In a hearing before the House Armed Services Committee, Michèle Flournoy, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, testified that the development of Afghanistan’s security forces is on track.
“We are meeting our growth goals and are continuing to improve quality and performance,” Flournoy said.
She also commented that the Afghan National Army and National Police “are stepping up to take more responsibility in the field, enabling both the transition process … and the drawdown of our surge forces to [proceed].”
Flournoy credits NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan for many of the improvements in the security forces and believes that the initiative will be the key to a successful transition in Afghanistan.
Training and Mentoring Program Success
Training and mentoring programs are reducing the shortage of trained noncommissioned officers, Flournoy said, and the Afghan National Security Force (ANSF) noncommissioned officer and officer corps grew by more than 20,000 new leaders over the past two years.
The ANSF’s goal is to have 305,000 soldiers and police on hand in October.
NATO forces also continue to focus on raising Afghan units’ literacy and improving operational performance rates. The training command estimates that the Afghan security forces will achieve 50 percent overall literacy rates at the third-grade level next year, with more than 70,000 police and 55,900 soldiers receiving some level of literacy training.
The current literacy rate for 18- to -40-year-olds is 14 percent.
Twelve new specialty schools also train Afghans in a number of fields including engineering, intelligence, logistics and human resources.
Improving Performance on the Field
“Of equal importance has been the effort to improve the ANSF’s operational performance in the field,” Flournoy said.
In January, 124 Afghan battalions and headquarters elements were rated as effective with coalition advisors or assistance, the undersecretary said.
“As of August, there are now 147 units with these ratings out of 184 units assessed, and we expect that trend to continue, if not accelerate,” Flournoy added.
DynCorp International Training and Mentoring
DynCorp International’s Training and Mentoring business area assists the NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan/Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan (NTM-A/CSTC-A) by providing specialized training and mentoring services for the Afghanistan Ministry of Interior (MoI) and Afghan National Police (ANP).
DI also provides logistics and life support components for 14 training facilities in Afghanistan and also provides similar mentoring and training services to the Afghan Ministry of Defense (MoD) and Afghan National Army (ANA).
NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan/Combined Security Transition Command
NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan/Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan, in coordination with NATO nations and partners, international organizations, donors and non-governemental organizations (NGOs) supports Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) as it generates and sustains the Afghan National Security Force, develops leaders, and establishes enduring institutional capacity to enable accountable Afghan-led security.