|Deh Afghanan village, Afghanistan, May 27, 2011|
The DoD Roundtable met with Colonel Howard Arey, Chief of Staff and Deputy Commander for Regional Support with NATO Training Mission Afghanistan. The colonel gave us a brief overview of the organization that has six commands led by five US Army colonels and one US Air Force colonel then led us into the importance of their mission! They integrate 60 training sites with up to 30,000 personnel in class a month and they build infrastructure such as police stations with engineer forces. They also sustain the engineers and trainers by providing security and enabling long term, self help programs for the Afghans.
These programs as expected will increase in scope for the future and the regional commands will provide the structure to hand over the lead in 2014! As a great flight leader trains a wingman the regional commands train the Afghans to take care of their military and police needs by 2014! There will be a handoff of responsibility and how we train Afghan forces will determine our and their success beyond 2014!
The colonel spoke of General Caldwell’s (Commander of NATO Training Command Afghanistan) Five Pillars to a successful transition:
1) Training Afghan trainers – critical to a mature Afghan force
2) Accelerate leader development of ANSF
3) Building literacy and vocational skills (military specialty branch schools for engineers, technicians, maintenance, computers, etc)
4) Resource stewardship – protecting our investments and soon to be their investments
5) Developing institutions to continue Afghan build of their security forces
Col. Howard Arey
He closed with an interesting comment about reaching out to the Afghan people. The regional commands are now reaching out to the Afghan people through Afghan media! Telling our story and why we are there to help is now on the airwaves through the locals! That would appear to be a huge step in the right direction of winning the hearts and minds of Afghans to ensure a smooth hand-off in 2014!
If you would like to read more about this please go to a DoD Article on MilitaryAvenue! Or if you would like to listen to the Roundtable or read a transcript please go to DoDLive! Thank you for your time and a late night Colonel Arey!
U.S. Army Spc. Myles Gaudet, left, and Spc. Matthew Tempesta pull security as members of Provincial Reconstruction Team Zabul, Arghandab detachment, meet with elders from Deh Afghanan village, Afghanistan, May 27, 2011. Gaudet and Tempesta are assigned to the team's security force. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson
Army Brig. Gen. Tom Cosentino, second from right, views a building under renovation at the Police Training Center in Qalat, Zabul province, Afghanistan, March 12, 2011. The building will be used by the Afghan Uniform Police. Cosentino is the deputy commanding general for Regional Support, NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Adrienne Brammer/Released)