan. A pilot program to implement these training requirements begins in June of 2018.

Seminar on SFA. The primary mission of NATO's Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan is Security Force Assistance (SFA). Norway is hosting a seminar on the topic in March 2018.

News & Info about the 1st SFAB

"Soldiers, With Empathy: U.S. Army Creates Dedicated Advisor Brigades", National Public Radio, February 27, 2018.

"On the Security Force Assistance Brigade", Partisan Source, March 2, 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, February 25, 2018

TA3E - Train, Advise, Assist, Accompany, and Enable

Members of the TAAC-West Police Advisor Team (PAT) train female
police in Herat province. (photo by RS HQs, 10 July 2017).

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.

Seminar on SFA. The primary mission of NATO's Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan is Security Force Assistance (SFA). Norway is hosting a seminar on the topic in March 2018.

Expeditionary Advising. Afghanistan is not Iraq; but advising is advising. 2nd Bn 101st Airborne Division (Task Force Strike) had a mission to advise the Iraq Security Forces (ISF) during the fight for Mosul. TF Strike had to rethink the way they conducted advise and assist operations. The brigade shifted from advising in static locations to "expeditionary advising". This model allowed advisors to have a persistent presence forward with their ISF counterparts. Eventually "expeditionary advising" gave way to "Advise, Assist, Accompany, and Enable" (A3E). An excellent article entitled "Expeditionary Advising: Enabling Iraqi Operations from the Gates of Baghdad through Eastern Mosul", Small Wars Journal, February 22, 2018.

NSOCC-A Reports Growth of Police NMUs. The NATO Special Operations Component Command - Afghanistan says that the General Command of Police Special Units (GCPSU) will grow from three to six National Mission Units (NMUs).  (DVIDS, Feb 22, 2018).

IMET Programs. Every year U.S. International Military Education and Training (IMET) programs are used to train approximately 6,000 - 7,000 foreign officers from roughly 120 friendly and llied nations in US military schools alongside their US counterparts. Afghan officers of the MoD and MoI are included in these training programs. Learn more in "Normative Persuasion and the Impact of IMET Programs on U.S. National Security Goals", Georgetown Security Studies Review, February 22, 2018.

News & Info about the 1st SFAB

1st SFAB Arrives in Afghanistan. The new Army unit created to conduct the advise and assist mission on a permanent basis is now starting its first deployment in Afghanistan. The 1st SFAB leadership and advanced elements are now in Afghanistan. Soon around 36 advisor teams will spread out around the country to advise and assist the ANDSF at the brigade and kandak level. Read "First Troops Among Front-Line Advisor Brigade Arrive in Afghanistan",, February 22, 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, February 18, 2018

TA3E - Train, Advise, Assist, Accompany, & Enable

A U.S. medical advisors discusses medical evacuation
procedures with Afghan counterpart in OCC-R South (RS photo)

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.

NATO Adding 3K More Troops. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is aiming to increase the number of its forces in Afghanistan to conduct the training mission with the ANDSF. (Khaama Press, Feb 14, 2018).

Seminar on SFA. The primary mission of NATO's Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan is Security Force Assistance (SFA). Norway is hosting a seminar on the topic in March 2018.

Paper on SOF Advising. The Joint Special Operations University (JSOU) has published a 106-page publication entitled Growing SOLO: Expanding the Spectrum of SOF Advisory Capabilities, by Troy White, JSOU Report 18-1, Feb 2018.

News & Info about the 1st SFAB

Veteran Questions Usefulness of the SFAB. A veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts looks at the new SFAB about to deploy to Afghanistan and wonders if it will really make a difference. Read "Repeating the mistakes of Vietnam today in Afghanistan", The Hill, February 12, 2018.

SFAB - A New Way to Train. Reuters correspondent Phil Stewart writes about the 1st SFAB in "In Long Afghan War, US Army Tries New Way to Deploy Trainers", Reuters, February 14, 2018.

Security Element for 1st SFAB. The insider threat is a huge concern for advisors working with the ANDSF. It is for that reason (as well as the threat from insurgents) that advisor teams are protected by security elements (like Guardian Angels). The 1st SFAB will soon deploy to Afghanistan with soldiers from Task Force 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment (based at Fort Benning) who will serve as their security force element. (WLTZ TV, Feb 12, 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, February 11, 2018

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

An Intel Advisor Mentoring ANDSF

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.

Italian Troops Travel to Farah. About 50 Italian military personnel are now in western Farah province to support Afghan forces during operations against militants.  (, Feb 7, 2018).

TFSW Marine Advisors Worked at Kandak Level. The Marines from Task Force Southwest are working with the Afghans in Helmand province at corps, brigade, and even (at times) down to battalion level. The past rotation of Marines did this without suffering casualties - the current rotation of Marine advisors may get even closer to the front lines. Read "For U.S. troops in Afghanistan, new questions about where to be in combat", The Washington Post, February 8, 2018.

SOD-O TAA's ANASOC and More. The Special Operations Detachment-O of the Maryland Army National Guard has been working at Camp Morehead (Camp Commando) for the past several months with the primary mission of training, advising, and assisting the Afghan National Army Special Operations Command (ANASOC). But, in addition, the unit members have found time to conduct a little humanitarian service work in Afghanistan. (The Baltimore Sun, January 25, 2018).

Seminar on SFA. The primary mission of NATO's Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan is Security Force Assistance (SFA). Norway is hosting a seminar on the topic in March 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, January 28, 2018

Train, Advise, Assist Mission in Afghanistan

Italian advisors 'fly to advise' (RS HQs, 20180122)

Italian Advisors Fly to Advise. Advisors from Train, Advise, and Assist Command - West recently flew to Kushki Kuhna district, Herat province to conduct periodic training with their Afghan partners. Read more in "Italian advisors provide ANA with periodic training at home", Resolute Support, January 22, 2018.

TAAC-North's 'Train the Trainers' Course. The advisors at Train, Advise, and Assist Command - North located at Mazar-e-Sharif have developed a 4-week long course for experienced members of the ANA who will take their knowledge back to their units. Read "Training the trainers in northern Afghanistan", Resolute Support, January 27, 2018.

JFTC Advisor Training. NATO officers and NCOs are currently training to be advisors in a two-week train-up held at the Joint Forces Training Centre (JFTC) in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Over two hundred students are in attendance. They will serve as advisors while assigned to Resolute Support Mission in Kabul and the Train, Advise, and Assist Command - North in Mazar-e-Sharif. Read more in "JFTC Trains for Resolute Support Mission" JFTC, January 2018.

Mi-17 Training at Rucker Ends. The training of Afghans to fly and maintain the Mi-17 helicopter is coming to a close at Fort Rucker, Alabama. (DVIDS, January 17, 2018).

RS FAST Program. The Functional Area Support Team (FAST) program by RS HQs is helping to recruit young, educated Afghans for civilian roles performing essential functions within the ANDSF and security ministries. Read "Putting Young Afghans on a FAST Track", RS, January 12, 2018.

TAA in Many Shapes. Read an article about members of the 3rd Infantry Division - Sustainment Brigade who advise the ANDSF while stationed at HKIA. "Train, Advise, Assist, Sustain: 3ID RSSB Mission in Kabul", DVIDS, January 17, 2018.

Aussie Advising the KGC. An Australian Army Officer is busy mentoring Afghans at the Kabul General Garrison Command (KGC). Read his story in a dispatch by the Australian DoD, January 9, 2018.

Afghan CDO QC. The 14-week long Afghan Commando Qualification Course is graduating hundreds of newly-minted Commandos each class. The latest class saw 650 ANA Soldiers complete training. Hopefully the quality of the Commandos is still a factor. Read "Commando growth in full swing", DVIDS, January 24, 2018.

News on the 1st SFAB

More Advisors Heading to Afghanistan.The Washington Post reports that up to 1,000 more advisors are heading to Afghanistan this spring. (WaPo, Jan 21, 2018).

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.

JRTC Training Complete. The advisory brigade has completed its pre-deployment training. "The 1st of the 1st: 1st SFBA wraps up rotation at JRTC prior to deployment", DVIDS, January 25, 2018.

1st SFAB at JRTC. The Ops Group at Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana, has developed a unique training program for the 1st SFAB. (DVIDS, Jan 17, 2018).

1st SFAB to be Issued XM18 Handgun. Soldiers from the 1st SFAB got familiar with the XM17 handgun at JRTC in preparation for their Afghan deployment. "Soldiers Test New Modular Handgun System at Fort Polk", DoD, January 23, 2018.

Will the SFAB Work? Maybe. Wesley Morgan, a military writer, provides news on the 1st SFAB in "The Army's latest weapon to turn around the war in Afghanistan", Politic, January 26, 2018.

Insufficient Training for 1st SFAB? Thomas Gibbons-Neff has penned an article that contains some troubling revelations . . . in "Training Quick and Staffing Unfinished, Army Units Brace for Surging Taliban", The New York Times, January 26, 2018.

Long War Journal on the SFAB. Read "Newly created 'teaching' brigade prepares to deploy to Afghanistan", FDD, January 26, 2018.

Military Advisor Training Academy - MATA. The U.S. Army has established a new school for training advisors who will conduct security force assistance missions. Read about the new MATA.

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, December 10, 2017

Train, Advise, Assist, Accompany, and Enable (TA3E) Mission in Afghanistan

Australian advisor with his Afghan counterpart

Training for Child Sex Abuse in Afghanistan. US troops will soon be receiving training on how to report child sex abuse by Afghan army and police. General Nicholson, the commander of the Resolute Support Mission, recently stated that there is a new policy that sets out procedures for monitoring and reporting violations by any security personnel suspected of child abuse. The media has reported for several years on cases of bacha bazi or 'boy play' by Afghan security personnel. See "US Troops to be Trained on Reporting Child Sex Abuse by Afghans",, December 3, 2017.

40th ID Trains Up for Deployment. California guardsmen will soon deploy to TAAC-South but first they have some training to do to get ready . . . by training with French troops in lovely Bydgoszcz, Poland. (Stars and Stripes, Dec 8, 2017).

45th BCT Trains Up for Deployment. Members of the Oklahoma Army National Guard are heading overseas soon to take part in the NATO train, advise, and assist mission in Afghanistan. But first the must finish their training at Fort Bliss, Texas. Hmmm. Bydgozcz or Bliss. Been to both. I'll take Bydgozcz! (DVIDS, Dec 7, 2017).

Military Advisor Training Academy - MATA. The U.S. Army has established a new school for training advisors who will conduct security force assistance missions. Read about the new MATA.

Assessing Soldiers for Advisor Training. The Army is standing up six Security Force Assistance Brigades or SFABs. The 1st SFAB is due to deploy to Afghanistan in early 2018 to field advisor teams for the Afghan National Army. Currently the Army has an assessment process for officers and NCOs seeking to join the SFABs. Read more in 1st SFAB Assesses Candidates, by Sgt. Arjenis Nunuz,, November 3, 2017 and The Army's New Advisory Units Don't Need The Best Officers, They Need the Right Ones, by Rick Montcalm, Modern War Institute, December 7, 2017.

1st SFAB "Kandak Enabler MOSs". A posting by 1st SFAB on their Facebook recruiting page on December 7, 2017 provided a listing of SFAB Military Occupational Specialties (MOSs) required for its brigade staff and advisory teams.

Another SFAB. The Army announced that the second of six SFABs will be established in January 2018. It will be based on Fort Bragg, North Carolina. See "Army announces activation of second Security Force Assistance Brigade at Fort Bragg",, December 8, 2017.

NCO Journal Article on SFABs. Learn more about the SFABs in this recent article. (NCO Journal, 8 December 2017).

Combat Advising - Doesn't Get Old. A 1st Sgt with the newly-formed 1st SFAB provides his perspective on the upcoming advisory mission his unit will perform in Afghanistan. A veteran of  advisory tours in Afghanistan and Iraq he knows what the job will entail. Read "Combat Advising Never Gets Old for this 1st SFAB Infantryman", DVIDS, November 6, 2017.

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

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

Bibliography for Resolute Support Advisors in Afghanistan

The Annotated Bibliography for Resolute Support has been updated and posted. The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission ended on 31 December 2014 and the NATO Resolute Support Mission (RSM) began on 1 January 2015. The Resolute Support Mission is primarily Security Force Assistance (SFA) along functional areas at the ministry, institutional, and ANA corps level. Some advisory teams are working at the brigade and kandak level.

The bibliography will be very helpful for advisors at all levels in Afghanistan as well as staff members of the RS mission. It has links to hundreds of documents, papers, publications, and websites about advising, the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, and Afghanistan. The bibliography is updated periodically and the date of revision is posted on the first page. The publication is an Adobe Acrobat PDF, is more than 200 pages long, and is less than 3 MBs big. You can read online or download at the link below. Updated on 8 Dec 2017.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Train, Advise, Assist, Accompany, and Enable (TA3E) Mission Update

Photo - A member of the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB) takes part in a training exercise at Fort Benning, Georgia in preparation for a deployment to Afghanistan. (Photo by SPC Noelle E. Wiehe, 50th Public Affairs Detachment, October 23, 2017).

'Guardian Angels' from Australia. A member of the Royal Australian Regiment describes his job protecting advisors for the Afghan Air Force (AAF) in a post by the Australian Department of Defense, November 22, 2017.

Mentors at 'Sandhurst'. The ANA Officer Academy (ANA-)A) is located just outside Kabul. A British Army officer describes his job in this one-minute long video entitled "Mentoring at the Afghan Officers Academy", Resolute Support, November 24, 2017.

Bacha Bazi. Two reports were completed in 2017 about the sexual exploitation of young boys by officers of the Afghan police and army by two investigative services of the U.S. government. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) completed one in mid-2017 but the Defense Department 'classified' the report. The Department of Defense Inspector General (DoD IG) also conducted an investigation and published its report - this one unclassified. The Washington Post reports that the DoD IG's report was a watered-down version of the SIGAR report and less damaging to the Dod. Bacha Bazi - 'playing with boys' - is a fact of life in Afghanistan and more common than some realize. U.S. advisors with Afghan police and army units - especially at the lower levels of command - were confronted with the practice of Bachi Bazi - and put into a dilemma of how to navigate through the situation.

"Pentagon tried to block independent report on child sex among Afghan forces, Senate office says", The Washington Post, November 26, 2017.

Implementation of the DoD Leahy Law Regarding Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse by Members of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, DoD IG, November 16, 2017.

TAAC-Air Trains Up Afghan UH-60 Pilots. The first six Afghan Air Force (AAF) pilots graduated from the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter transition program. The Train, Advise, and Assist Command - Air (TAAC Air) advisors trained up the newly-qualified pilots in a course that was completed in late November. See "First Afghan UH-60 pilots graduate"DVIDS, November 20, 2017.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Train, Advise, Assist, Accompany, and Enable (TA3E)

Photo: ANA Soldiers from the 215th Corps conduct CASEVAC training at the Helmand Regional Military Training Center (RMTC) on Camp Shorabak. (Photo by SGT Lucas Hopkins, RS HQs, November 19, 2017).

40th ID to head TAAC South. The California's Army National Guard 40th Infantry Division (Mech) will form the core of the hqs and staff of Train, Advise, and Assist Command - South (TAAC South). In November elements of the 40th ID participated in a training event at Hohenfels, Germany to prepare for the deployment. (DVIDS, Nov 18, 2017).

TAAC South Checks Out CASEVAC Training at 215th Corps. Advisors with Train, Advise, and Assist Command - South visited Helmand province to observe CASEVAC training with the Afghans at the 215th Corps that took place at the Helmand Regional Military Training Center (RMTC). (DVIDS, Nov 19, 2017).

Canada and Afghanistan. The CEO of Afghanistan, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, recently conducted a tour of North America. During his visit he expounded upon the need continued support by the international community for Afghanistan. Abdullah met on the sidelines of the Halifax Forum to ask Canada's Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan for more help in military training. See "Afghanistan looks to Canada for more training support", CBC News, November 19, 2017.

Intel Analysts Ready for Afghan SFAB Deployment. Intelligence Analysts (35F) play a critical role in determining the enemy's capabilities, vulnerabilities, and probably courses of action. Most Intel Analysts work at a desk behind a computer. For a 35F with a Security Force Assistance Brigade the job will most likely take him 'outside the wire' as a member of combat advisory teams. The 1st SFAB will soon deploy to Afghanistan in early 2018. Read "Outside the Wire: Intel Analysts in Army's 1st SFAB get career-building opportunity", DVIDS, November 7, 2017.

The Colors of U.S. Army's Beret. The formation of the SFABs got very contentious with the plans to issue a beret with a shade of green close to the famed Green Beret of the U.S. Army Special Forces. The Army quickly announced a change of plans - it would issue a beret with a shade of brown. Read more about the color of berets in "Earning it: A complete history of Army berets and who's allowed to wear them", by Meghann Myers, Military Times, November 20, 2017.

More SFAB. Read more news stories and articles about the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Train, Advise, Assist, Accompany, and Enable (TA3E)

HIMARS firing in Afghanistan in support of ground troops.
(Photo by U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean Furey)

Marines Providing "Assist" to 215th ANA Corps with HIMARS. The Marines of Task Force Southwest are providing fire support to the Afghan National Army in Helmand province. Of course, the advanced rocket system also provides a degree of security to the Marine advisor teams working across Helmand province at the tactical (kandak) level. The M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System has a range of about 300 kilometers - depending on the type of munition being fired. Read more in "Marines bring HIMARS to Helmand to beef up security", Military Times, November 12, 2017.

1st SFAB 92Y Likes Her Job. The 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade will soon deploy to Afghanistan. Like many units, the SFAB needs a variety of support MOSs to function. Read on how one Unit Supply NCO likes her new job with the 1st SFAB in "Combat Service Support Soldiers take pride in building the 1st SFAB", DVIDS, November 9, 2017.

ATP 3-96.1 SFAB. The army is scheduled to publish Army Techniques Publication (ATP) 3-96.1 in January 2018. It provides doctrinal guidance and direction on how the Security Force Assistance Brigades plan, prepare, and executes operations globally. Could be useful to the 1st SFAB due to deploy to Afghanistan in early 2018.

DoD IG Report on Child Abuse by ANDSF. The U.S. Department of Defense Inspector General's office issued a report on November 14th highlighting the history of U.S. military reporting cases of child abuse by members of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces.

SFABs and Governance Advising. Do they have enough CA expertise? Three U.S. Army Civil Affairs officers provide some advice for the 1st SFAB on the art of governance advising. Read "A Governance Advising Framework for the Security Force Assistance Brigade", Small Wars Journal, November 18, 2017.

U.S. Special Forces and Training up the ANASF. Periodically throughout the year a graduation ceremony is held for a group of Afghan Commandos who have successfully completed the ANA Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC). To even apply to the ANASF an Afghan soldier must have served some time in the Afghan Commandos. Read more in "I Serve Afghanistan!: Afghan Soldiers Graduate to the Elite Ranks of Special Forces"Task and Purpose, November 12, 2017.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Train, Advise, Assist, Accompany, and Enable (TA3E)

Members of 1st SFAB conducting a meeting with 'Afghan counterparts'
during advisor training at Fort Benning, Georgia.
(Photo from TRADOC pub, November 1, 2017).

1st SFAB. The 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB) is ramping up its training in preparation for its upcoming deployment to Afghanistan in early 2018. One of the adjustments the SFAB is making is the increase in personnel from 529 to over 700. This will allow the Combat Advisor Teams (CATs) to be augmented with intelligence and medical specialists. Read more in "Combat and cultural readiness key for new Army trainers", San Francisco Chronicle, November 7, 2017.

SFAB Seeking Tactical Leaders. The U.S. Army is seeking tough and experienced tactical leaders from many occupational specialties to serve as combat advisors in the Army's newest expeditionary force. Read more in "Security Force Assistance Brigade" XVIII Airborne Corps seeks tactical leaders", Fort Campbell Courier, November 9, 2017.

1st SFAB in the News. The Army's grand experiment in forming up an institutionalized advisor unit is well on its way to proving itself in combat. The unit will deploy to Afghanistan in early 2018. Read some recent news stories about the 1st SFAB.

In Afghanistan - More Troops Outside the Wire. Several years after pulling back, American troops will head outside the wire to battle the Taliban and turn up the air war. Read more in an news report by Foreign Policy, November 10, 2017.

TAAC-North Conference. Members of the Train, Advise, and Assist Command - North met in Brussels to discuss regional challenges and make plans for future peace activities. The defense ministerial was organized by Germany's Defence minister. Germany is the lead 'framework' nation for TAAC-North. (, Nov 11, 2017).

NATO Troop Increase. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization says it will increase troop levels to 16,000 to enhance the 'train, advise, and assist' mission in Afghanistan. Read a brief news release by NATO posted on 9 November 2017. See also "NATO Plus-Up Will Give Afghan Forces an Offensive Boost, Nicholson Says" Department of Defense, November 11, 2017.

Canada Taking a Pass. Canada is not participating in the NATO troop increase for Afghanistan. While it made significant contributions for over a decade it is passing on the renewed training effort of NATO to enhance the capacity and capability of the ANDSF. (Ottawa Citizen, Nov 8, 2017).

DoD Sending More Troops. One news report (by Adam Linehan) says that the Department of Defense will be adding more troops to Afghanistan - with the troop level meeting 16,000 by early 2018. See "The DoD Is Sending More Troops to Afghanistan Than Previously Announced", Task & Purpose, November 9, 2017.

Article on the "Accompany" Part of TA3E. A British military blog writes on the importance of "Accompany" in the "Train, Advise, Assist, Accompany, and Enable" mission. Read "Accompany" - That Third Myth, Wavell Room, November 9, 2017.

Language and Culture Training. Robert R. Greene Sands, the CEO of LanguaCulture, LLC, writes about how the U.S. Department of Defense can improve language and culture training. (Rosetta Stone Blog, October 19, 2017).

Sunday, October 22, 2017

SFABs - Once Again or "TA3E"

Soldiers of 1st SFAB fire 9 mm pistols during training (photo credit below)

In 2012 the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) deployed hundreds of Security Force Assistance Advisory Teams or SFAATs with the task to train, advise, and assist the Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan National Police (ANP) as part of the overall Security Force Assistance (SFA) mission. Of course, this was not the first time that advisor teams had worked in Afghanistan but it was perhaps the largest advisor effort of the conflict. In 2013 the U.S. changed the structure of the brigade combat teams (BCTs) deploying to Afghanistan - leaving behind many of the lower-ranking Soldiers. In this new organizational structure the BCTs resembled the 'Advise and Assist Brigades' (AABs) that deployed to Iraq toward the end of that conflict. The SFABs were re-deployed to the United States once the Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and the ISAF mission down-sized and concluded. The BCTs returned to the states, discarded the emphasis of the SFA mission, and returned to the normal training activities it conducted prior to the Afghan deployment.

However, the use of the SFABs in an advisory capacity was not forgotten. General Milley - now head of the Army - served as the commander of the ISAF Joint Command (IJC) in Kabul while the SFABs were at the height of the deployment cycle in Afghanistan. He saw the value in the SFABs but also noted they were an ad hoc arrangement. He decided to institutionalize the SFAB concept. The Army is now establishing six SFABs. Five active and one reserve component. The first one has stood up at Fort Benning and is undergoing training in the tasks associated with Security Force Assistance.

The 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade will deploy to Afghanistan in early 2018. So, once again, we will see the SFABs back in Afghanistan. The difference is that it isn't an ad hoc arrangement . . . and hopefully that will improve the caliber of the advising effort with the ANA and ANP. The unit's core mission is to "train, advise, assist, accompany and enable missions with allied and partner nations".

So observers of the Afghan conflict will note that previous advisors and advisor teams were very attuned to TAA or 'train, advise and assist'. However, now we have TAA plus 'accompany' and 'enable'. In a push to get the ANA up to speed advisor teams will now (once again) work below corps level at brigade and kandak (battalion) unit level. I suspect this is the 'accompany' part of the mission. The 'enable' part would likely be the providing of ISR, artillery, and close air support 'enablers' along with other types of support.

So welcome to the "TA3E" mission!


"All Things SFAB - Explainer of Security Force Assistance Brigades", SOF News, October 10, 2017.

"First Security Force Assistance Brigade training for deployment",, October 12, 2017.

Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by SGT Joseph Truckley, 50th Public Affairs Detachment. Soldiers of the 92nd Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade fire their 9 mm pistols at Hibbs Range on October 17, 2017 at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Videos about Afghanistan

EAPs Prove Vital to ANDSF Success in Helmand, DVIDS, September 21, 2017.
An Expeditionary Advisory Package (EAP) is a purpose-built team organized to provide training, advise, and assistance to elements of the Afghan Army and Police below corps or zone level. The EAP provides the opportunity to advisors to train and assist Afghan forces at the brigade and kandak level. The push of advisors to lower levels of the Afghan security forces is part of the new South Asia strategy.

In the Warlords' Shadow: Village Stability Operations in Afghanistan, New America, September 7, 2017. A book author talks about the Village Stability Operations (VSO) and Afghan Local Police (ALP) programs that reflected a 'bottom-up' strategy to provide security at the local community level. Daniel Green provides a first-hand account of how this initiative functioned in practice.

The Non-Military Components of the United States Strategy in Afghanistan, Center for Strategic & International Studies, September 8, 2017. A panel discussion that explores the importance of a whole-of-government approach to the new strategy for Afghanistan. (1 1/2 hours long).

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Resolute Support Advisors at Work in Afghanistan

RS HQs and Social Media. Read the story on how one Public Affairs Officer (PAO) assigned to Resolute Support HQs in Kabul spent her time on Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube in "Resolute Support Social Media and the Afghan Conflict", SOF News, August 1, 2017.

TAAC Air Advisors work with AAF. The USAF advisors are working with all types of personnel from the Afghan Air Force - from line pilots to the Afghan Ministry of Defense (MoD). Two of the workhorses of the Afghan Air Force are the A-29 Super Tucano and the Cessna 208 Caravan. The air advisors work in Kabul at the main airport as well as at forward locations across Afghanistan. Read more in "Building Momentum in Afghanistan", Air Force Magazine, September 2017.

TAAC Air Advisors Hope to Work Themselves Out of a Job. A USAF maintenance operations officer working with the Train, Advise, and Assist Command - Air would like to think that he is working himself out of a job. Currently 80% of the maintenance work done on aircraft belonging to the Afghan Air Force (AAF) is done by contract maintenance workers. His hope is that number will slowly decline. But . . .  with plans to buy refurbished UH-60 Blackhawks for the AAF that seems unlikely. The UH-60 won't show for a couple of years and it will likely be one of the most complex aircraft in the AAF. Read more on this topic in "Afghan Air force Takes Over A-29 Maintenance Ops", DVIDS, July 26, 2017.

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.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Advisors and the Afghan Security Institutions

Members of the TAAC-West medical staff and Police Advisory Team (PAT)
provide medical training to female members of the Afghan National Police (ANP)
 in Herat, Afghanistan. (Photo TAAC-West 2017).
The mission in Afghanistan is basically two parts. Part one is the train, advise and assist (TAA) mission and Part two is the counterterrorism mission. The majority of the NATO, partner nation, and U.S. troops are engaged in the TAA mission. Below are some recent news reports about the troops doing the TAA mission.

Advisors Needed at Tactical Level. Michele Flournoy and Richard Fontaine (both from the Center for a New American Security) list some lessons learned and provide some recommendations for the Trump administration on the Afghan conflict. Of the six or so lessons learned one seems key: providing more advisors at the tactical level (battalion) who are former U.S. battalion commanders and who have received MORE than two-weeks of training for their advising role. Read more in "The Afghan War is Not Lost"The National Interest, July 11, 2017.

Podcast about Advisors and the Insider Threat. The Modern War Institute of West Point has published a podcast by a U.S. Army NCO that experienced an insider attack (Green-on-Blue) at an Afghan police station. Listen to The Spear - An Insider Attack in Afghanistan, July 12, 2017.

Marines Back in Helmand Province. Two years ago the Marines left Helmand province after having spent millions of dollars in development projects and clearing much of the province of Taliban fighters. In two years the Afghan government and security forces managed to squander the hard-earned achievements of the Marines. Now the Marines are back again - at a significantly reduced force level to conduct the 'train, advise, and assist' mission. Read "Back in Afghan Hot Spot, U.S. Marines Chase Diminished Goals"The New York Times, July 14, 2017.

Marines 'Fly to Advise' the 505th Zone National Police. Marines from Task Force Southwest flew to the capital of Helmand province to spend some time with the Afghan National Police. See "Fly-to-Advise: Marines with Task Force Southwest visit the Provincial Headquarters"RS HQ, July 11, 2017.

AAF and TAAC-Air. Personnel from the 'Train, Advise, and Assist Command - Air' (TAAC-Air) and the Afghan Air Force (AAF) conducted a bilateral casualty evacuation mission and an aerial re-supply training exercise in July. See a news report by DVIDS, July 11, 2017.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Building Partner Capacity within the Afghan Security Ministries

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.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Afghan News Snippets

Remembering Afghan Elections of 2009. An American military officer assigned to a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Gardez in Paktia province remembers the Afghan 2009 presidential elections in "American Export: Elections", The Atlantic, November 7, 2016.

How to Advise. The Resolute Support mission is to "Train, Advise, and Assist" the Afghan National Defense Security Forces (ANDSF) and the Afghan Security Institutions (ASIs). The U.S. has had over 15 years of experience in advising in both Iraq and Afghanistan. One such advisor - with advisory experience in both countries - provides his thoughts on how to advise in "My Lesson From 'The Long War'", Small Wars Journal, November 8, 2016.

Canada Remembers Fallen Service Members. 158 men and women died while serving in Afghanistan with Canadian Forces. On November 11th Canada remembered these individuals in a ceremony in Edmunton. See "Ceremony at Ainsworth Dyer Bridge remembers those who died in Afghanistan", Edmonton Journal, November 11, 2016.

"New Silk Road". A few years ago Europe yawned when it heard the news of a rebuilding of the "silk road" connecting Asia to the Middle East and Europe. Now times have changed. "Europe Finally Wakes Up to the New Silk Road, And this Could be Big",, November 10, 2016.

"No-Show Teachers". A recent news article informs us that the United States is providing bundles of money for teachers in Afghanistan who do not show up for work. "Afghan Watchdog: U.S. Pays Millions for No-Show Teachers, Students", NBC News, November 10, 2016.

Water Politics and Afghanistan. Iran and Pakistan are, in a big way, dependent upon Afghanistan for some of its water. The Afghan rivers, running downhill from its mountain snows, eventually flow into either Iran or Afghanistan. The relationship in the region is sometimes contentious over the amount of water leaving Afghanistan. Learn more in "Afghanistan's Water-Sharing Puzzle", The Diplomat, November 11, 2016.

Female Computer Programmers. In the western Afghan city of Herat female computer programmers are learning to code and are working in this fledgling industry. Learn about "Code to Inspire" - a coding school set up for women in November 2015 in "Meet Afghanistan's female coders who are defying gender stereotypes", The Guardian, November 7, 2016.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Afghan Security News

Kunduz CIVCAS Event. An airstrike took place during the recent attack on a Taliban position in Kunduz city where two American Special Forces Soldiers died. The airstrike hit a building(s) where senior Taliban leaders were in - and also some civilians (many children). Some estimates say over 30 civilians were killed. Read more in "U.S. general pledges investigation on Afghan air strike casualties", Reuters, November 5, 2016. See also "NATO and government forces are increasingly responsible for Afghan civilian deaths", The Washington Post, November 3, 2016.

Australian Woman Kidnapped. According to some initial reports (Tolo News) an Australian woman employed by an NGO was kidnapped at gunpoint on Saturday night (5 Nov 2016) in Kabul.

Hand-Holding at FOB Gamberi. Learn a little bit about what it is like to be an advisor to the Afghan National Army's 201st Corps in eastern Afghanistan. See "Texas troops aiding effort to advise Afghan military", My San Antonio, October 31, 2016.

Senior al-Qaida Ldr Killed by Airstrike. The US says that Farouq al-Qahtani, who had long-standing ties with Osama bin Laden, was killed in a precision air strike in October. (The Guardian, November 4, 2016).

ALP, Uprisings, and Militias. In the northern province of Takhar there is a mix of armed groups that exist in addition to the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police. Read more in "Afghanistan tries to clean up its militias, both legal and illegal",  LA Times, October 31, 2016.

Green-On-Green Attacks are Up. The occurrence of attacks by members of the Afghan security forces against other members of the Afghan army or police is rising. Read "Wave of Afghan-on-Afghan Insider Attacks Hits Afghan Army",,  October 31, 2016.

Army NCO Considered for MoH. An Army non-commissioned officer is being considered for the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in eastern Afghanistan in 2012. Read "We weren't out there looking for awards", Stars and Stripes, November 4, 2016.

Former Serviceman Dies in Afghanistan. A former Navy SEAL - Brian Hoke - died in Afghanistan. Hoke was from the Leesburg, Virginia ara and a 1996 graduate of the United States Naval Academy. He left the military in 2002 and worked for the U.S. State Department with many deployments overseas. He is survived by his wife and three children. Info from "Virginia Serviceman Dies in Afghanistan", NBC, October 31, 2016.