Afghan leaders celebrate achievement in force management course

18 Jun 2016
KABUL, Afghanistan (June 18, 2016) — Twenty-two Afghan Army and police officers graduated from Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan, Capabilities Development Directorate’s "Force Management: the Basics” course in a ceremony here June 1.

The men stood in ranks surrounded by a crowd of coalition advisors as their achievements were acknowledged by guest speakers Maj. Gen. Dadang Lawang, chief of defense policy for the Ministry of Defense, and Essential Function 1 – Resource Management Director Stephen Barth, the lead resource manager for CSTC-A’s train, advise and assist mission.

"We are at war, and force management is key to enhancing our capabilities,” Lawang said, relaying lessons from the previous class.

As the students stepped forward to receive certificates of accomplishment, Barth thanked them for their hard work.

"I appreciate your efforts during this challenging time for Afghanistan” he said.  "Your skills will be critical in improving your country.”

Force Management: the Basics concluded after eight days of training focused on how to identify capability gaps, plan effectively, work within resource constraints, equip forces for the mission, and think critically.  These skills will help the Afghan Security and Defense Forces build their police and military forces so that they can best provide for the defense of Afghanistan and its people.  

The course was grounded in the principals of force management as practiced by the U.S. Army, but tailored to the Afghan context through the incorporation of adaptive learning methodology. Rather than focusing on metrics and memorization, CDD advisors engaged their students with open discussion, problem solving exercises, and real-world examples. The Afghan students practiced force management skills and critical thinking by building brigades to meet hypothetical requirements, discussing the pros and cons of incorporating new equipment into their force structure, and practicing their own teaching techniques by briefing their classmates. 

Maj. Gen. Paul Ostrowski, deputy commanding general of CSTC-A, commented during a class exercise built around the A-29 aerial platform.

"It’s not just about buying aircraft, but holistic thinking,” he said.

Ostrowski’s comments reinforce the intent of CDD advisors.

"The Force Management Course was very beneficial because it provided the necessary tools to conduct an effective capabilities and requirements analysis.” said Afghan Army officer and course graduate Lt. Col. Abdul Mohammed. "Since Afghanistan is in a state of war, it is important that we develop a force structure that adequately meets our strategic requirements.” 

The blend of time-tested force management doctrine and the latest in education theory is shaping future leaders who have a working knowledge of force management principals and the ingenuity to effect change within their organizations. 

The students honored during the graduation ceremony represent a new cadre of force managers for Afghanistan’s Ministry of Defense and Ministry of the Interior. These leaders will have the responsibility of guiding their organizations through the organized, Afghan-led processes that identify requirements for Afghanistan’s military and police forces, known as the Management of Change Process and the Command Plan Review. The MoD and MoI will need to identify their capability gaps and come forward to their Coalition partners with sound requirements as solutions. They will then have to work in a resource constrained environment to provide those capabilities that Afghanistan’s police and army need to secure peace and stability. 

The class sessions, based on planning and how to evaluate force structure changes based on doctrine, organization, training, logistics, personnel, and leadership, will be critical to working through the structured Management of Change and CPR processes. By directly linking training courses to these structured processes, CDD is setting up the MoD and MoI for success in the near-term while building a strong base by educating their leaders for the long-term.

In training MoD and MoI officers, CDD has taken the next step in enabling our Afghan partners.

"It’s not about doing it for them, it’s about helping the Afghans to take ownership of their own institutions,” said Col. Garrett Heath, CDD director.

CDD advisors work closely with the MoD and MoI in the force management process, helping to shape the force structure of the ANDSF and keep track of manning and equipment authorizations. As Afghan leaders work through these processes, learn the basics of force management, and grow in their abilities, they will take the lead in the development of the nation’s security forces.

CDD is currently working collaboratively with MoD and MoI to craft new force management guidance so that the institutions have codified guidance upon which they can rely.  By putting the right processes in place to identify requirements and resource them effectively, the ANDSF is creating a blueprint for future leaders to build the organization. 

As the CDD graduation ceremony displayed, Afghan police and military officers are actively engaging in training and education programs supported by Coalition forces.  With trained, educated, personnel, and the right processes in place, the ANDSF will possess the force management systems to continue to grow and evolve as Afghanistan takes charge of its own future. 

CSTC-A’s Capabilities Development Team is not only ensuring that Afghanistan possess the capabilities to win today’s fight- but that it has the systems needed to grow, evolve, and secure peace for future generations.

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