Afghan National Security Forces: Shaping The Path To Victory
July 27, 2009
Military action is only part of the effort needed to win in Afghanistan, but no other effort will matter if the Afghan people cannot be given enough security and stability to facilitate successful governance, create the opportunity for development, and establish a civil society that meets Afghan needs and expectations. NATO/ISAF and US forces cannot win this kind of military victory on their own. Their success will be determined in large part by how well and how quickly they build up a much larger and more effective ANSF, first to support NATO/ISAF efforts, then take the lead, and eventually replace NATO/ISAF and US forces.
No meaningful form of success can be achieved without giving the development of ANSF forces a much higher priority. The United States and other NATO/ISAF nations immediately need to begin to support and resource NTM-A/ CSTC-A plans to accelerate current ANSF force expansion plans.
In addition, they immediately need to establish the groundwork for further major expansions of the ANA and ANP by 2014. CSTC-A pans indicate that such an effort must nearly double the ANA and ANP, although early success could make full implementation of such plans unnecessary. Making a fully resourced start, however, will ensure that adequate ANSF forces will be available over time, and greatly ease the strain of maintaining and increasing NATO/ISAF forces. Funding such expansion will also be far cheaper that maintaining or increasing NATO/ISAF forces.
The Burke Chair has prepared a study that examines these issues. It examines the past problems in the development of the ANSF, the need for further expansion, and the need for a new form of partnership between the US, other NATO/ISAF nations, and each major element of the ANSF. This study is entitled AFGHAN NATIONAL SECURITY FORCES: SHAPING THE PATH TO VICTORY and is available on the CSIS web site here.
It draws on the author’s prior work with Adam Mausner and David Kasten in a CSIS book entitled Winning in Afghanistan: Creating Effective Security Forces. This book provides the full background on the past development of Afghan forces and the problems in the development effort that only began to be corrected in 2007. It is available from the CSIS book store at: https://www.csis.org/analysis/winning-afghanistan-2
It also draws on the author’s recent experience as a member of the Strategic Assessment Team in Afghanistan. As is stated in the report, the author worked with Catherine Dale of the CRS and Terry Kelly of RAND in analyzing the ANSF. The conclusions and recommendations in the study are his own, but their work was a vital part of the factual base for this study effort and contributed greatly to the depth of the analysis. Many parts of the study also draw upon work by officers in CSTC-A, who developed many of the recommendations endorsed in this study. They cannot be credited by name, but their work plays a critical role in any effort to study Afghan force development.