Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

DoD offers details on shift in Afghan mission

Feb. 15, 2012 - 04:49PM   |   Last Updated: Feb. 15, 2012 - 04:49PM  |  
  • Filed Under

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon on Wednesday offered new details of its plan for shifting from a combat mission in Afghanistan to one focused on training and advising Afghan forces as they gradually shoulder more of the combat burden.

The Army identified five U.S.-based brigades, as well as an Army Reserve organization, that will be reconfigured and sent to Afghanistan between April and August to "generate, employ and sustain" Afghan forces.

The Army called this a "new mission" after more than 10 years of fighting in Afghanistan.

Each brigade will deploy with fewer than half its assigned number of soldiers and will be comprised only of officers and senior noncommissioned officers, along with a contingent of Defense Department civilians. Once in Afghanistan they will operate in 18-person teams in a train-and-advise role.

The concept is similar to the way the U.S. advised Iraqi security forces during the final 15 months of the Iraq war.

Army Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, the top U.S. commander of day-to-day military operations in Afghanistan, told reporters at the Pentagon last week that the 18-person teams will be linked to an American or coalition combat brigade and serve as a sort of bridge to the U.S. and NATO final exit from the battlefield. Scaparrotti said the teams will each work with an Afghan army or police unit.

"By doing that, we maintain our connectivity to the Afghan forces as we thin out," Scaparrotti said.

In areas were the insurgency is especially active or Afghan forces are especially weak, the American advisory teams may have a rifle platoon operating with them for added protection, Scaparrotti said.

As the 18-person teams head for Afghanistan, at least 23,000 U.S. combat and support forces are due to leave, in line with President Barack Obama's plan to reduce the total U.S. military presence to 68,000 by the end of September.

This is the beginning of a transition away from a combat role for U.S. and coalition forces, a process that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said may be completed as early as mid-2013. Although U.S. troops participating in the train-and-advise mission will be armed and prepared to defend themselves, their role is to prepare the Afghan army to take full security responsibility by the end of 2014.

The Pentagon did not say where in Afghanistan the first train-and-advise teams would operate.

The reconfigured Army brigades that will deploy starting in April are the 2nd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division, from Fort Campbell, Ky.; the 2nd Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division, from Fort Stewart, Ga.; the 3rd Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division, from Fort Carson, Colo.; the 4th Brigade of the 1st Armored Division, from Fort Bliss, Texas; and the 162nd Infantry Brigade from Fort Polk, La.

Also part of the deployment will be an unannounced number of soldiers from the 1st Army, an organization based at Rock Island Arsenal, Ill., whose usual mission is to mobilize, train and deploy National Guard and Reserve soldiers.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan
Rates

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.


This Week's Army Times

This Week's Army Times

The Army at 420K
One retired colonel is campaigning for more cuts -- and Congress is listening

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

Classifieds
MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.
Woman who cried rape
(3 replies)
   Last Post: TJMAC77SP
        May 3, 2014 1:32 PM
   Last Post: garhkal
        May 1, 2014 5:03 PM
Cliven Bundy
(45 replies)
   Last Post: Chief_KO
        Apr 26, 2014 9:49 AM
Handbooks

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook