Afghanistan — NATO Strives for Quality, Quantity in Afghan Police

WASHINGTON, July 1, 2010 — The Afghan Nation­al Police force needs to grow and be able to train itself for the NATO mis­sion there to be suc­cess­ful, a mil­i­tary offi­cial said yes­ter­day.

Army Col. Chad­wick W. Clark, deputy com­man­der for NATO Train­ing Mis­sion Afghanistan’s Com­bined Train­ing Advi­so­ry Group Police, spoke in a “DoD Live” blog­gers round­table about the con­tin­u­ing mis­sion to train a domes­tic police force in Afghanistan.

Clark said his group is focus­ing on improv­ing two areas over the next 16 months. First, he said, the num­ber of police trainees will have to near­ly triple, train­ing 70,000 new police in addi­tion to the exist­ing 42,500 trained in the last five years. Sec­ond­ly, he added, the qual­i­ty of train­ing needs to increase.

Look­ing at num­bers can be con­fus­ing, Clark said, address­ing a blogger’s con­cern that such a large increase in num­bers and the intend­ed increase in train­ing qual­i­ty seems daunt­ing over such a short time. The colonel explained that part of the increase in qual­i­ty is an expan­sion of pro­grams.

An offi­cer can­di­date school and non­com­mis­sioned offi­cer cours­es for Afghan police are being sup­ple­ment­ed by oth­er cours­es for provin­cial, brigade, bat­tal­ion and com­man­ders to add to the breadth of train­ing avail­able to the Afghan police, he said.

The extend­ed options and increased rep­u­ta­tion of Afghan police train­ing pro­grams, Clark said, will draw more recruits to the force. Even­tu­al­ly, he said, Afghan offi­cers will be train­ing the new recruits, and senior Afghan lead­ers will train up-and-com­ing offi­cers.

“We feel that qual­i­ty will attract quan­ti­ty,” Clark said.

Right now, there are 10,300 seats in police train­ing pro­grams, Clark said. A year from now, he said, he expects to have about 17,000 avail­able, and to have 24,000 train­ing seats by Feb­ru­ary 2012. More police train­ing advi­sors are being brought in from Roma­nia, Ger­many, France’s Gen­darmerie and the Ital­ian Cara­binieri to help devel­op train­ing pro­grams.

“We’re almost dou­bling the amount of pro­fes­sion­al police train­ers we have com­ing in,” Clark said, “and we’re replac­ing our con­tract­ed train­ing advi­sors with these pro­fes­sion­al train­ing advi­sors.”

For Clark’s group to reach its goal of increas­ing the Afghan police force to 134,000 from the 105,000 cur­rent­ly serv­ing by Octo­ber 2011, a lot of work needs to be done, he said. But with the growth in train­ing capac­i­ty and the improve­ments he sees com­ing over the next year, Clark said, he’s sure the effort will be suc­cess­ful.

“We have some pret­ty big objec­tives that we’ve set for our­selves,” he said. “We’re going to have to train an awful lot of patrol­men, police offi­cers and non­com­mis­sioned offi­cers, but I think we’re up to the task.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)