News: CJIATF 435 hosts CJOA-A command senior enlisted leader conference
Story by Staff Sgt. Amanda Dick
CAMP PHOENIX, Afghanistan - Fourteen top enlisted leaders from throughout the Combined Joint Operations Area - Afghanistan attended a senior enlisted leadership conference here Nov. 26.
The conference highlighted the mission of the Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435 and the Detention Facility in Parwan.
“As advisers to their commanding officers and generals, we want them to take away knowledge of what CJIATF 435 does and to better understand what U.S. detention operations entail,” said U.S. Navy Command Master Chief (SEAL) Robert Edwards, CJIATF 435 senior enlisted leader.
The enlisted leaders kicked off the conference by sharing with each other their Thanksgiving “stories,” ranging from visiting various forward operating bases/combat operating posts to holding award ceremonies for troops.
Then U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Marvin Hill, Command Sergeant Major for the International Security Assistance Force and the conference leader, addressed the senior leaders and welcomed them to the conference.
“The message I carried was ‘we are saturating the battlefield big time – we’re all over it,’” said Hill. There’s not a FOB or combat outpost we don’t cover. We’re no good to our commanders if we don’t communicate, and we are out there transmitting and receiving. It showed on Thanksgiving that you’re not just traveling, but you’re communicating commander’s priorities. I’m proud of the job we are doing here [in Afghanistan] as a team and proud of the troops.”
As the conference progressed, members of CJIATF 435 briefed the senior enlisted leaders on detainee operations, focusing on field detention sites and collecting evidence.
“For the detention facilities, the main points were knowledge of how we conduct operations, and we highlighted the importance of evidence collection,” Edwards said. “The emphasis again is to collect as much evidence, document it, take photos – any means possible, so that way if the detainee is a very hard Taliban fighter, we’re able to detain him longer and keep him off the battlefield, saving lives.”
The morning portion ended with a redress of uniform policies throughout the CJOA-A to enable standardization throughout the region and command and to know how each service should be wearing their uniforms. Some items discussed included ballistic eyewear and physical training uniforms.
In the afternoon, senior enlisted leaders toured the DFIP, and were able to see some of the programs detainees are offered, such as the greenhouse where detainees can grow crops in the winter. They also toured the detainee housing units.
Held monthly at various bases, the conference highlights issues going on throughout the command and is a chance for the senior enlisted members to communicate with each other.
“It’s a good time to get together with all the senior enlisted advisors, learn from each other and build that professional relationship among ourselves and different services to better understand how each service works,” Edwards said.
Headquartered at Camp Phoenix in Kabul, Afghanistan, CJIATF 435 partners with the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and U.S. interagency and international partners to conduct operations in detention, corrections, judicial and biometrics in order to transition detention operations to Afghan control and promote Rule of Law.
CJIATF 435 includes U.S. service members from the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force, as well as coalition partners and civilian members from the following agencies: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan.