View Full Version : Doctrine Development as part of Foreign Security Force Assistance

Anthony Hoh
05-19-2008, 12:59 PM
The infamous "they" are attempting to assist the ANA in doctrine development. I have taken a small hand in helping this effort. I feel I am doing a lot of discovery learning on something that should be a fairly straight forward process. As advisors we teach our counterparts, how to do things to the "standard", but obviously being human you cant totally screen out an American frame of reference for what that Afghan standard should be. The problem is the French, Germans, Italians, Mongolians, Canadians, etc… we cant all be right. So the answer is Afghani doctrine, but how that doctrine should be shaped is still a work in progress. I began research, and cant find examples of where a nation has helped any indigenous force develop doctrine as part of the counterinsurgency effort. If a council member has some links to examples it would be much appreciated.
In Service,

Old Eagle
05-19-2008, 03:36 PM
A key part of SFA is not to "mirror image" your own, personnel system, doctrine, equipment, etc. Whtever you're developing has to be right for the force you're working with.

We built the Afghan Training and Doctrine Command into the force structure not to re-invent the training and doctrine wheels, but to make meaningful adjustments to what we outsiders were teaching them. There needs to be close coordination and a concerted effort among the advisors to make that system work. There is also a nascent LLI capability that should start feeding LL from the field into the doctrine development process.

As you develop doctrine there, one of the challenges is/will be to break the former soviet influence. Centralized decision-making and responsibility avoidance have no place in a modern, effective force. I'd say that UK, US, German and other western doctrine is, indeed, a good place to start, then adjust fire from a known point.

Anthony Hoh
05-20-2008, 05:28 AM
I could not agree more about not trying to shape your counterpart in your image, one of many true Kilcullenism’s . However as you feel my pain, know that “they” are talking about BOS integration for an Army that wears shower shoes on guard duty. (In fairness a Soldier with an AK in shower shoes can kill you just as dead as if he is wearing boots.) But it still does not make Afghan sense. Although the current doctrine writers vehemently deny they are copying and pasting American doctrine and translating it. It’s almost as if “they” are praying for “doctrinal causality”, that is to say, if I write it, it will become true, and they will integrate their BOS elements. I have always believed that doctrine should provide guidance on how an Army fights here and now. As new capabilities and TTP’s are evolved and incorporated, doctrine is rewritten to reflect the changes. Doctrine should not be the main catalyst for change. “We” (self included) are trying to gift too many LL without self discovery, from what I have heard and seen this doctrine is underutilized and ignored not so much because of literacy issues (which is a big problem) but because of applicability. Nothing in the current ANA manuals are tactically obtuse; they just don’t take ground truth into account. I appreciate your advice, does your organization have any relevant LL on how this has been done in the past? Or to be more succinct don’t feel my pain, share some!
In Service,

Rob Thornton
05-20-2008, 12:46 PM
Our senior SNCO just returned from Germany where he was discussing some of the issues you bring up. Your name actually came up there (in a good way). The short answer, there is not a valid model for you to pull from - its going to be the ugly muddle I sent you in the email, and its going to take a long time. What does not sound helpful is the separation between those contracted to put together the doctrine, and those charged with helping the Afghans implement it.

Is "the put-together" doctrine crew on site with you? Do they interact at the operational and tactical levels with the TTs and the Afghans? If not, that may be one of the most practical and effective first steps that could be taken. Understanding it may not be written into their contract, it may be one of those things that becomes the determination as to who gets the contract next vs. the "we'll produce it in "X" amount of time" qualification.

It might be worth while instead of trying to rush something to bad effect, if instead we (the Joint Force) looked across the Joint force for those with relevant experience in a specific theater as a specific level and partnered them with the Afghanis, and then subordinated any contractors tagged to "write" applicable doctrine that is to be used by those FSF. I don't know what the contract looks like, but even in our own force, the hiring of contractors to write doctrine has had mixed effects - it depends on their level of commitment and experience - OE for example is passionate about the mission, has an incredible depth of experience (to include a recent role as a senior level advisor in Afghanistan), however, I have known some doctrine writers who tend to equate everything to a CTC rotation from the 1990s (this can be true of AD folks as well:().

What really matters is if they are committed to doing the job right - which often means dialogging with the folks who have to implement it (in this case the Afghans and the TTs), and if they are contracted - this means living up to the spirit/intent of the contract vs. living up to the letter of the contract.

One thing that is working well here is to bring all the players to a meeting - not the lawyers, but the "doers". I'd recommend bringing that to the CoC - a doctrine conf at your location for a good week that gets at the issues and firmly establishes the Afghans in everyone's mind as the "customer" - if they are not satisfied with the product, then the product is sub-standard. We may pay the bill, but doctrine that does not enable the Afghans (or what ever FSF we're trying to enable) is worthless. Within that conf. I'd suggest venues to provide the "writers" the opportunity to experience the conditions in which the doctrine will be employed.

It may also be a worthwhile investment to leaven the doctrine teams with Afghan Army vets, interpreters (who can also translate and transcribe), and Advisors - we should not skimp here. I've not met Les Grau (although I've read several of his books) up at the FMSO here, but I'll see if I can contact him and get his thoughts.

Stay with it, your's is a tough mission that may take longer then you'll be on the ground to make measurable progress, but the foundation you set will make all the difference.

Best, Rob

Anthony Hoh
05-22-2008, 01:15 PM
Sir I think when I built my SWJ account I used my Ft Polk Email address which is no longer valid, I never got your response email. If you would please white page me on AKO and resend your response I would appreciate it. My team and I truly appreciate your input. Finally I want to answer your questions but it will require me to "name names" out of respect for SWJ ROE I will zap out response this weekend to your AKO.