Ministry Advisors in Afghanistan



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Afghan War News > SFA > Ministry Advising in Afghanistan

Ministry Advising in Afghanistan

There has been a continous effort to advise and assist the Afghan ministries ever since they were established in the early 2000s. This advisory effort has been hindered in part by the improper selection of ministry level advisors, inadequate training of these advisors, abbreviated deployment times of advisors (6 months in some cases), incompetent senior level officers of the MoI and MoD, an ineffective Afghan government, and massive corruption at all levels of the Afghan army and police. Efforts to reduce the corruption and increase the effectiveness of the MoI and MoD with tools such as commitment letters have thus far yielded less than satisfactory results.

Websites with Info on Ministry Advising

Ministry Level Advisors Community of Interest (CoI) on JCISFA Portal

Ministry of Defense Advisors Program (MoDA)

U.S. Army Security Assistance Training Management Organization (USASATMO). The USA SATMO is located at Fort Bragg, NC and conducts the Security Assistance Team Training Orientation Course (SATTOC). The course info is available at

ISAF, Security Force Assistance Guide 2.0, January 2014. This guide, version 2, was published to assist SFA advisors deploying to Afghanistan - to include those advisors who will be working at the ministry level. The guide also has a number of Process Maps invaluable to ministry level advisors. Learn more about the Process Maps and the SFA Guide 2.0.

Government and Military References about Ministry Advising
(Listed in chronological order)

January 2016. DoDD 5205.82, Defense Institution Building (DIB), Department of Defense Directive, January 27, 2016. Establishes policy, assigns responsibilities, and provides direction regarding the planning, managment, and conduct of DIB by DoD; and establishes the DIB Coordination Board.

February 2015. Building Partner Capacity: DoD Should Improve its Reporting to Congress on Challenges to Expanding Ministry of Defense Advisors Program, Government Accountability Office (GAO). Posted on PKSOI website. . . . BPC_MoDA_Reporting_11Feb2015 . . .

March 24, 2014. "Government in a Box", Small Wars Journal. A former Senior Advisor to the First Duputy Minister of Defense in Afghanistan provides recommendations on the ministry-level advisor effort.

January 2014. Security Force Assistance Guide 2.0, ISAF. This guide by ISAF contains information of value to advisors who work at the ministerial level.

October 23, 2012. Performance Framework and Better Management of Resources Needed for the Ministry of Defense Advisors Program, Inspector General United States Department of Defense, Report No. DODIG-2013-005.

May 2011. ISAF Afghan Ministry of Interior Advisor Guide, Version 1.0. JCISFA.

March 14, 2011. Afghan Ministry of Defense and Afghan National Army General Staff Master Ministerial Development Plan, CY 2013/SY 1392, Revised December 28, 2012. NTM-A/CSTC-A.

March 2011. "Ministerial Advisors: Developing Capacity for an Endurring Security Force", Prism 2, No. 2., pages 135-144 by LTG William Caldwell, Dr. James A. Schear, and Frank C. Digiovanni.

October 2010. Ministerial-Level Advisor Training Effectiveness Study: Phase I Initial Impressions October 2010. (U//FOUO), Joint Center for International Security Force Assistance (JCISFA).

June 2008. United States Plan for Sustaining the Afghanistan National Security Forces, DoD report to Congress in accordance with the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act (Section 1231, Public Law 110-181).

Papers and Publications about Advising at the Ministry Level

Donnelly, Edward P., "New Rules for Advisers at the Strategic and Institutional Levels", Small Wars Journal. Eleven best practices identified for military advisors.

Chase, Michael B., "Our Own Worst Enemy", Small Wars Journal, August 16, 2014. A former ministry-level advisor to the MoD provides insight on advisor selection and "leverage" of money to "help" Afghans accomplish MoD goals.

Armstrong, Nicholas J. "Afghanistan 2014-2024: Advising for Sustainability", Small Wars Journal, May 4, 2012.

Armstrong, Nicholas J. A day Late and Many Advisors Short: The Uncertain Future for Afghan Minsterial Development, Security Sector Reform Resource Centre, December 17, 2012.

Friberg, John. "Learning From Our Mistakes in Selection and Training of Military Advisors", SOFREP. Two of the most important factors are personnel selection and pre-deployment training.

Lubold, Gordon. Training U.S. Advisors, Building Afghan Ministries. United States Institute of Peace (USIP), April 7, 2011.

Metrinko, Michael J. The American Military Advisor: Dealing with Senior Foreign Officials in the Islamic World, Peacekeeping & Stablity Operations Institute, Carlisle, PA: 8 August 2008.

Millen, Professor Raymond A., Professionalizing Ministerial Advising, United States Army War College Press, Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute (PKSOI), June 3, 2015.

Bibliography for Resolute Support

Afghan War News has compiled a "Resolute Support Annotated Bibliography" for the use of ISAF staff and SFA advisors participating in the NATO mission in Afghanistan. It is an Adobe Acrobat PDF, almost 200 pages long, and less than 3 MBs big. Easy to read online or download and it is available at the link below:

News Stories and Articles about Afghan Ministry Advising

November 18, 2014. "Future Resolute Support Members Train in Bydgoszcz". NATO. New release provides information about the training for RS personnel at the Joint Forces Training Center in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

April 18, 2011. "Pentagon program has U.S. civilians advising Afghan ministries to improve cooperation, security". The Washington Post. Ministry of Defense Advisors (MoDA) is explained.

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