News: Regional Support Command-East now a part of history
Story by Sgt. Mark VanGerpen
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (June 27, 2013) – For more than three-and-a-half years, Regional Support Command-East trained Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police forces in eastern Afghanistan. RSC-East is now a part of history: It was inactivated June 27, during a ceremony at Bagram Airfield.
RSC-East became the Afghan National Security Forces Development Directorate, which will fall under Regional Command-East. It was a separate command prior to the inactivation.
“This is a natural transition point as we merge the two organizations to gain some staff efficiencies and also to better enable the synchronization from administration-level advising down to actual battalion and brigade level advising,” said U.S. Army Col. Denton Knapp, commander, RSC-East.
RSC-East began operations in November 2009, with more than 500 service members from the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines, as well as service members and civilians from nine partner nations.
Its mission was to train, sustain, maintain, and equip Afghan National Security Forces in support of the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan.
Since 2011, RSC-East advised and developed 10 police training centers, a national police training center, a military training center, four ANSF logistics centers and a regional military hospital.
It also oversaw the training efforts of more than 200 coalition training advisers from around the world and assisted in training and equipping thousands of police and army recruits.
The difference in becoming a directorate is that they [Afghan National Security Forces Development Directorate] will work directly with RC-East and help with combined joint staff, commands and teams at far-range sites to advise and assist ANSF, Knapp said.
The inactivation comes as Afghan forces have taken the lead role in securing the country, while Coalition Forces transition towards the International Security and Assistance Force-Afghanistan mission at the end of 2014.
“They [ANSF] are in the lead, but as you know, it has taken a lot of effort for them to get to this point,” said Maj. Gen. Dean Milner, commander, Canadian Contribution to the Training Mission – Afghanistan. “One of those critical elements has been the Regional Support Commands across Afghanistan.”
Though RSC-East was inactivated, its personnel will continue their missions in the new organization, Knapp said.
“Inactivation is an emotional time,” Knapp said. “We cased the unit colors, and the command does not exist anymore. It’s transitioning to a new organization. But the people and the organization remain as far as roles and mission as far as what they do, and they bring all that talent and wealth of information into the new organization. One organization is cased and gone, but a new organization is beginning, and it comes at the right time.”
Before inactivation, Knapp was awarded a Legion of Merit Award, an Afghan Campaign Medal and a Non-Article 5 NATO Medal for his contribution during his command of RSC-East.
U.S. Army Col. Todd Zollinger assumed command of the ANSF Development Directorate, RC-East upon inactivation of RSC-East.