Friday, January 8, 2010

Advice on How to Get the Afghan Army on the Right Track: Start with Good Leadership and Some Advisors and Some "Partnering"

Mark Moyar wrote an article entitled "How to Whip the Afghan Army Into Shape", Foreign Policy, (December 22, 2009).  One of his first points is that the Afghan Army needs some good leadership but he recognizes this is hard to fix.  Karzai is part of the leadership problem with the appointment of relatives and cronies taking precedent over qualifications.  Moyar offers that the partnering of Afghan units with U.S. Army and Marine Corp units at the basic level will provide some relief to the shortage of Afghan military leadership at the junior officer and NCO ranks. 

Moyar further writes:
"Furthermore, for the past eight years, many of the NATO personnel assigned to work with Afghans have not possessed the right skills -- lacking expertise in guerrilla warfare, civil affairs, intelligence, or other important counterinsurgency activities. At present, the United States is in the process of taking action to correct these deficiencies, most importantly by deploying an entire active-duty Army brigade combat team to fill advisory billets."
Hmmmmm.  If, for the past eight years, we provided personnel who were " . . lacking expertise in guerrilla warfare, civil affairs, intelligence, or other counterinsurgency activities . . ."; how does an " . . .  active-duty Army brigade combat team . . . " fill the advisory billets?  One made up of a platoon of 19-year-olds, led by 24-year-old LTs, who don't know the culture, geography, language, religion, terrain, . . . etc.?

Moyar also states that the new initiative of "partnering" American units with Afghan units should provide dividends.  This is exactly what we should have been doing with our "white SOF" SF ODAs over the past several years (but didn't).

Moyar is a professor at the U.S. Marine Corp University and author of three books on counterinsurgency.  His latest is:

A Question of Command: Counterinsurgency from the Civil War to Iraq (Yale Library of Military History)

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