GARMISCH, Germany – International Security Assistance Force senior enlisted leader, Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Capel provided an operational update to International Senior Enlisted Symposium attendees at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, Sept. 5-13.
Speaking as the subject matter expert and senior enlisted leader for current operations in Afghanistan, Capel conveyed ISAF commander Gen. John Allen’s priorities and explained both successes and challenges facing the coalition on the road to 2014 and beyond.
Organizers brought partner-nations together to build on relationships, find solutions and share best practices in order to better facilitate execution of commanders’ missions.
NATO Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe and U.S. European Command organized the annual conference.
“It is our hope that through this type of high-level dialogues, these leaders can add value and effectiveness to their nation’s militaries,” said U.S. Air Force Command Chief Master Sgt. Richard Small, the SHAPE senior enlisted leader.
In a welcome letter to symposium attendees, Small and U.S. Navy Fleet Command Master Chief Roy Maddocks, the EUCOM senior enlisted leader, explained how they hope ISES benefits NATO and partnering countries by engaging in discussions and working groups relevant to contemporary issues affecting troops serving in on-going operations, building relationships to enhance security, regional stability, and support global initiatives – such as in Afghanistan and Kosovo.”
Capel and NATO Training Mission Afghanistan senior enlisted leader, Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffery Hof, spoke in depth about current issues and future concerns regarding the coalition’s efforts in Afghanistan.
Hof focused on the NTMA mission set and the progress the Afghan National Security Force’s have made, and continue to make.
“What most people fail to realize is the ANSF is a modern-combat proven force -- more and more they are making their own decisions, often planning and executing their own missions and logistics operations,” said Hof.
Hof pointed to institutions of higher education such as the Afghan Sergeants Major Academy, the National Police Training Center, and the Afghan National Defense University as counterexamples to the common misconception that the ANSF lack education.
“It is a mistake to generalize and consider the ANSF illiterate; they have reading, writing, and arithmetic skills,” Hof told symposium attendees. “How else would they be able to operate modern combat systems such as helicopters and aircraft, shoot accurate timely artillery and provide medical response care?”
For Afghans, allowing their sons and daughters to serve their nation in the ANSF has become viewed as a noble profession, and that lends itself to establishing the necessary trust the population must have in its military for it to continue to be successful, said Hof.
The Afghan National Army’s senior enlisted leader, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Safi Roshan was scheduled to attend and address ISES, but due to operational requirements and his own upcoming conference scheduled to be held Afghanistan later this month, is now slated to speak via video teleconference.
Due to operational necessity the ISAF leaders left the conference following their briefs to return to Afghanistan.