KABUL, Afghanistan -- Senior enlisted Afghan National Defense and Security Force leaders came together with their U.S. counterparts for a warfighter forum at Resolute Support Headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan, Nov. 15-16, 2017.
Throughout the event, command sergeants major from various Afghan National Army Corps and several Afghan National Police Zones collaborated to discuss current challenges within their respective units and solutions to those challenges, while also preparing themselves to improve through the winter months in anticipation of the Spring fighting season.
“We bring them in and share lessons learned, such as what their successes were from this past fighting season, and what they have to work on that they see they were lacking throughout this fighting season,” said Command Sgt. Maj. David M. Clark, the sergeant major of Resolute Support Mission. “It also [works as a] leader development session. We’re continuing to enhance their leadership at the highest level across their security forces.”
The Afghan leaders and their U.S. advisors discussed what worked best for them as they fought to destroy insurgent groups, allowing for other commands in attendance to develop ideas for future combat operations based on each other’s accomplishments.
“This was an opportunity for them to crosstalk while continuing to develop a shared understanding, not just what’s going on in their area, but other areas in the country as well. And that’s how we get better,” said Clark.
“Lessons learned are our way of sharing experiences and it’s a way to find solutions to some of the problems,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Wafa, the sergeant major of ANA 215th Corps. “When we go back and talk to our soldiers about this forum, they can benefit from our experiences and work to solve issues of their own.”
Significant topics of discussion also included force protection, further integrating women into both the police and the army and ensuring proper care of wounded and fallen service members. Although not directly related to combat success on the surface, continuing to enhance these facets while bolstering essential functions such as accountability, force generation and equipment maintenance are crucial to building the professionalism of ANDSF, according to Clark.
“We looked at the importance of standards and discipline, and how they can do a better job at enforcing standards, implementing troop-leading procedures and stressing after action reviews,” said Clark. “That’s how they get better and not allow complacency to set in.”
The warfighter forum occurs approximately once every three months. As certain regions of Afghanistan see a drop in combat operations during the winter, both Afghan and U.S. senior enlisted leaders are seeking to build upon recent progress heading into 2018.