Small Wars Journal

The Afghan National Security Force: A Progress Report

Mon, 09/27/2010 - 6:18pm
As Prepared Remarks to the NATO Military Committee

Brussels, Belgium

September 27, 2010

Lieutenant General William B. Caldwell, IV

Commanding General, NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan

Read LTG Caldwell's Full Prepared Remarks to NATO's Military Committee

If we do not continue to resource the training mission in Afghanistan, we will definitely delay transition.

Tactical gains on the battlefield will not be enduring without a self-sustaining Afghan Security Force. To create this force, we must professionalize the police, army, and air forces; create viable logistics and medical systems; and improve the infrastructure and the institutions that train and educate them...above all, we MUST have the trainers to develop them. We cannot meet our goals without the resources to achieve them. As our Secretary General said recently, "no trainers, no transition."

This transition to Afghan lead is critical to Afghanistan and requires Afghan soldiers and police that are capable of independent security operations and have the capacity to generate and sustain their own forces. To do this, we must support the Afghan government in the development of this capacity, while building systems to set the conditions for transitioning the lead other words ...developing the Afghan National Security Force is transition.

As SACEUR said earlier this month while visiting us in Afghanistan, "Training is Job One." Our most urgent need to accomplish this job is getting the coalition trainers required. We are at a critical stage in the development of the Afghan National Security Force. This past year our focus was on generating quantity...combat formations, battalions that we sent into the fight. But now, we must create a force that can generate, equip, and sustain itself to serve and protect its people; therefore, we must build the critical support formations over the next year, and professionalize this force. Accomplishing this will require additional NATO institutional trainers with special skill sets...skill sets to create and develop Afghan logisticians, maintainers, communicators, intel analysts, and the leaders this security force requires. The majority of this increase occurs in the six month period between this December... and next May. If we do not resource this critical phase of the mission...and resource it soon...the Afghan National Security Force will not be self-sufficient... in time to begin the process of transition next year. If they are not self-sufficient, then we... cannot transition...

Read LTG Caldwell's Full Prepared Remarks to NATO's Military Committee

SWJ Editors' Note: Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell, IV is Commander of NATO Training Mission Afghanistan and Combined Security Transition Command Afghanistan. You can access LTG Caldwell's NTM-A / CSTC-A speeches, interviews, videos, and blog entries here.

About the Author(s)

LTG William B. Caldwell IV is currently the commander of US Army North (Fifth Army).  He has served in a wide variety of assignments, including Commander, NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan; Commander, US Army Combined Arms Center; and Commander, 82nd Airborne Division.