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FID & Working With Indigenous Forces Training, advising, and operating with local armed forces in Foreign Internal Defense.

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Old 07-03-2009   #1
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Default Canadian Trainer on Issues in AFG

This, from a Canadian soldier "recently returned from a deployment with the Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan".
Synopsis: the current approach to operational mentoring has some inherent flaws, and poses limitations on all our other military operations, that we're having difficulty recognizing for what they are. Partly this may be due to a lack of well-defined historical models.
The whole piece is a good read - happy to hear thoughts..... is offline  
Old 07-28-2009   #2
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Overall I liked the article and agreed with the author's comments on the flaws of the current mentoring set-up as well as the limitations it imposes. Not quite so certain on the 'lack of well defined historical models' part.

My OED defines mentoring as "training or advising". Part of the issues the author raises are issues brought about because we are training and advising and not running the ANSF. I agree that if we were to run the logistics, pay, promotions et al then the ANSF may be more effective, but I am not entirely convinced of this in the round. Issues of culture, sovereignty and perception would all arise if we were to run the ANSF.

We are unlikely anytime soon to transform the ANSF into a NATO standard organisation, nor should we be trying to. What we need to do is to develop an organisation that is good enough and that I think is what is happening. We are mentoring and not running. What could be done is to (as the UK armed forces did and still do in other countries) establish the ability for loan service commissions. Under this system officers serve in the Afghan Armd forces as Afghan Army commissioned officers in key appointments integral to the staff and chain of command. These tend to be unit 2ICs, training and operations staff as well as specialist technical posts. The key with this system is that the personnel are not 'mentors' who sit outwith the chain of command, but clearly sit within the chain of command. Such a system would enable a rapid build up of ANA key capabilities and maintain Coalition confidence in these capabilities.

Allied to that (as the author quite rightly points out) is the ability of the ANSF and the ANA in particular to be effectively deployed. At the operational level as a functioning national asset that answers to the IGoA there are pressing political and operational reasons why the IGoA and Karzai may wish to have the laydown there is. At the tactical level it may be the case that better use can be made of the ANA, the trick is to provide the necessary level of situational awareness to ANSF and Coalition forces. As I don't know the tactical level I will stop there!
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Old 07-29-2009   #3
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Thanks for the link as it goes to some interesting first-hand Canadian blog articles on issues galore, notably on working with the ANA.

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