News: Ministry of Defense Advisors prepare for the next stage of diplomacy
BUTLERVILLE, Ind. – Afghanistan is a country in flux. As the number of American military personnel in the country decrease and a pull-out draws near, the people will become more self-reliant. But there will still be much work to do in order to ensure that Afghanistan is strong enough to govern itself.
The Ministry of Defense Advisor, or MODA, program draws on civilian resources in the United States government to guide and advise the Afghan Ministry of Defense and Ministry of the Interior, the two ministries which will increase Afghanistan’s ability to stand on its own.
In a report written in late 2010 by James A. Schear, William B. Caldwell IV, and Frank C. DiGiovanni entitled Ministerial Advisors: Developing Capacity for an Enduring Security Force, the argument is made that “only after Afghanistan’s security institutions are self-sufficient and self-sustaining will it be possible for the Afghan government to make geographic gains durable.” The MODA program is designed to assist with those institutions.
The training begins in Washington, D.C. where subject matter experts who will be working with the Afghan ministries take part in classroom training to learn as much as they can about the assignment they will be going to. Lou Hamilton, a senior advisor to the Afghan Ministry of the Interior, has just completed the first phase of training.
“We’ve actually just had five weeks of classroom training, and we’ve culminated that with a week here at Muscatatuck,” Hamilton explained. “We’re doing actual field-type training where we put on our battle rattle and learn how to integrate with our military security teams. We also have Afghan role-players and we simulate what the environment will be like in Afghanistan.”
This week marked the third MODA program class to take part in the training. Following the first class of participants to arrive in Afghanistan, International Security Assistance Force Gen. David Petraeus called for the program to expand dramatically by summer 2011. He recognized the program’s contributions immediately, according to the Schear, Caldwell, and DiGiovanni report.
The field training, which takes place at MUTC, lasts one week and every element of the work that the civilians have been trained in is put into play. It also, as Hamilton points out, allows the civilians to get used to working with soldiers, some for the first time.
“This is the first time that many of our team has had to work shoulder to shoulder with soldiers,” Hamilton said. “We’re going to be doing that over in theater so the ability for us to kind of get with them now, work out the kinks, learn how they operate, and maybe even let them learn how we operate is going to help us immensely when we get into theater.”
The last three days of the field exercise is a full-immersion exercise with very little down time for the students. They quickly discover that at Muscatatuck, the training strives for every last drop of realism. The head of MODA training for the McKellar Group, the civilian contractor controlling the training itself, Andrew Kostrub, attributes the realism of the facility and training to the success of the program.
“The buildings at Muscatatuck look eerily similar to the Afghan Ministry of Defense,” Kostrub said as he surveyed the facility. “The ability to stage ambushes, roadblocks, and explosions in an urban setting allows the students to practice individual and collective drills that could be life saving in Kabul.”
As a retired Marine, Hamilton said he has seen training of every type and is still amazed by the level of training at the facility.
“I’ve been to some of the finest training facilities the Marine Corp has to offer and this is, by far, one of the best I’ve seen,” Hamilton added. “The soldiers here are outstanding. The facility itself and the training is top-notch - some of the best I’ve ever had.”
This work, Ministry of Defense Advisors prepare for the next stage of diplomacy, by David Bonnell and SFC Brad Staggs, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.
Date Posted:06.16.2011 14:30
Location:BUTLERVILLE, IN, US
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