Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ain't easy training the ANA

Much less the ANP, I imagine. From BruceR. at Flit:
Afghan army marksmanship: quality vs quantity

C.J. Chivers:

But it is not unusual to see Afghan troops who seem, on patrol and in firefights, to have a very limited sense of basic fighting skills...

It is extremely difficult to rapidly increase quality and quantity at the same time. But that it is what we've been trying to do with the ANA. People will point to the Canadian army in 1939 or the Indian army in the Raj, and say we're just using the wrong methods, but the simple fact is in those armies the people trying to rapidly improve them had a great deal more control over promotions, dismissals, or discipline in the ranks of the trained than ISAF has had over the ANA (which isn't saying much, as ISAF mentors have have generally ad little significant influence at all over any of those things)...

The result, unfortunately, has been that the drive to produce quality and quantity simultaneously has largely failed to produce either, at a huge cost to the war effort.

As something of an aside, I think a lot of the "arm the tribes" stuff [see Upperdate here] at its heart is really people detecting a problem with the military advisory approach in Afghanistan, and searching for ways to find some Afghans to fight alongside who are more in touch with their own "way of war" than the current ANA are. They evidently feel, not without reason, that we seem to have been very effectively creating a force that has the weaknesses of both our and their ways of fighting, and none of the strengths [emphasis added].

Earlier from Bruce on "militias" and foreigners training locals generally. Meanwhile more on ISAF's training contraints and, er, challenges:
U.S. Troops Fill NATO Training Gap In Afghanistan

The Pentagon is sending 800 more American soldiers to Afghanistan in the coming weeks to help train Afghan security forces. That's because other NATO countries still haven't fulfilled their pledges to send their own troops to train the Afghan army and police.
A battalion of the 82nd Airborne Division will be heading to Afghanistan in the coming weeks. The soldiers will work as trainers for at least several months. The unit is beyond the 30,000 additional troops that President Obama already approved [emphasis added] for Afghanistan this year.

At a NATO foreign ministers meeting last week in Estonia, there was a sense of urgency about trainers for the Afghanistan forces...

NATO's commitment to the war has been hampered by dwindling political support throughout Europe. Alliance officials said during the meeting in Estonia that NATO has fallen 450 people short of a goal to supply 2,000 trainers for the Afghan National Police force by October.

But the 450 number is misleading, military officials say. They say that's the number that no NATO country has agreed to supply. The larger number is the 800 trainers that NATO had pledged to send, but are not yet in Afghanistan.

"A pledge is a pledge. It's not a person on the ground yet, performing a mission, making a difference, improving the quality of the police and the army over there," says Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, the top American trainer for the Afghan security forces [and for NATO, see first part of this post.

"The challenge we have in Afghanistan is it's not boots on the ground yet," Caldwell says.

NATO nations have said they will make good on those pledges of 800 trainers sometime this year. But that's not good enough for Caldwell. He has to fill in those gaps now.

The 800 NATO trainers are part of more than 2,000 training slots Caldwell has to fill. He will fill some slots by hiring private contractors.

Contractors -- mostly from the United States, and from companies that include the private security firm DynCorp International -- are doing most of the training in Afghanistan [emphasis added]. There are some 3,000 contract trainers, compared with about 1,000 American military instructors. NATO only has a little more than 300 trainers...
By the way, two battalions from the 82nd Airborne are already serving as part of the CF's Task Force Kandahar:
Menard's brigade already includes three U.S. army battalions [more at this post]: the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment [actually 508th PIR, thanks Gulliver in "Comments"] and the 97th Military Police Battalion, which are both part of the Fort Bragg, Ky. [N.C., see Dave in Pa.s' comment]-based 82nd Airborne Division...


Blogger Dave in Pa. said...

"...and the 97th Military Police Battalion, which are both part of the Fort Bragg, Ky.-based 82nd Airborne Division.."

That'd be Fort Bragg, North Carolina (home of the 82nd AND the Green Berets). Fort Campbell, Kentucky is the home of the 101st Air Assault Division.

2:39 p.m., April 28, 2010  
Blogger Mark, Ottawa said...

At least the mistake was Mr Fisher's (whom I was quoting).


3:07 p.m., April 28, 2010  

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