News: NTM-A leadership receives Joseph H. Sherick Award
Story by Lt. Russell Wolfkiel
KABUL – U.S. Army Col. John Ferrari, deputy commander of programs for NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan/Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan was presented the Joseph H. Sherick Award today by the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General.
“I am deeply honored to have accepted this on behalf of the entire NTM-A and CSTC-A Command.” Ferrari said of the award. “We are carrying out Lt. Gen. Caldwell's command philosophy of being completely transparent so that others can provide insight and assistance. Our mission is to grow and sustain the Afghan national army and police so both organizations are extremely important and complex. Having an external set of ‘eyes’ assisting us is a tremendous capability we need to take advantage of.”
Ferrari was nominated and selected for the award for his contributions to furthering the DoD OIG mission in Afghanistan by providing full transparency and by encouraging oversight of the Afghanistan Security Force Fund.
“Our greatest weakness is our constant turnover of personnel within the command,” said Col. Ferrari. “Ensuring everyone understands that both organizations, NTM-A/CSTC-A and the DoD OIG are working towards the same purpose and end state ensures a degree of stability in the program that enables us to see ourselves better and find more efficient/effective solutions.”
Even though the Joseph H. Sherick award was given to Ferrari, he credits everyone who had a part in the audit with the achievement.
“This is really about the entire command coming together for each of these focused assessment and audits.” said Ferrari. “I am proud of the teams that came together around the functions rather than organizational boundaries such as the police, army, air, regional support, international security command, programs, and the special staff. No task is done in isolation, everyone has to pull together.”
When asked if he had any advice for commands that are facing a DoD OIG audit, Ferrari said, “Use them as an opportunity to provide focused attention to improve how we generate and sustain the Afghan national army and police. While we all recognize they are time intensive, we must leverage that investment in manpower and time to come out of the assessment with better solutions than when we started with.”
The award was presented via video teleconference by Lynne Halbrooks, DoD principal deputy inspector general; Daniel Blair, deputy inspector general for auditing; and Joseph "Mickey" McDermott, special deputy inspector general for Southwest Asia. The Joseph H. Sherick award is the highest DoD Office of Inspector General honor bestowed on non-OIG employees.
“Everyone in NTM-A/CSTC-A has to realize how important they are to the war,” said Ferrari. “Our mission is important because every time we field an Afghan soldier or police officer, we are one step closer to transition and ultimately one step closer to reducing the threat that our coalition military members are exposed to every day. If we can reduce one death or injury by adjusting how we do things, then the effort is worth it. Everyone in NTM-A/CSTC-A plays a crucial role in this and everyone should feel honored that the command was recognized by the DoD inspector general for its willingness to accept feedback and then implement change.”