Afghan, NATO senior enlisted leaders discuss way ahead

Resolute Support Command Sgt. Maj. David M. Clark, Sgt. Maj. of the Afghan Army Habibullah Chamkani (middle), and Ministry of Interior Command Sgt. Maj. Sayd Hasibullah (right) bond during the most recent graduation of new sergeants major from the Afghan National Army Sergeant Major Academy in Kabul Aug. 30, 2017. Story and Photos by Lt. j.g. Egdanis Torres-Sierra, Resolute Support Public Affairs
2 Sep 2017
KABUL, Afghanistan (Sept. 2, 2017) — Operating with purpose, Afghan and Resolute Support sergeants major met here Wednesday to share their experiences and continue improving Afghan security forces.

The quarterly gathering of senior enlisted leaders from around Afghanistan, known as the Warfighter Forum, was their largest meeting in more than a year. The forum helped solidify the way ahead on the new U.S. South Asia strategy.

During the forum – the theme of which was "Operating with Purpose,” they shared best practices in building combat capabilities including a range of topics from operational awareness, personnel accountability, combined firepower, leadership development, and training and logistic support.

Gen. John W. Nicholson, commander, Resolute Support, attended the forum and highlighted the critical role of experienced senior enlisted leaders. He said they are the catalyst for executing President Ashraf Ghani’s vision for improving the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces.

The Afghan government is seizing on momentum and building the ANDSF into an even stronger, more modern military force as they lead the fight against the enemies of Afghanistan.

In Keeping with their theme, the leaders said one way to operate with purpose is to continue helping Afghan leadership develop their young talent, who will ultimately shape and execute reforms.

U.S. Army Maj. Gen. L. Neil Thurgood, deputy commander for Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan, spoke at the forum and elaborated on the topic of leadership.

"As we bring up a new generation of soldiers, you all are going to be the steady force, the constant force of leadership of your army,” Thurgood said. "It is very important … that you have the courage to tell your superiors which officer should stay or be removed. Your responsibility is to shape the leadership of your Army.”

Silenced filled the room when Resolute Support Command Sgt. Maj. David M. Clark asked the senior noncommissioned officers one question: What are you fighting for?

"We are bringing combat power to fight those who are killing innocent families and stealing the future of your kids. We are charging you to win.  This is our window of opportunity to crush the enemy,” he expressed. "Be proud but not satisfied and don’t forget what you’re fighting for,” Clark said.

The group also used the occasion to welcome and congratulate the newest graduates of the Afghan National Army Sergeant Major Academy. The graduates earned their promotions after meeting rigorous academic and physical requirements.

Academy training consists of three main areas: leadership, resource management (to include logistic planning and accountability), and military operations at the strategic, operational and tactical levels, explained Command Sgt. Maj. Mohibullah Hamdard, the academy’s executive officer.

Clark urged the ANDSF’s newest sergeants major to provide leadership daily – but lead by example, through actions, and by earning and keeping the trust of their soldiers by truly caring for them.

"You are the strength of the non-commissioned officers corps. You are the strength of the military,” said Clark, during his graduation remarks. "Leadership is about the heart. So, continue to have a heart for this mission; continue to have a heart to endure sacrifice, and to commit to the people who need us the most.”

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