CAMP EGGERS/KABUL, Afghanistan – More than 70 coalition forces and contracted logistics trainers came together for a conference June 19, 2012, to share information about ongoing training programs and discuss the way ahead in training logisticians in the Afghan National Security Forces.
The conference was organized by the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan Deputy Commander of Supporting Operations (DCOM SPO) Operations Section (J3), which is primarily manned by deployed members of the 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, and some of the participants actually used video teleconferencing to provide their input.
“It was identified some months ago that we have a number of organizations, both contracted and military, working in Afghanistan, and teaching logistics and maintenance to the ANSF, said Royal Australian Air Force Maj. Dean Bruce, the commander of the Mobile Training Team under the J3 of DCOM SPO. “The training that everybody is doing is similar but it is different. We needed the conference to get everybody together in one room, to identify the training that everyone was doing, and in a short period of time try put together a consolidated plan for training for the ANSF.”
During his opening remarks, Brig. Gen. Clark W. LeMasters Jr., DCOM SPO and 13th ESC commander, identified the same issue. “What I continually bump into is finding out that somebody else is out here doing training in the area of logistics. With my task being to build logistics capacity in the ANSF I think it is absolutely critical that we get all the right people in the room to kind of figure out where all these excellences are at, and make sure they are doing what we want them to do.”
All invitees who currently provide contracted logistics training for the ANSF gave a brief rundown on their services and training programs. The briefs prompted a lot of questions and remarks from both coalition partners and contracted trainers.
As the briefs went on, similarities amongst the programs became clear. Some companies create training records for the ANSF partners and refer to them as “job handbooks” or “job books.” They essentially serve the same purpose: document trained tasks and create permanent records of the individual’s level of training, which records are then shared with the individual’s unit. Several contractors are also maintaining unclassified online portals with all of their training materials.
“Everyone is very busy, but the opportunity to hear what is working in other efforts is something for which you must create time,” said Matt Giusto, the Afghanistan country manager for Raytheon’s Warrior Training Alliance. “Collectively, we need to review and reassess what we are doing to ensure it meets the ever-changing needs of our most important customer: the ANSF.” Giusto also stated that he has already worked with all conference participants “upstream or downstream” corresponding electronically and it was great to see the faces that matched the names that came across emails in the past.
“I think there are a lot of people out there doing great work,” said LeMasters. However, there needs to be standardization across the board and Afghan National Army Training and Education Command (ANATEC) or the Combat Sustainment Support School under the logistics mentorship of the German Armed Forces Technical Advisory Group (GAFTAG) in Kabul should review, approve and certify all training programs and materials before they are implemented, he said.
“Together we need to find out holistically what we are training,” said Col. Willie Rios, chief of operations under DCOM SPO, deployed from the 13th ESC at Fort Hood. “Two or three years from now, we are not going to have these contract mechanisms in place… we need to look at what we are doing, modify, change, upgrade the programs of instruction (POIs) and then develop those for the next line of forces that come in here to do the training.”
Bruce, who with his fistful of a crew will analyze all contract-provided training and do a cross-walk of tasks and POIs, expects great improvements from synchronizing efforts. “What we need to see is everybody working together, does not matter whether Australian, Canadian, French, German, we are a coalition here to make the life better for the Afghan people and the government… logistics is a force multiplier, without logistics we don’t have food or ammunition,” he said.
All providing input agreed that the conference was a good idea. “We definitely appreciate attendance from the leaders downrange (outlying RSCs) because they were able to highlight some of the challenges we face at each location. Their advice and experience with regard to training progress and documentation, ANSF recordkeeping, lesson-plan standardization, Camp or Forward Operating Base (FOB) life support and force protection is essential,” said Giusto.
Rios plans to have the conference on a regular basis and will continue to include all major logistics training stakeholders involved with the ANSF. Rios also outlined a way ahead: “I would hope that we will have a training strategy, revision on training contracts and also something at the institutional level, the GAFTAG and ANATEC, to make sure they are comfortable with the training program that we have done, because at the end of the day, they are the ones who are going to validate the Afghans progress…”
This work, 13th ESC logisticians help run logistics training conference at Camp Eggers, by CPT Monika Comeaux, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.