CAMP EAGLE, Afghanistan – In Zabul province, there is a distinct sense of cooperation between the Afghan National Security Forces. One project in particular is making this cooperation incredibly evident. The renovation building of the Operational Coordination Center – Provincial, or OCC-P, is a combined effort between the Afghan National Army and the various police forces representatives of the ANSF to build a better facility for these entities to better conduct their operations in Zabul province.
The OCC-P is a coordination cell that collaborates with the Afghan National Army (ANA) and the entities from the various police forces of the ANSF to include Afghan National Police, Afghan Uniform Police, Afghan Border Police, National Directorate of Security, and many others. The OCC-P needed a larger facility to conduct their operations. The ANA offered a building on the ANA forward operation base and headquarters of the 2nd Brigade 205th Corps, Camp Eagle. This building required some internal renovations. The 2nd Brigade was quick to respond by offering the assistance of their facility engineers. The facility engineers are mentored by the Infrastructure Training Advisory Team (ITAT). This is a three person team lead by 1st Lt. Ross Soares from 4th Infantry Division.
ITAT is a division level team that works in the area of operations of the Zabul Security Forces Assistance Team (SFAT) which branches from 2nd Battalion 2nd Infantry “Ramrods” of 3rd Brigade Combined Task Force “Duke” 1st Infantry Division. The “Ramrods” have been conducting simultaneous advising operations with ANSF while conducting partnered combat operations to produce positive effects in their area of responsibility. This renovation building was spearheaded by the Task Force “Ramrods.”
“It was really awesome to work with the ‘Ramrods’ (Zabul SFAT) to improve their counterparts’ OCC-P,” says Soares, “The communication and link between the facility engineer section and the SFAT counterparts is crucial to ANSF success.”
The ITAT does much more than mentorship of facility engineers. This small team has major responsibilities and is crucial to ANSF development in the province. Aside from advising the facility engineer on his ability to maintain critical infrastructure at bases and all engineering tasks within the brigade, the team also acts as a node to transition critical infrastructure from the United States Army Corps of Engineers to ANSF. They advise on maintenance on infrastructure, internal and external processes, manning, contract procurement, tool and supply inventory, and facilitate engineer training for new personnel. The OCC-P build was such a project as the facility engineers just acquired new soldiers whose occupation specialty is carpentry. The ITAT advised the carpenters to assist in the OCC-P building refit as an excellent on the job training mission that would be a great opportunity to display typical daily construction tasks.
“These guys are brand new to Zabul and they assimilated rather quickly. It was great to see the carpenters get right to work and use their skills to support their brigade,” Soares noting the success of the operation.
The build has also increased morale among the various entities working at the OCC-P. Capt. Abdullah Nabi, the deputy commander of the National Directorate of Security in Zabul province, notes, “I spent three years in this job. This is such a good thing, the cooperation, between the [Afghan National] security forces …” Abdullah continues, “The way people who help each other in our OCC-P is better than I have ever seen and I have worked in Kandahar before this assignment. This is a good cooperation in this OCC-P.”
The OCC-P commander, Col. Sayheed Muhammad, an ANA officer, said the following between the building renovations of the new OCC-P facility, “I am impressed with the help of 2nd Brigade [205th Corps]. This cooperation is the kind of cooperation between the [Afghan National] Army and the police. Together we can provide security for the people in Zabul,” he added, “Working together on the construction of the new OCC-P is symbolic. It shows we are working together for a better future.”