Military Review English Edition September-October 2014 - Page 29

BUILDING PARTNERSHIP CAPACITY For years, junior officers in the JAF had been performing the functions that Western armies, including our own, normally designated as NCO duties. These ranged from accountability of equipment to training management. Such a broad span of responsibility for a junior officer might work adequately in a placid and routine-bound garrison environment but not for a force deployed thousands of miles from home facing an adaptive enemy in a dynamic, hostile environment. In the caldron of wartime operations, JAF officers simply could not effectively oversee in person every aspect of the broad array of key activities units needed to perform in a combat environment. Difficulty in traveling between subordinate unit locations under dangerous conditions impeded their approach to commanding and controlling forces. Moreover, there simply was not time enough in the day to oversee every activity. Building a Noncommissioned Officer Corps of Staff, knew by 2010 what was missing when his forces where struggling to adapt in Afghanistan: a professional NCO corps. Consequently, after the JAF had two years of combat experience in Afghanistan with mixed results, al Zaben and U.S. senior advisors agreed on the need to make institutional changes to NCO development, and they outlined a plan. In this context, al Zaben sought to build the kind of robust NCO corps th