We recently held a DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable with Brig. Gen. Gary Patton, Deputy Commander-Army, NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan/Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan (NTM-A/CSTC-A) on Friday, July 2.
Brig. Gen. Patton provided a current update on the status of the growing Afghan National Army. The Afghan National Army has grown in quality and quantity, with distinct progress in the past few months. Though challenges exist – attrition and retention being a focus – meeting current and future goals is achievable. Key focus areas are professionalization and leader development.
To address NCO shortages, the Afghan Army has increased battlefield promotions and instituted a progressive Direct Entry E-6 Course, the 1U (1Uniform) Course, that assists with narrowing NCO gaps. Officer Candidate schools remain constant, providing new Afghan Army Second Lieutenants to the fielded force. Branch schools are coming on line, providing focused skill training for soldiers and leaders.
In short, the Afghan National Army is making positive, enduring, and sustainable progress, though not without challenges. Professionalization remains key; developing systems and institutions to professionalize and grow the force, such as the future Afghan Defense University, are cornerstones for this endeavor.
The Afghan Army has met or exceeded current growth objectives, which continue on track but are not assured. Finally, and very important, the transition to a standards-based Army has improved the quality of training, the quality of soldiers and leaders, and the capability of Afghan Army units going straight into the fight.
Listen to the interview.
Read the transcript.
Read the Defense.gov story: “General Discusses Afghan Army’s Development”
Joining us on the call were Richard Lowry, Examiner.com; Beth Wilson, Homefront in Focus; Bill McMichael, Military Times; Chuck Simmins, America’s North Shore Journal; Spencer Ackerman, The Washington Independent; Rebekah Moses, Asahi Shimbun Newspaper; and Szocs Laszlo, Nepszabadsag Online.