Army to expand the training program from small infantry units to larger military formations and develop defense institutions, such as logistics networks. In order to ensure sufficient U. In , the United Nations described Afghanistan as "volatile, having seriously deteriorated in certain parts of the country. When assuming the lead for the ANP mission, the United States failed to sufficiently coordinate police training programs and mission requirements with Germany, which had previously had the lead, and the European Union.
The United States preferred a plan to militarize the police as a localized defense force, while the Europeans wanted a traditional community policing model. This led to conflicting training, advising, and assisting efforts and resulted in the current ANP identity crisis.
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Army battalion equivalents , and basic training was reduced from 14 weeks in to 10 weeks in In , the U. In contrast, police recruits in the United States—who are pulled from a highly literate pool of high school graduates—attend an average of 21 weeks of basic training, followed by weeks of field training. The lack of appropriate equipment for the Afghan security forces threatened their combat readiness. According to a U. By the end of , senior U. And in , the U. As part of the expansion of the Afghan military, the United States initiated training of specialized units, transitioning the ANA from a light-infantry army to a combined arms service with army, air force, and special forces elements.
The train, advise, and assist programs for these specialized forces were the most successful of the training efforts, and were based on the comprehensive and persistent approach taken by U. Special Operations Command and some elements of the U. Air Force. Special Forces implemented a rigorous week training program—modeled on the U. Army Ranger program—that included close and enduring post-training mentorship in the field.
This resulted in Afghan Special Forces becoming the "best-of-the-best" in the Afghan military. And, while still a fledgling institution largely because the program was not initiated until , the Afghan Air Force shows great promise; it recently increased its ability to provide close air support and lift to ground forces.
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With limited oversight from and accountability to the Afghan government and the United States, these police forces were reported to have engaged in human rights abuses, drug trafficking, and other corrupt activities, ultimately serving as a net detractor from security. While the United States stopped supporting two of the programs due to these issues, the Afghan Local Police continue to operate today. President Obama also announced a withdrawal date for combat forces and the transfer of security to the ANDSF beginning in mid With guidance from the president, the U.
This dual-track strategy resulted in an environment ripe for capacity substitution, where U.
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At the same time, the mandate to conduct partnered operations with the ANDSF taught the Afghans to model their fighting on that of the United States, resulting in Afghan ground forces' increasing dependence on U. Assessment tools used throughout the reconstruction effort evaluated tangible information, such as recruitment, training, and equipment, and failed to assess subjective factors, such as corruption, leadership, and battlefield performance.
These assessment systems created disincentives for Afghan units to improve because the coalition prioritized supporting units with lower ratings. Furthermore, from to , the United States used four different ANDSF assessment methodologies that resulted in inconsistent and often contradictory conclusions about the quality and readiness of the forces. Similar shortages remained as time went on. Even in those areas deemed critical priorities, NTM-A struggled to meet its personnel requirements. In November , for example, about 36 percent of instructor positions seen as critical priorities were unfilled.
At a time when the ANA was rapidly expanding toward a force strength goal of ,, these staffing shortfalls at training facilities and in the field negatively affected planned ANDSF development.
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General John Craddock, Supreme Allied Commander Europe from to , stated that "NATO nations have never completely filled the agreed requirements for forces needed in Afghanistan" since mission inception. General Joseph Dunford warned the Senate Armed Services Committee in March that upon coalition troop withdrawal, the "Afghan security forces will begin to deteriorate I think the only debate is the pace of that deterioration. Prior to , developing Afghan ministerial capability in the security sector was primarily focused on governing initiatives that would improve the combat effectiveness of the force, often postponing the governing functions that are critical to improving accountability, oversight, professional development, and command of subordinate units.
Starting in January , U. Four regional train, advise, and assist commands TAAC provide routine support to ANDSF units in close proximity and will "fly-to-advise" to more remote locations, as needed. This posture has significantly decreased U. Leaving some units uncovered, without regular U.
Even with improved U. SSA efforts, corruption within the security forces and associated ministries continues to corrode the ANDSF's force readiness and battlefield performance. By , corruption was officially recognized as a critical threat to U. Despite consistent reports of rampant corruption, U. Civilian advisors, once able to drive themselves to the Ministry of Defense MOD and MOI, are now forced to move with armed guards, in convoys, or even by helicopter. Expeditionary Advisory Packages—the U. In these packages, advisor to security personnel ratios can be as high as 1 to 3.
President Ghani is attempting to restructure the ANDSF to optimize offensive capabilities and to reverse the eroding stalemate, but with the U. Embassy Kabul's walls, there are limits on what can be achieved. SSA cannot employ a one-size-fits-all approach; it must be tailored to a host nation's context and needs. Security force structures and capabilities will not outlast U. Senior government and nongovernment leaders in post-conflict or developing-world countries are likely to scrimmage for control of security forces; SSA missions should avoid empowering factions.
Western equipment and systems provided to developing-world militaries are likely to create chronic, high-cost dependencies.