Home' Army Acquisition Logistics and Technology Magazine : Army ALT April-June 2016 Contents sound bland, bordering on bureaucratic, the work that the com-
mand is doing in Afghanistan is transformative. It is historic in
nature and is absolutely critical to the survival and viability of
the fledgling, still-fragile government of the Islamic Republic of
The CSTC-A mission is fundamentally to develop sustainable,
effective and affordable Afghan national defense and security
forces in support of that government.
When MG Daniel P. Hughes, CSTC-A deputy commanding
general, and his team reached out to Army AL&T magazine
to propose the series of articles that follows, we jumped at the
opportunity to provide our readers with detailed insights into
the roles and responsibilities of the Army acquisition enterprise
in the Resolute Support Mission. When we began to receive the
articles from Afghanistan—articles that document CSTC-A’s
intimate involvement in transforming the Afghan government
from one that, since the overthrow of the Taliban, has been
plagued by cronyism and corruption to one that is more trans-
parent, stable and capable of maintaining its own security—we
realized that the articles were of such import, such breadth and
depth, that we had to make them a special section.
To be sure, the Afghan government is not yet the robust and
resilient institution that will be able to fend off and subdue the
antigovernment forces that would bring it down, but it is mak-
ing strides. The 2015 fighting season was the first in which the
Afghan national defense and security forces took the lead in con-
trolling their nation’s security, with NATO-led forces serving in
the train, advise and assist role.
Only a few years ago, under the aegis of the International Secu-
rity Assistance Force, the CSTC-A force numbered more than
130,000; now it is approximately one-tenth that size. The signifi-
cant reduction in force and the concomitant drop in enablers, as
well as the decrease in coalition close air support, created signifi-
cant challenges for the Afghan forces. They have risen to that
challenge, according to CSTC-A , stepping up to serve and sup-
port their nation with remarkable courage and resilience despite
significant casualties—more than 10,000 killed in 2015 alone.
The international community—including the United States—
has pledged its continued advisement and financial commitment
to the Afghan government, whose long-term security is vital
to regional and global stability. Failure in Afghanistan would
mean the country once again becomes a sanctuary for terrorists
determined to attack our homelands. In other words, failure in
Afghanistan is not an option.
At present, CSTC-A is preparing for this summer’s NATO
Summit in Warsaw, Poland, where coalition partners will meet
to determine the support they intend to provide Afghanistan in
the near term. They will review progress on current initiatives to
strengthen the country’s security institutions to ensure that their
investments are well-spent. Thus, fiscal discipline in the Afghan
government is essential to donor confidence. With its economy
still weak, donor confidence is essential to Afghanistan’s ability
to secure itself. This principle is at the core of everything DCOS
CSTC-A is committed to working with the Afghans to identify
the most cost-effective ways to improve systems and processes,
while keeping the focus on Afghanistan’s strong warfighting
capability and national security.
There is no question that for most Americans, Afghanistan is an
alien place, with traditions that run counter to many of those
that A mericans hold dear. Yet CSTC-A is bridging these worlds.
The articles that follow, plus the online extras, provide a window
to that important work.
MR. STEVE STARK is the senior editor of Army AL&T magazine.
He holds an M.A . in creative writing from Hollins University and
a B.A . in English from George Mason University. He has worked
in a variety of positions supporting communications for the Army
and Navy, and has written about defense-related topics for more
than a decade. He was the founding editor of the Program
Executive Office for Soldier Portfolio and edited the Army’s
Weapon Systems handbook for six years.
Failure in Afghanistan would mean the
country once again becomes a sanctuary
for terrorists determined to attack our
homelands. In other words, failure in
Afghanistan is not an option.
8 Army AL&T Magazine
TRAIN, ADVISE, ASSIST
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