|©Parliamentary copyright||Prepared 2nd November 2010|
Operations in Afghanistan
Memorandum from the Ministry of Defence
This memorandum provides evidence on the many aspects of Operations in Afghanistan requested by the House of Commons Defence Committee.
Due to the sensitive nature of information relating to operations, elements of the memorandum are provided in strict confidence within a classified annex and should not be disclosed outside of the Committee.
The information provided in the text is principally drawn from HM Government sources. Acknowledgment is made as appropriate for sections which draw significantly from ISAF or other sources.
1. General Background
Afghanistan’s population of approximately 28 million is made up of numerous ethnic groups. The largest are the Pashtuns (40%), predominantly found in the South, and the Tajiks (35%) predominantly in the North. Hazaras, Uzbeks, Chahar Aimaks and Turkmen make up the other significant ethnic groups. Islam is the predominant religion of Afghanistan, practiced by approximately 99% of the population, 80% of whom are Sunni. The major languages are Dari and Pashto.
Afghanistan ranks second to last on the UN’s Human Development Index, with over a third of its people living in poverty. Thirty years of conflict have undermined the Afghan state, society and economy. However, despite ongoing conflict and security challenges, progress is being made.
There is no doubt that the situation in Afghanistan is challenging:
· Over a third of Afghanistan’s people live in poverty: 36% of people live under the official poverty line of under US $0.90 per day (May 2010). In the South-West region (which includes Helmand and Kandahar), the figure is less than one quarter (22%);
· 1 in 6 children die before the age of five;
· All Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are off track and the Afghan Government has agreed an extension until 2020 to meet them.
Despite the challenges, we are starting to see real improvements in the lives of the
· The International Monetary Fund (IMF) confirmed 2009/10 tax revenue at around US$1.26 billion - exceeding the IMF target of around $1.1 billion, for this period;
· 5.2 million children attended school in 2008/09. This is an increase of 800,000 from 2007/08 and a five-fold increase since the fall of the Taleban.
· 85% of Afghans now have access to basic health care, compared to only 9% in 2002.
At the crossroads of central Asia, lying on the historic Silk Road, Afghanistan has long been of importance in regional and international politics.
The roots of Afghanistan’s most recent period of instability stem from the 1970s, when Prime Minister Daud overthrew King Zahir Shah (1973) and was subsequently overthrown himself by the socialist People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (1978). This led to armed resistance by conservative Islamic elements and the 1979 invasion by the Soviet Union.
Soviet intervention lasted ten years and sparked a bitter civil war with anti-Soviet Mujahideen forces. The departure of Soviet troops in 1989 did not bring an end to the conflict, as Mujahideen groups began to compete among themselves. By 1994, the Pashtun Taleban began to emerge as the dominant power in Afghanistan, taking Kabul in October 1996 and controlling most of the country by 1998.
After 11 September 2001, the international community called upon the Taleban to cease providing shelter to Al-Qaida. When they refused, the US and UK acted under Article V of the UN charter to prevent and deter further attacks that might originate from Afghanistan. After the fall of the Taleban government, in November 2001, the United Nations brought together leaders of Afghan ethnic groups in Germany. The Bonn Agreement, signed on 5 December 2001, set out a road map for the restoration of representative government in Afghanistan.
In June 2002, an Emergency Loya Jirga (Grand Assembly) established a Transitional Administration to govern until elections could be held. The Loya Jirga marked the first opportunity for decades for the people of Afghanistan to play a decisive role in their future. It concluded with the election of Hamid Karzai as President of the Transitional State of Afghanistan. The Transitional Administration came to an end with the Presidential election of October 2004.
1.3 Political System
Afghanistan has a presidential system of governance. The Executive branch of government is made up of a Cabinet appointed by the President, subject to Parliamentary approval. The Legislature is made up of a bicameral parliament called the Afghan National Assembly. The Wolesi Jirga (lower house), is directly elected. It has 259 members, with 64 of these places reserved for women. The Meshrano Jirga (upper house) is made up of 102 members, two-thirds of whom are elected by district councils, and one-third of whom are appointed by the President. Under the Constitution, the President is obliged when making nominations to ensure that minorities such as the disabled and the nomad Kuchi are represented, and 50% of his nominations must be women.
The Afghan political neighbourhood does not have Western-style opposition groups or issue-based political parties. Most Members of Parliament stand as independents, though many are loosely affiliated to one (often ethnic-based) political grouping or another. These political parties field or endorse candidates, but often do not have clear policy-based platforms or national manifestos, and may not supply financial or campaigning support.
1.4 Presidential Elections
On 9 October 2004, Afghanistan held its first Presidential elections, which were won by Hamid Karzai with 55.4% of the vote on a 70% turnout.
On 20 August 2009 the second set of Presidential elections since the fall of the Taleban were held. They were the first elections to be Afghan-run in over 30 years. As no Presidential candidate polled more than 50%, a second round run-off was scheduled, for 7 November 2009, between the two leading candidates: Hamid Karzai (49.7%) and Dr Abdullah Abdullah (30.6%). However, Dr Abdullah withdrew before the second round was held. The Afghan Independent Election Commission therefore announced that President Karzai was re-elected on 2 November 2009.
1.5 Parliamentary and Provincial Elections
Elections to the Wolesi Jirga (lower house) were held on 18 September 2005. They were the first such elections in 36 years. Candidates stood in their own right as individuals, with no parties officially recognised in the elections. Turnout was 51.5%, 41% of whom were women. The elections and appointments to the Meshrano Jirga (upper house) election were completed on 10 December 2005.
Parliamentary elections scheduled for May 2010 were postponed by the Afghan Independent Election Commission, in accordance with the Afghan Constitution. They took place on 18 September 2010.
1.6 Sub-national governance
A Province is the local administrative unit of Afghanistan. Provincial Councils are directly elected bodies that advise the Provincial Governor. They are elected every four years, most recently alongside the Presidential elections in 2009.
2. International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Campaign Narrative
2.1 The ISAF Mission
ISAF, in support of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) and acting under UN Security Council Resolution 1890, conducts operations in Afghanistan to reduce the capability and will of the insurgency; support the growth in capacity and capability of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF); and facilitate improvements in governance and socio-economic development, in order to provide a secure environment for sustainable stability that is observable by the population.
In accordance with all the relevant Security Council Resolutions, ISAF’s main role is to assist the Afghan Government in the establishment of a secure and stable environment. To this end, ISAF forces are conducting security and stability operations throughout the country together with the ANSF and are directly involved in the development of the Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan National Police (ANP) through mentoring, training and equipping.
2.3 Reconstruction and Development
Through its Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs), ISAF is supporting reconstruction and development in Afghanistan, securing areas in which reconstruction work is conducted by other national and international actors.
ISAF, through its PRTs is helping the Afghan Authorities strengthen the institutions required to fully establish good governance and rule of law and to promote human rights. The principle mission of the PRTs in this respect consists of building capacity, supporting the growth of governance structures and promoting an environment within which governance can improve.
2.5 History and expansion of the ISAF mission in Afghanistan
Afghan opposition leaders attending the Bonn Conference in December 2001 began the process of reconstructing their country by setting up a new government structure, namely the Afghan Transitional Authority. The concept of a UN-mandated international force to assist the newly established Afghan Transitional Authority was also launched at the Conference to create a secure environment in and around Kabul and support the reconstruction of Afghanistan. ISAF was duly established through UN Security Council Resolution 1386 on 20 December 2001. These agreements paved the way for the creation of a three-way partnership between the Afghan Transitional Authority, UNAMA and ISAF.
On 11 August 2003 NATO assumed leadership of the ISAF operation, turning the six-month national rotations to an end. The Alliance became responsible for the command, coordination and planning of the force, including the provision of a force commander and headquarters on the ground in Afghanistan.
ISAF’s mandate was initially limited to providing security in and around Kabul. In October 2003, the United Nations extended ISAF’s mandate to cover the whole of Afghanistan (UNSCR 1510), paving the way for an expansion of the mission across the country.
ISAF’s UN mandate has been extended on a rolling basis, the most recent extension, UN Security Council Resolution 1890, being adopted unanimously on 13 October 2009 and extending the mandate for a further 12 months.
2.6 Stage 1: Expansion to the North
In December 2003, the North Atlantic Council authorised the Supreme Allied Commander, General James Jones, to initiate the expansion of ISAF by taking over command of the German-led PRT in Kunduz. The other eight PRTs operating in Afghanistan in 2003 remained under the command of Operation Enduring Freedom, the continuing US-led military operation in Afghanistan.
On 31 December 2003, the military component of the Kunduz PRT was placed under ISAF command as a pilot project and first step in the expansion of the mission.
Six months later, on 28 June 2004, at the Summit meeting of the NATO Heads of State and Government in Istanbul, NATO announced that it would establish four other PRTs in the North: in Mazar-e-Sharif, Meymana, Feyzabad and Baghlan.
This process was completed on 1 October 2004, marking the completion of the first phase of ISAF’s expansion. ISAF’s area of operations then covered some 3,600 square kilometres in the North and the mission was able to influence security in nine Northern provinces of the country.
2.7 Stage 2: Expansion to the West
On 10 February 2005, NATO announced that ISAF would be further expanded, into western Afghanistan. This process began on 31 May 2006, when ISAF took on command of two additional PRTs, in the provinces of Herat and Farah and of a Forward Support Base (a logistic base) in Herat.
At the beginning of September 2006, two further ISAF-led PRTs in the West became operational, one in Chaghcharan, capital of Ghor province, and one in Qala-e-Naw, capital of Baghdis province, completing ISAF’s expansion into the West.
The extended ISAF mission led a total of nine PRTs, in the North and the West, providing security assistance in 50% of Afghanistan’s territory. The Alliance continued to make preparations to further expand ISAF, to the South.
Over the period of the 18 September 2005 provincial and parliamentary elections the Alliance also temporarily deployed 2,000 additional troops to Afghanistan.
2.8 Stage 3: Expansion to the South
On 8 December 2005, meeting at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, the Allied Foreign Ministers endorsed a plan that paved the way for an expanded ISAF role and presence in Afghanistan.
The first element of this plan was the expansion of ISAF to the South in 2006, also known as Stage 3.
This was implemented on 31 July 2006, when ISAF assumed command of the Southern region of Afghanistan from US-led Coalition forces, expanding its area of operations to cover an additional six provinces – Day Kundi, Helmand, Kandahar, Nimroz, Uruzgan and Zabul – and taking on command of four additional PRTs.
The expanded ISAF led a total of 13 PRTs in the North, West and South, covering some three-quarters of Afghanistan’s territory. The number of ISAF forces in the country also increased significantly, from about 10,000 prior to the expansion to about 20,000 after.
2.9 Stage 4: ISAF expands to the East, Taking Responsibility for the Entire Country
On 5 October 2006, ISAF implemented the final stage of its expansion, by taking on command of the international military forces in eastern Afghanistan from the US-led Coalition.
In addition to expanding the Alliance’s area of operations, the revised operational plan also paved the way for a greater ISAF role in the country. This includes the deployment of ISAF Operational Mentoring and Liaison Teams (OMLTs) to ANA units at various levels of command.
See also ANNEX A Current ISAF Force Laydown (Security classified, not publicly available to Committee Members at Defence Committee Office)
3. Current ISAF Force Laydown
3.1 ISAF Force Structure
The following table gives an overview of the ISAF Force Structure setting out the lead nations, troop strength and PRTs for each of the six regional commands in Afghanistan:
The following map gives an overview of the major troop contributing nations in each regional command along with the lead nation for each PRT:
4. International Contribution to ISAF
4.1 Troop Contributing Nations
The following table gives the approximate troop contribution for each of the 47 troop contributing nations as of 6 August 2010. These figures are indicative and actual numbers will fluctuate on a day by day basis due to visits, Rest & Recuperation (R&R) and for operational reasons.
4.2. Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team (OMLT) Contributing Nations
OMLTs provide training and mentoring to the ANA. They also serve as a liaison capability between ANA and ISAF forces, co-ordinating the planning of operations and ensuring that ANA units receive necessary enabling support (including close air support, casualty and medical evacuation).
Under the OMLT concept developed by ISAF, each team deploys for a minimum of six months and consists of 11 - 28 personnel, depending on the type and function of the ANA unit with which it trains, and can consist of personnel from several ISAF nations.
In line with the recommendations of General McChrystal’s Strategic Assessment in 2009, UK forces in Helmand moved from the small OMLT concept to the Embedded Partnering of UK units with Afghan counterparts, usually using the UK ‘company’ and Afghan ‘tolay’, each of around 120 men, as the basic building block. While the UK retains liaison teams attached to ANA units in Helmand, partnered UK-Afghan ‘Combined Forces’ have been the UK’s principal means of training and mentoring newly raised ANA forces over the course of 2010. These Combined Forces are the UK’s contribution to ISAF’s OMLT statistics which sets out the number of deployed OMLTS provided by ISAF nations as of 3 September 2010. The next NATO Force Generation Conference on 22 September is expected to result in some increases in the level of contributions.
In addition to the OMLTs listed, the US contributes 76 Embedded Training Teams. These units can deploy to partner the ANA across Afghanistan on training requirements, insurgent activity and ISAF campaign direction.
4.3 Police Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team (POMLT) Contributing Nations
The POMLT programme is an important part of NATO-ISAF’s contribution towards the development of the ANP. POMLTs are composed of 15-20 personnel from one or several countries. Each POMLT is normally deployed with an Afghan unit for a minimum period of six months.
As is the case with OMLTs, the US provides the bulk of the ISAF POMLT contribution with a pool of 279 teams providing POMLTs on a flexible basis, as required.
The table below sets out the number of deployed POMLTS provided by other ISAF nations as of 3 September 2010, on 22 September a NATO Force Generation Conference is likely to result in significant increases in the level of contributions.
5. Current State of the Insurgency
See ANNEX B (Security classified, not publicly available – available to Committee Members at Defence Committee Office)
6. Future of the ISAF Campaign
The International Community and the Afghan Government have agreed that the ANSF will have responsibility for security across the country by 2015. In line with this the Prime Minister has stated his intent that there will not be British troops in a combat role or in significant numbers in Afghanistan in 2015.
Transition is the process by which the ANSF will take responsibility for security operations across Afghanistan. It is important to note that Transition is a process not an event. It involves ISAF and the international community progressively shifting responsibilities to Afghan forces and institutions as we move increasingly to a supportive role. Once Transition has been initiated, the Afghan Government, in collaboration with NATO, ISAF, PRT lead nations and international community stakeholders, will incrementally Transition responsibilities for districts and provinces to the Afghan Government, based on conditions on the ground. The criteria for Transition reflect the three main pillars of the Afghan National Development Strategy: security; governance; and development.
At the Kabul Conference on 20 July 2015 the International Community agreed to support the Transition process, endorsing the joint Afghan Government and NATO plan for phased transition to full Afghan responsibility for security laid out in the ‘Inteqal’ (Transition) paper. A Joint Afghan-NATO Inteqal Board (JANIB) has been established, co-chaired by the Afghan Office of the National Security Council and NATO/ISAF and attended by key stakeholders from the Afghan Government and the UN. The JANIB will assess conditions on the ground against security, governance and development criteria to establish which province/s fulfil the conditions to begin Transition. Recommendations will be jointly approved by the Afghan Government and the North Atlantic Council (NAC).
See also ANNEX C (Security classified, not publicly available – available to Committee Members at Defence Committee Office)
7. Development in Afghanistan
The UK’s programme for development across Afghanistan is led by the Department For International Development (DFID) - it would not make sense to develop Helmand alone while the rest of the country faces major challenges. DFID’s bilateral programme, alongside the work of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and MoD, forms a comprehensive effort to help strengthen key government institutions, counter the threat of violent extremism and pursue sustainable economic growth across the country.
7.1 Impact of DFID’s programmes to date
5.2m children attended school in 2008/09. This is an increase of 800,000 from 2007/08 and represents a five-fold increase since the fall of the Taleban. Girls were banned from attending school under the Taleban; now one third of children who attend school in Afghanistan are girls.
DFID Contribution: DFID’s Afghan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) allocation to education supports the equivalent of 31,000 teachers (almost 1 in 5).
85% of the population now has access to basic healthcare, compared to 9% in 2002. Five out of every six children are reaching their fifth birthday. 24% of births are now supervised by skilled birth attendants – an increase from 13% in 2005.
DFID Contribution: DFID’s ARTF allocation to health is approx £18m since 2002, helping to build Government capability to deliver health to its people.
7.2 Growth and livelihoods
DFID has contributed to national rural development programmes to help elect almost 22,000 Community Development Councils and initiate almost 50,000 locally-generated projects in agriculture, education, health, irrigation, power, public buildings, transport and water supply. Over $500 million worth of micro-credit and savings facilities have been extended to over 440,000 farmer families and small enterprises and over 9,790 km of rural roads have been built or repaired.
7.3 Anti-Corruption Efforts
All DFID funding to Afghanistan is subject to high standards of financial management and scrutiny to minimise the risk of misuse. Our support to the Afghan Government is channelled primarily via the multi-donor ARTF which is managed and monitored by the World Bank. Aid given through the ARTF is provided on a reimbursement basis and must conform to strict eligibility criteria. This means money is only given when the government has proved that actual expenditure has already been paid. The fund is also monitored by international auditors as a further safety check.
In addition, the UK with other donors is working with the Afghan Government to strengthen accountability, encourage financial management reforms in the public sector and build institutions with the ability to tackle corruption over the longer term.
8. Afghan National Security Forces
8.1 UK Responsibilities for Training the ANA
The UK provides support to the training and development of the ANA in three main ways, through embedding staff officers in NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan (NTM-A) Headquarters, by providing trainers to the NTM-A training institutions and through the embedded partnering of deployed ANSF in Helmand Province. Almost half of the UK’s deployed forces – some 4,500 troops – are available to support ANSF training in one of these forms.
All UK ground-holding troops are available to support ANA development through partnering. UK and ANA ground-holding troops are permanently living and operating together throughout the UK areas of operation. Alongside partnering there are small teams (OMLTs) which provide coherence to partnering by offering liaison, advice and continuity of relationships with ANA units. These teams attach themselves to specific ANA units and stay with them as they move around different ground-holding areas within the UK area of operations and can be partnered by different ISAF units.
The UK’s role in NTM-A training institutions includes leading the Combat Arms Directorate; being the principal supplying nation to the Infantry Branch School; and providing personnel to the Afghan Defence University, the Officer Cadet School, the Counter Insurgency Training Centre, and the Non-Commissioned Officer Training School.
8.2 UK Responsibilities for Training the ANP
The UK provides training and development in specialist police skills (including civilian policing, investigative skills and tackling corruption) and leadership skills. Mentoring is provided for senior officers and Ministers at district, provincial and national level. We support reform of the Ministry of Interior and institutional development on both a strategic and operational level. Training is reinforced through partnering and mentoring on the ground.
The UK is a major contributor to the EU Police Mission in Afghanistan (EUPOL). We also second three senior police advisors to the NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan (NTM-A) and have contributed to the costs of police salaries. We have a substantial bilateral effort in Helmand, training and mentoring the ANP. Through our engagement in NTM-A and EUPOL we support the Ministry of Interior to strengthen leadership capability, police accountability and develop training strategies and policy to ensure the role and development of the ANP is appropriately tailored as the security situation improves.
As part of our bilateral effort in Helmand, the UK continues to deliver training to officers and patrolmen, and to provide embedded partnering and on the ground mentoring to the police at all levels.
8.3 Numbers and Sources of Trainers
The UK currently provides, or is in the process of force generating, around 160 military personnel to NTM-A HQ and institutions, which support both ANA and ANP training. This includes 77 personnel for the Helmand Police Training Centre.
All UK ground-holding troops are partnering ANA and ANP on the ground in Helmand. Supporting partnering are small advisory teams made up of 206 personnel for the ANA and 75 personnel for the ANP.
Further military uplifts to the Helmand Police Training Centre and to police mentoring may result a review currently being undertaken as a result of our changing force laydown in Helmand.
Civilian personnel are also provided by the UK to support police training. This includes:
· 10 UK secondees to EUPOL (both serving and retired police officers).
· 3 UK secondees to NTM-A (both serving and retired)
· 19 Ministry of Defence Police
8.4 Number of ANP Trained and Ethnicity
As at 31 August 2010, the current strength of the ANP is around115,500 policemen. Of those, around 18,150 are officers, 38,000 are NCO’s and 59,300 are patrolmen. The ethnic makeup of the total force is 43% Pashtun, 42% Tajik, 5% Hazara, 5% Usbek, and 5% other. The ‘other’ category includes: Turkman, Balooch, Nooristani, Bayat, Sadat, Pashayee, Arab, and Alevi. Because of attrition, and ongoing training, the percentage of ANP that have undertaken training is difficult to put an exact percentage on. However, 90,350 policemen were trained between 2003 and 2009. In 2010, 22,182 policemen have been trained to date.
8.5 Number of ANA Trained and Ethnicity
As at 31 August 2010, the ANA stands at around 136,000 personnel, already ahead of its 2010 growth objective of 134,000 and on-track to achieve the 2011 goal of 171,600. Development of the ANSF is ISAF’s strategic priority. While the size of the infantry-centric force is growing strongly and exceeds established goals, ISAF is working to improve institutional capability. Approximately one third of Coalition troop offers are identified to support ANSF training and mentoring.
The Afghan Ministry of Defence and ANA are addressing continuing concerns about the lack of southern Pashtun soldiers with several recruiting initiatives. The ANA Recruiting Command sent four delegations on a recruiting fact finding mission to examine possible ways to increase recruiting for future Pashtun soldiers. The Defence Minister also committed to employing southern Pashtun officers as "hometown recruiters". Other recruiting initiatives conducted include billboards and media (radio and TV spots). The success of these methods will only become apparent over time; an improvement in security in the South is assessed to have the greatest impact on increasing recruitment. The lack of southern Pashtun soldiers is partly due to the fact that many Pashtun areas are heavily dominated by the insurgency; either Pashtuns do not want to join the ANA because they lean towards the Taleban or they are unable to do so because of pressure and intimidation.
8.6 Number of ISAF Personnel Involved in Training
The training capability required by the NTM-A is listed in the NATO Combined Joint Statement of Requirement (CJSOR). Troop contributing nations pledge personnel to deliver specific capabilities identified by the CJSOR, as opposed to simply filling designated posts. There are currently around 600 ISAF personnel providing training through NTM-A and the associated US Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan (CSTC-A). This number is expected to increase as a result of the NATO Force Generation Conference on 22 September 2010 and is scheduled to rise to 2796 trainers by March 2012. ISAF nations also provide civilian personnel to training efforts, and military personnel are involved in on the ground mentoring and partnering that is not captured on the CJSOR.
See also ANNEX D (Security classified, not publicly available – available to Committee Members at Defence Committee Office)
9. Negotiations with Insurgents
Afghanistan’s enduring stability requires an Afghan-led political process of reintegration and reconciliation that takes account of the concerns of disaffected Afghans.
Reintegration is focused at the low and mid levels of the insurgency - fighters and their immediate commanders - with the aim of reintegrating them back into mainstream communities. Reconciliation refers to negotiations with the insurgent senior leadership. The UK supports the Afghan Government's conditions for this process that, in order to participate, insurgents should: cut ties with Al-Qaeda; end violence; and live within the Afghan Constitutional framework.
President Karzai set out his commitment to this approach during his inaugural address in 2009. This was then followed up at the London Conference in January 2010 when the Afghan Government pledged to create a sustainable reintegration programme, supported by an international Peace and Reintegration Fund. President Karzai convened a Peace Jirga (a consultative meeting with a large cross-section of Afghans) on 2-4 June to secure wider Afghan support for his reintegration and reconciliation proposals. The Kabul Conference in July then secured clear commitments from the Afghan Government on the next steps for reintegration and reconciliation, and to advance a political settlement. The international community endorsed this approach.
One of the key outcomes of the conference was the recommendation for the establishment of a High Level Peace Council to take forward reintegration and reconciliation. The Council was formally announced on 4 September. We are now looking forward to President Karzai's appointment of the Council's chairman and membership so that this process can get going, in particular the rollout of the reintegration programme in key provinces.
10. UK in Afghanistan
The UK contributes 9,500 troops to ISAF. Of these around 7,700 are assigned to Helmand Province, 1,300 to Kandahar Air Field and around 500 troops and staff officers are assigned to Kabul in support of ISAF Headquarters, ISAF Joint Command and the NATO Training Mission - Afghanistan. Of the 9,500 UK troops, nearly half are involved in mentoring, training and partnering the ANSF.
In order to assist ISAF in delivering the improvements in security, the ANSF, governance and socio-economic development, the UK civilian and military personnel work closely with a number of international partners and organisation including:
· United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA): a political mission established at the request of the Afghan Government to assist it and the people of Afghanistan in laying the foundations for sustainable peace and development ;
· International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) – led by NATO since 2003;
· the World Bank;
· the Afghan Government
· additional donor nations; and,
· International NGOs .
11. UK Contribution Overview
The table below gives an indication of the number of UK Staff officers placed within the major ISAF command structures as well as senior posts held by UK military personnel:
12. History of UK Force Levels
The table below sets out the approximate UK conventional force level in Afghanistan at certain dates since 2001. These dates reflect either a point when public announcement of a change in force level was made or when a sequence of rebalancing and adjustments cumulatively resulted in a significant change in UK force levels.
The precise number of UK military personnel deployed at any one time varies due to several reasons including periods of overlap during the roulement of units and individuals into and out of theatre, rest and recuperation and casualties.
13. UK in Helmand
UK troops first deployed in significant numbers to Helmand province in southern Afghanistan in April 2006, with the establishment of Task Force Helmand consisting of 3,150 personnel, the majority of whom were drawn from 16 Air Assault Brigade. The decision to deploy UK forces to Helmand followed careful analysis and comprehensive discussion within the MoD and across other government departments. This decision helped the UK to implement a NATO decision to extend its presence to the South in response to a growing threat of a resurgent insurgency. The decision to deploy UK forces to Helmand was based on the importance of the mission to UK national interests and the UK’s leading role in NATO. In common with many of our international partners in Afghanistan, we have had to adapt our approach and force levels to reflect developments on the ground. During the first six months of the UK deployment to Helmand, we increased our force levels to around 6,000 personnel, in response to the situation there.
The UK currently contributes 9,500 troops to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission to Afghanistan on an enduring basis, although actual numbers on the ground fluctuate daily. We have around 7,700 troops assigned to Helmand, most – but not all – in central Helmand where we are responsible with the ANSF for providing security for around 32% of the Helmand population. Camp Bastion, located to the north-west of the provincial capital Lashkar Gah, is our main logistics hub for the province; the main point of entry and departure by aircraft for UK troops; as well as the base for elements of the UK’s helicopter fleet. It is also the location of our main in-country medical facility. The UK also has forces assigned to Kandahar Air Field (approximately 1300) and to headquarters in Kabul (approximately 500), and holds several key command positions, including Deputy Commander ISAF (on a permanent basis) and Commander Regional Command (South) (RC(S)) (until November 2010).
The UK has operated within the endorsed force levels of 9,500 troops deployed on operations in Afghanistan since December 2009. This figure excludes "surge" deployments, such as the annual deployment of engineers to repair wear-and-tear of Forward Operating Bases, or deployment of the Theatre Reserve Battalion (TRB), which is based in Cyprus and can be deployed rapidly and on the authority of the Chief of Joint Operations when a temporary need for additional troops is identified. The TRB was deployed to central Helmand in July 2010 for a 3-month period to further progress and consolidate gains in central Helmand following recent operations in the area.
13.2 Task Force Helmand
International forces deployed to Helmand province operate within Regional Command South West (RC(SW)), currently commanded by the US Marine Corps’ (USMC) under Major General Richard Mills. The majority of UK personnel operate under the command of the UK-led Task Force Helmand (TFH), which also contains significant Danish and Estonian contingents, which has responsibility for providing security in the centre of the province alongside the ANSF.
UK command of TFH is refreshed on a 6-monthly basis. It is currently under the command of Brigadier Richard Felton, Commander of 4 Mechanized Brigade (4 Mech Bde), who will be replaced by Brigadier James Chiswell and 16 Air Assault Brigade in October 2010. UK forces are focused in the central part of the province, operating in the population centres of Nad-e Ali North and South, Nahr-e Saraj North and South and Lashkar Gah. Task Force Helmand Headquarters is located in the provincial capital Lashkar Gah, alongside the PRT, which is headed up by a UK civil servant, Ms Lindy Cameron (to be replaced by Michael O’Neill from the FCO in October). The co-location of the Task Force with the PRT and the Provincial Governor is key to coordinating the military effort with the international civilian effort and that of the provincial government.
The UK’s focus in Helmand, in line with ISAF’s priorities, remains protecting the Afghan people, increasing Afghan governance at provincial and district level and building the capacity of the ANSF. The UK has adopted a strategy of being physically located in close proximity to the protected community, operating out of bases located in and around the key population centres. In line with ISAF intent, we are conducting a counter-insurgency operation, a vital element of which is for troops to interact with the local population and many key activities, including patrolling in population centres and holding meetings with local community leaders, can only be conducted on the ground. Partnering with the ANSF is key to our strategy, as the quickest and most effective way of bringing them up to the level where they can increasingly take over security responsibility from international forces. On the ground, working closely with the ANSF helps our troops to engage more effectively with the local population; gathering valuable intelligence on suspected insurgents and potential threats.
Operations, such as the recent Operation MOSHTARAK, follow the Shape, Clear, Hold, Build phased approach to counter-insurgency operations:
· Shape opinion before an operation to maximize popular support by engaging the local population and disrupting the insurgency in the area;
· Clear an area of insurgents through operations designed to undermine them and protect the population;
· Hold the area by rapidly introducing effective Afghan governance and beginning immediate, quick-win ‘hot stabilisation’ activities; and,
· Build sustainable Afghan Government-led progress across the area through stabilisation and development.
Counter-insurgency is patient, methodical work. It takes time to convince people that they should back the Afghan Government over the insurgents. This is reflected in progress on the ground. Nad-e Ali district, where ISAF and ANSF have had a presence for around 18 months, is further advanced than Marjah, where ISAF troops have only been for around six months. In Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital, where we have had a long term presence, there is even greater progress with the Afghans increasingly dealing with the majority of security threats themselves. It is only through helping to implement sustainable and accountable governance, that ISAF will successfully separate the population from the insurgency.
UK personnel, operating as part of ISAF, have made tangible improvements across their area of operations in Helmand province since first deploying there in significant numbers in 2006. Successes include:
· In 2008, of the 14 districts in Helmand, government authority, represented by a district governor, extended to only five. In 2010 there are now governors in 11 of Helmand’s districts.
· The Helmand Police Training Centre (HPTC) delivers training to 150 new recruits every 4 weeks. The HPTC is staffed by a mixture of UK Ministry of Defence Police (MDP), British Army, other ISAF and Afghan Ministry of the Interior (MOI) instructors;
· Governor Mangal’s Counter Narcotics strategy has reduced poppy cultivation in Helmand by 33% over the past year. Since 2008, 3,200 tonnes of wheat seed has been distributed annually to approximately 30,000 local farmers;
· In 2006 there was one district hospital and nine comprehensive and 20 basic health clinics. In 2009, that had grown to one provincial hospital, two district hospitals, and 54 health clinics and;
· Since the end of 2008, 40 schools have re-opened across Helmand. There are now 103 schools open in the province.
13.5 Looking Forward
COMISAF and the NATO Senior Civilian Representative (SCR) have provided direction on transition implementation, outlining a number of key principles:
· that Transition will be conditions based;
· recommendations will be bottom up, not top-down, being informed by local assessments;
· Transition will involve thinning out of ISAF forces rather than handing off;
· it will require retaining headquarters elements even as units thin out;
· it will start at the district level and progress to the provincial level;
· it will involve "reinvesting" some of the Transition dividend in terms of ISAF resources; and,
· it will involve transitioning institutions and functions as well as geographic areas.
Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ) Northwood are currently undertaking a review into the military options for security transition and transfer in Helmand. It will look at Transition in the context of a complete withdrawal of UK combat troops by the end of 2014. We expect that our force profile will evolve as the Afghan's take on more responsibility in our Area of Operations, and that we will reinvest troops as required, for example to deepen the hold in central Helmand and invest in police training, to increase prospects of success. Any plan for changing force posture through Transition will need to be developed over time and, dependent on ISAF Transition planning, wider governance and development work, will need to take into account the position on the ground and the Taleban approach as we go through Transition. The plan will be in line with and based on ISAF’s conditions based plan for Transition.
14. Development in Helmand
14.1 Overview of the Helmand Provincial Reconstruction Team
The Helmand PRT is a UK-led, multinational team helping the Afghan Government deliver effective government and security across Helmand Province. It has 260 staff, approximately half of whom are civilian and half military, provided by the UK, US, Danish and Estonian governments. The PRT includes some 21 civilian police staff and 30 Afghan staff. The UK staff are drawn from DFID, FCO, MoD and a database of consultants who can deploy at short notice. DFID staff, who manage the UK’s bilateral, long-term development programme in Helmand, are co-located with the PRT in Lashkar Gah. It is led by the Head of Mission, Lindy Cameron, who has previously headed the DFID offices in Baghdad and Kabul.
The PRT works to a single Helmand Plan that has been agreed with the Government of Afghanistan and international partners. The plan is structured around seven themes: Politics and Reconciliation; Governance; Rule of Law (Justice, Police and Prisons); Security; Economic and Social Development; Counter Narcotics; and Strategic Communications.
The PRT is headquartered in Lashkar Gah and has UK, US and Danish District Stabilisation Teams in 10 of Helmand’s 14 Districts. A Stabilisation Team typically consists of civilian stabilisation advisers (STABADs), civilian specialists (e.g. in agriculture), a political adviser and either a UK Military Stabilisation Support Team (MSST), a US Civil Affairs Team, or a Danish CIMIC (Civil Military Cooperation) Support Team. The teams bring together people with a range of backgrounds including development, politics, engineering and project management. The Stabilisation Teams work hand in hand with the District Regimental, Battle Group or Battalion HQs to co-ordinate civil and military activity.
14.2 Progress in Helmand
The role of the PRT is to help the Afghan Government improve the governance, services and security it provides in Helmand. Since the PRT was established, in September 2004, there has been progress across all themes of the Helmand Plan.
DFID’s programme in Helmand focuses on four key areas of work which set the conditions for medium term progress, and complement the stabilisation activities of the PRT and other donors.
· Supporting sustainable economic growth through the Helmand Growth Programme;
· Delivering infrastructure and capacity building support at Bost Airfield and Agricultural Centre;
· Constructing the road between Lashkar Gah and Gereshk and starting the refurbishment of the Gereshk hydro-power plant;
· Supporting the Afghan Government to improve its ability to deliver for its own people through the DFID/PRT state-building programme in Helmand and the District Delivery Programme.
DFID’s support in Helmand has contributed to:
· 1,600 wells benefiting 250,000 people;
· 59 km of road repaired, with a further 21km underway;
· 87 irrigation projects benefiting 350,000 people;
· 2,500 small loans to farmers and small businesses;
· 20,000 people in Lashkar Gah have access to safe drinking water and 65% of the city is now being cleaned by the municipality;
· Construction of essential infrastructure at the Bost Airfield and Agriculture Centre;
There are now district governors installed in 11 of Helmand’s 14 districts (Nawa, Nad-e Ali, Gereshk, Sangin, Musa Qaleh, Garmsir, Naw Zad, Khaneshin, Marjeh, Dishu, and Kajaki with a mayor in place in Lashkar Gah). A temporary fourteenth District has recently been established under direction from President Karzai with an acting District Governor in place. A t the end of 2008 there were only five District Governors in place.
With PRT support, four Community Councils have been established in Helmand to empower local representatives to determine the direction of development and security in their district. 5 members of the Gereshk Community Council are female.
Through the District Delivery Programme (DDP) process the PRT has pioneered on-budget support to the provincial administration, directorates and district administrations. The first District Delivery Programme in Afghanistan has already been approved for Nad-e Ali which will provide the district government with $1.5m to provide services according to the priorities of the communities, and work is now underway to roll DDP out in Gereshk and Marjeh.
26 Afghan line ministries are now represented in Lashkar Gar, including the Ministries for Rural Reconstruction and Development; Education; Public Health; Finance; Energy and Water (including the Helmand Arghandab Valley Authority); Public Works; Transport; Information; Media & Culture and Counter-Narcotics.
There are now 103 schools open in Helmand, up from 47 in December 2007. Forty schools have re-opened across Helmand since December 2008, four of them built by the PRT and TFH.
Pupil enrolment is rising in Helmand. The latest, January 2010, figures, show total enrolment of 83,995 pupils: 64,846 male and 19,149 female. This represents an increase of 63% since December 2007. Female enrolment is estimated to have increased by 34% during this period.
Alongside school construction and refurbishment, the PRT is funding school supplies; Ministry of Education (MoE) led teacher training and helping the Department of Education build its managerial capacity and district outreach capacity.
14.5 Economic Development
The PRT is helping improve farmers’ access to markets through the provision of roads and regional transport links; delivering more affordable electricity; improving access to finance; providing vocational training; and increasing support for small businesses. This will deliver more sustainable jobs and have a key impact on medium and long term stability in Helmand.
The joint USAID/DFID-funded Lashkar Gah airport opened in June 2009, allowing over 40 commercial flights a week to land in Helmand.
DFID is financing the further development of the Agricultural Business Park adjacent to the airport, building on initial work started with USAID financing. Once complete, the park will provide small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) with a secure location and services on which to base their businesses.
Over 3,000 loans, totalling over $2m have been dispersed to small businesses across central Helmand, using DFID funding. The first national retail bank branch opened in Lashkar Gah in 2007. Two more have opened offices in the province since then.
Mercy Corps, a Helmand based NGO supported by DFID, has built a new agriculture high school, providing vocational training for 270 students aged 16-18 each year. Mercy Corps has also trained over 4,500 farmers, supporting improvements in farming techniques for almost 50,000 people.
Over the next three years, the DFID-funded £28 million Helmand Growth Programme will help to remove barriers to economic growth by improving roads and market access, improving electricity supplies, improving access to credit and providing vocational training and business support to local farmers and small businesses.
Roads: Working with the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, a large number of road construction projects are ongoing. Up to 2010, over 90km of roads have been resurfaced, mainly in the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah but also 10km of roads in district towns such as Garmsir, Nad-e Ali, Sangin, Musa Qaleh and Gereshk.
Power: USAID have financed refurbishment of the second turbine at Kajaki Dam, resulting in an increase in power supply for Lashkar Gah residents from four hours a day to anywhere between 12 and 24 hours a day, depending on location.
Planning for the refurbishment of the Gereshk Hydro-electric plant is underway, which will improve electricity for 50,000 people. The work itself will be completed by 2013. This project, costing $60m, is funded by DFID (over £15m), the Asian Development Bank and Denmark.
Water and Irrigation: $1.3m of improvements to Shamalan Canal has improved irrigation for 10,000 farmers.
A major Helmand River Basin Study and Master Plan is being started to re-build the capacity of the Helmand Arghandab Valley Authority by restoring river and canal gauging stations, re-creating data records, enabling river and canal modelling, establishing an asset register and maintenance system.
A DFID-funded UN Habitat programme is providing access to safe drinking water for some 35,000 people in Lashkar Gah by installing hand pumps and building new water towers, as well as improving water, sanitation and roads for local communities through smaller projects, which have so far benefited 90,000 people.
District Stabilisation: In the past two years, improvements have been made to roads and drainage in the District Centres of Sangin, Garmsir, Nad-e Ali, Musa Qaleh, Gereshk, as well as refurbishment of bazaars in Sangin, Nad-e Ali and Garmsir.
14.7 Strategic Communications
There are currently five local radio stations in Helmand, up from one in 2001.
The PRT has funded 18 months of training for Helmandi journalists and provided the Journalist’s Union with a building and an IT/internet facility to help them conduct research and file stories.
The PRT has equipped the Governor’s Media Centre – the only Afghan Government press conference facility outside Kabul.
PRT funding has been allocated to provide Communications Advisers to District Governors in six key districts. The PRT is working with the Government Media Centre to develop a campaign approach to government communications.
In 2008, the PRT supported the establishment of civil justice institutions, including the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission Provincial Office and the Land and Tribal Dispute Commission. A Women and Childrens’ Justice Group Independent Commission for Women and Children’s Rights have now been set up, and equipped, assisted by the PRT, to support local communities and justice institutions.
The PRT has supported the provision of a legal defence capacity in Helmand since 2008.
The PRT worked with the Chief Provincial prosecutor to place prosecutors in Gereshk, Garmsir, Sangin, Nad-e Ali, Marjeh and Nawa.
In October 2009 Helmand’s run down prison was replaced with the first wing of a new, purpose-built facility. It houses up to 450 prisoners in an environment that is more secure and meets Afghan and international standards.
The HPTC delivers basic patrolmen training to up to 150 new ANP recruits every 4 weeks on 8 week training courses. In May 2010 approval was granted by the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) to run specialist leadership training for Police Non Commissioned Officers (NCOs). The training for both basic patrolmen and NCOs is delivered by a combination of UK Ministry of Defence Police, UK, ISAF and MOI Instructors.
The Provincial Police HQ opened in January 2009. The PRT provided the office equipment and IT to make the building operational along with an education and training facility. A cadre of women police officers completed police training at both Police HQ and Kabul at the end of 2009 with another cadre of women currently receiving training on a course that started in May 2010.
The Ministry of Defence Police are deployed in a number of districts and provide mentorship and training to the District Chiefs of Police and their police officers on the ground.
The detailed design work for the permanent Helmand Police Training Academy has been completed and the first phase is funded by the PRT. This will be a purpose built training facility that will allow for training of ANP specialist courses, recruit training and a separate facility for women officers.
The PRT has funded a number of ANP checkpoints, patrol bases and police HQs in the districts to enable the ANP to operate as a professional force and continues to project manage a number of ANP infrastructure projects throughout Helmand.
14.10 Counter Narcotics
Governor Mangal’s Counter Narcotics Strategy (also known as the Food Zone Programme) has contributed to a 33% reduction in poppy cultivation in Helmand over the past year, (UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Opium Survey 2009). Cultivation levels are expected to remain stable in 2010.
This strategy, launched in 2008, was the first provincial counter-narcotics strategy.
In 2008, as part of this strategy, 3,200 tonnes of wheat seed was distributed to 32,000 farmers across Helmand, supporting a transition to legal livelihoods. In 2009, 37,500 farmers across Helmand received wheat seed and fertiliser. This was followed up in February 2010 with the distribution of fruit saplings (apricots, plums and pomegranates) and vines to nearly 1,200 farmers alongside agricultural advice.
By the end of May 2010, approximately 27,000 farmers had received subsidised agricultural inputs, giving them the chance to boost their agri-business and household income and reducing farmers’ dependency on poppy cultivation.
Governor Led Eradication was conducted in areas where security conditions allowed and where access to alternative livelihoods was provided previously. This acts as a means of injecting credible risk into farmers’ future planting decisions.
The PRT is also supporting and mentoring the Counter Narcotics Police of Afghanistan (CNPA), to assist them with the interdiction of those involved in the narcotics trade. The numbers of people from Helmand being convicted of narcotics offences as a result of CNPA investigations is continually increasing, reflecting the robust approach to gathering intelligence and evidence.
The government-contracted health supplier is now able to operate clinics in all priority district centres. In 2006, there was 1 district hospital, 9 Comprehensive Health Clinics and 20 Basic Health Clinics in Helmand. In 2009, this has increased to one provincial hospital, two district hospitals, 15 Comprehensive Health Clinics, 30 Basic Health Clinics and nine Sub Centres. Over 400 Health Posts operate across the Province providing basic health care at a local level. The total number of Health Care Workers in Helmand is now 1047.
The PRT, through UK and Estonian funding, has improved facilities at Bost Hospital in Lashkar Gah – meaning it now meets the standards set by the Ministry of Public Health. Medecins Sans Frontieres took over the management of Bost Hospital in Oct 2009.
14.12 Non-Governmental Organisation
DFID maintains a regular dialogue with NGOs, both in the UK and in Afghanistan.
Over 50% of DFID aid in Afghanistan is channelled through Government systems. The Government of Afghanistan and donor partners reached agreement at the London and Kabul Conferences to increase assistance through the central government budget to 50% over the next two years. DFID has already achieved this target but its ability to provide funding, off budget, for civil society is limited. However, DFID does provide direct and indirect support for NGOs in: agriculture and rural development, de-mining, business and private sector development.
The Government of Afghanistan’s National Solidarity Programme works with NGOs as Facilitating Partners which deliver essential services and support community development throughout the country. DFID supports the National Solidarity Programme through contributions to the multi-donor Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund.
DFID is developing a new civil society programme called "Tawanmandi" – which means ‘strengthening’ in Dari. The programme will be co-funded with Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland.
In the UK, DFID works with the British Agencies Afghanistan Group (BAAG), an umbrella organisation for UK-based NGOs with an interest in Afghanistan. We participate in bi-monthly NGO contact group meetings hosted by the FCO. In addition, DFID holds regular meetings and consultations to discuss issues of mutual concern, including civil-military cooperation.
DFID supported NGO and civil society participation in the London and Kabul Conferences of January and July 2010. DFID also supported BAAG and the Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief (ACBAR), the NGO umbrella organisation in Afghanistan, in organising a civil society conference on 26 January and ensured that civil society was represented at the main London Conference on 28 January.
15. List of Operations
Operation Mar Karadad was launched in D ecember 2007 with the aim of driving insurgents from Musa Qaleh district centre and establishing a permanent ANSF/ISAF presence in the area.
Operation Asada Wosa was conducted between April and May 2008 with the aim of extending the influence of ANSF/ISAF forces and the Afghan authorities in Garmsir.
Operation Oqab Tsuka took place between 22 August and 8 September 2008 to move a second turbine from Kandahar to the hydro-electric dam in Kajaki. Extensive support was provided by UK and ISAF assets including close logistics support and air assets.
Operation Sond Chara took place in D ecember 2008 to allow further strengt hening of the ISAF position in c entral Helmand through reinforcement and consolidation of the security of Lashkar Gah and Nad-e Ali, allowing the provincial government to expand and deepen their influence.
Operation Panchai Palang took place between June and July 2009 to set the security conditions for successful presidential elections in Helmand and to support an inflow of US troops. Security for the election period was achieved by disrupting insurgents in the greater Lashkar Gah area and through continuing to clear Nad-e Ali district to extend the Afghan Government’s influence in the Afghan D evelopment Zone.
Operation Moshtarak is the 3-phase regional operation, commanded a nd controlled by Commander RC(S) , to provide security i n c entral Helmand and Kandahar and to enable freedom of movement on main routes. Operation Moshtarak Phase 2, planned and conducted by the ANSF in partnership with ISAF, began in Februa ry 2010 to provide security in c entral Helmand .
Operation Omid D o was launched on 11 July 2010 to reinstate government authority and bring security to the area of Yakchal, south - east of Gereshk. As one of the first major operations entirely planned and executed under ANA command, mentored by UK forces, it is a significant milestone in the development of the ANSF.
Operation Tor Shezada was launched on 30 July 2010 by British troops partnered with ANSF to continue the momentum generated by Operation Moshtarak and further squeeze insurgents in central Helmand . It aimed to clear insurgents from Sayedabad, to the south of Nad-e Ali, and prevent them from being able to use the area as a base from which to launch attacks.
Hamkari is the Afghan g overnment’s ongoing initiative in Kandahar to strengthen institutions of sub-national governance and reduce negative influences . Hamkari objectives are jointly civil and military and the Afghan-led political surge is being enabled by better security conditions, delivered by ANSF and ISAF (mainly US). This military activity takes forward the third phase of Operation Moshtarak. The UK is contributing some specialised elements of support but Hamkari does not involve significant numbers of UK personnel.
16. UK Force Laydown and Responsibilities in Helmand
16.1 Regional Command (South- West )
Following General McChrystal’s Strategic Assessment in September 2009 and the subsequent uplift in ISAF troop levels, there are now more international forces in Afghanistan than ever. The deployment of additional international troops to southern Afghanistan in early 201 0 created a large force in the S outh and prompted a review of how troops are managed in the region. Command of a force this size is beyond the capabilities of a single regional command headquarters and therefore, in order to provide the most suitable command and control relationship and to enable the right level of command focus, the command structure in the S outh was divided into two commands: RC(SW ), headquartered in Helmand and consisting of Helman d and Nimruz provinces, and RC( S ) , headquartered in Kandahar and consisting of Kandahar, D ai Kundi, Uruzgan and Zabol provinces. The separation of regional commands a long provincial boundaries also align ed the ISAF military structure in the S outh with the structure of the ANA , enabling a greater partnering capacity between ISAF and ANSF. Since June 2010, UK forces in TFH have come under the command of RC(SW), commanded by the USMC’s M ajor General Richard Mills. RC (S) continues under the command of UK Major General Nick Carter until November 2010, when rotational command will transfer to the US .
The previous government agreed in principle that the UK should seek to share command of RC(SW) with the US on a rotational basis, following the previous command arrangements in RC(S) where command was shared between the UK , Canada and the Netherlands on the basis of annual rotation. Once the associated resource implications of this are fully understood, a final decision will be sought from the National Security Council.
16.2 Task F orce Helmand
There has been further reorganisation of UK and US forces in Afghanistan below regional command level. TFH have consolidated their presence in c entral Helmand by withdrawing from bases in the n orth of the province at Musa Qaleh, Kajaki and Sangin. Responsibility for these areas was transferred to US forces in March, June and September 2010 respectively. Withdrawal from northern Helmand has enabled UK troops to further concentrate, and consolidate gains , in the population centres of c entral Helmand . As part of the UK ’s commitment to this area, the Chief of Joint Operations, Air Marshal Stuart Peach, accepted an ISAF request for a temporary deployment of approximately 300 troops from the UK ’s Theatre Reserve Battalion, to give commanders additional flexib ility to reinforce progress in c entral Helmand in Summer 2010.
In addition to the logistics hub at Camp Bastion , the UK has logistics and combat support troops at Kandah ar Airfield. Pending the completion of a new runway and infrastructure at Camp Bastion , due to achieve Initial Operation Capability in early 2011, Kandahar Airfield is the only military airfield in southern Afghanistan able to accommodate the largest transport aircraft. The Headquarters of RC(S) is also based at Kandahar Airfield and as well as being responsible for overseeing all operational activity in RC(S), Major General Nick Carter also coordinates strategic assets for the region. For example, the command is responsible for managing intelligence and surveillance assets and close air support (fast jets), both located at Kandahar airfield. These assets can be deployed across a large geographical area and are managed centrally, in order to get the most effect out of them.
16. 4 ISAF Responsibilities
In September 2009, General McChrystal, outlined direction for the campaign in Afghanistan, centred around a population-centric counterinsurgency strategy and based on the four pillars of Embedded Partnering, Governance, Operations and Geographic Priorities. The current commander of ISAF, General Petraeus, has confirmed his commitment to this approach, with regular reviews of progress.
· Embedded Partnering. D eveloping the capability of the ANSF by pairing up Afghan and International Security Assistance Force units at all levels so that they are collocated, plan and conduct missions side-by-side;
· Governance . Prioritising responsible and accountable governance at both the national and local levels through both formal and traditional mechanisms;
· Operations . Gaining the initiative and reversing the insurgency’s momentum through a staged approach which incrementally increases the size, capability and operational responsibility of the ANSF ;
· Geographic Priorities . Prioritising Afghan and ISAF resources to those critical areas where the population is most threatened, with an initial focus of main effort on Helmand and Kandahar provinces in southern Afghanistan .
16. 5 Afghan Elections 2010
Afghan Parliamentary elections took place on the 18 September 2010. Security for the elections was the responsibility of the MOI , with the ANSF in the lead. The I JC provide d support to their Afghan partners and the Independent Electoral Commission, which was consistent with the overall ISAF approach. IJC also provide d support to the Electoral Complaints Commission, the United Nations D evelopment Programme and international observers upon request.
17. UK Casualty Figures
As of 20 September 2010, 337 UK service personnel have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001, with 92 fatalities occurring in 2010. The most recent, detailed casualty and fatality figures, which cover the period up to 31 August 2010, are provided below.
17.1 UK Afghan Casualty Figures by Year
17.2 UK Afghan Fatality Figures by Year
18. Friendly Fire Incidents and Inquiry Process
18.1 UK Service Personnel deaths due to friendly fire, 7 October 2001 to 6 September 2010
1. Those where the cause has been confirmed at a coroner’s inquest
2. D ata starts 7 October 2001, inclusive
3. D ata ends 6 September 2010, inclusive.
18.2 UK Service Personnel casualties resulting from Friendly Action/Fire as reported on the initial NOTICAS (Notification of Casualty) , 7 October 2001 to 15 August 2010
1. D ata starts 7 October 2001, inclusive
2. There were four incidents where more than one person was injured.
3. D ata up to 15 August 2010.
In the above table, c asualty data has been sourced from the initial Notification of Casualty (NOTICAS) using the Cause Category Friendly Action/Fire. This a field populated by medical authorities with the information that is available to them at the time of an incident . It is not a definitive classification of the event. Not all casualties will have a NOTICAS raised (those less severe casualties that do not require hospitalisation), so the numbers presented here should be treated as the minimum .
18.3 Process for Investigating Alleged Friendly Fire Incidents
Where it is immediately apparent or suspected that there has been a breach of law or Rules of Engagement, or death, or injury to friendly forces on operations which involves a shooting incident, Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ) policy is that a Serious Incident Report (SINCREP) is made at the earliest opportunity and they are passed immediately to the in-Theatre Formation HQ Legal and Service Police staffs to conduct investigations that will determine whether and by whom any criminal or Service discipline offence has been committed and provide information to the coronial system, as appropriate.
In addition to triggering the Joint Casualty and Compassionate process to enable the notification of the emergency contact and next of kin (NOK) the SINCREP also notifies the Army Incident and Notification Cell (AINC) and Chief Environment and Safety Officer Army in order that they can initiate incident mapping and, where necessary, deployment of the Land Accident Investigation Team. Within 48 hours, AINC and the Chain of Command are required to initiate a Learning Account (LA) , which is staffed during operations as a priority, and submitted to the unit’s Formation HQ where any immediate lessons are identified and passed to other units for their action. At this point it will also be decided whether the incident merits an After Action Review (AAR) .. A friendly fire incident will also be reported to the Service police to decide whether or not to initiate a criminal investigation . If there is no AAR , the lessons from the LA may be considered in the Counter Threat Working Group .
The final level of investigation is the completion of a Service Inquiry which is used to examine the circumstances surrounding an incident, to determine the facts and to make recommendations to reduce the possibility of a similar incident happening again without attributing blame.
19. Civilian Casualties and Fatalities and Inquiry Outcomes
19.1 Overarching Policy
The protection of the Afghan civilian population is at the core of the international military strategy and the importance of this was recognised by the international community in the Communiqué which was released at the Kabul Conference on 20 July, which states that:
"Participants recognized that civilian casualties and protection of civilians are of great concern and noted that most civilian casualties are caused by insurgent attacks. Participants regretted the death of every Afghan and international civilian, and Afghan and international military forces remain committed to the objective of a steady reduction in the rate of civilian casualties."
ISAF has worked extremely hard to reduce the levels of civilian casualties and has introduced new rules to govern the use of force which are laid out in ISAF D irectives. As Commander ISAF, General Petraeus has committed to building on the efforts of his predecessor, General McChrystal, in this area.
UK forces in Afghanistan also make every effort to avoid civilian casualties in line with the ISAF direction outlined in the Commander ISAF Tactical D irective Revision 1, dated 1 August 2010. This is currently classified as Secret but an unclassified version of the previous COMISAF D irective dated 6 July 2009 is available.
19.2 Investigation Procedures
There are strict procedures, frequently updated in light of experience, intended both to minimise the risk of casualties occurring and to investigate any incidents that do happen. The procedures followed after a civilian casualty (CIVCAS) incident by both the UK and ISAF chain of command are set out below. The two processes run in parallel but are independent and the reports cross from one chain of command to another. This is to ensure that the neutrality of the processes is maintained.
The Afghan operational theatre is a non-international armed conflict with an insurgent enemy. This provides a difficult and complex environment in which to identify enemy forces (EF) and the role which other individuals who may or may not be civilians are playing in the hostilities. The result of this is that careful judgement has to be exercised before engaging to ensure that those being engaged are legitimate targets.
19.3 UK Shooting Incident Review (SIR) Policy
The most recent issue of the UK SIR policy was on 4 January 2010 and it is regularly reviewed. The first report of all shooting incidents is the Serious Incident Report (SINCREP). This report is sent by the military unit involved to their unit operations room in the first instance. It will then be forwarded as appropriate up the Chain of Command. From the SINCREP , the Commanding Officer (CO) of the Battlegroup must make one of three decisions:
· If only positively identified enemy forces have been killed or injured and there is no suggestion of any breach of the Laws of International Armed Conflict (LOAC) or Rules of Engagement (ROE) then no further action will be necessary.
· If civilians may have been killed or injured although there is no indication that LOAC/ROE have been breached an SIR should be initiated.
· If it appears there may have been a breach of the ROE or LOAC or a friendly fire incident or any other circumstances deemed appropriate then the incident is reported to the Service police .
If a SIR is required then it should be completed w ithin 48 hours and should set out the detailed facts to enable the CO to conclude if any further action is required. The review is to be conducted by an officer of at least the rank of Captain, who was not involved in the incident. The review will involve the collation of all documents, ledgers and logs that deal with the incident, as well as reports from those present. At the conclusion of the SIR the CO will have three options, depending on its outcome: inform the Service police; recommend an investigation from within unit resources; or take no further action.
If a service police investigation or unit investigation is commenced this may or may not lead to disciplinary proceedings. Any investigation will clearly produce documentation and a report.
A Service P olice investigation will be conducted in the usual manner in accordance with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE), including the taking of statements and, in most cases, the interviewing of suspects after caution. This will produce a report which will be sent to the relevant authority. A unit investigation will be less formal than a Service P olice one and will not be conducted in accordance with PACE. A unit investigation will report to the CO who will then decide if disciplinary action is appropriate.
19.5 ISAF CIVCAS Procedures
The primary difference between national investigations and ISAF ones is the purpose of them. While a national investigation is to establish what happened with a view to taking action for any potential offences and to examine Tactics Techniques and Procedures (TTPs), the ISAF process is aimed at establishing what happened, to examine TTPs and assist in providing an explanation to local nationals and GIRoA . ISAF has no disciplinary powers over troops which are deployed under national service laws . The essence of the ISAF investigations is to record CIVCAS allegations and learn the lessons to improve TTPs in the future. A procedure for Initial Assessment Teams (IAT) to be deployed from ISAF Joint Command (IJC) in the immediate aftermath of a CIVCAS incident to report on it has also recently been established.
The source of the ISAF CIVCAS investigation procedures is the Escalation of Force (EoF) Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). The first indication of a CIVCAS incident will again be a SINCREP. The first appearance of this in an ISAF system will be as an entry in Joint Operations Centre Watch (JOCWATCH). This is a real time computer version of an Operations Log on to which all incidents are reported. If CIVCAS appears to be a possibility then this will be reported on the JOCWATCH entry.
If there is a CIVCAS possibility the unit concerned will be required to provide a First Impressions Report (FIR) within 24 hours and a Second Impressions Report (2IR) within 48 hours. The first report is the bare details of what happened while the second is to give a full explanation along with any appropriate documentation. As a result of the reports, alterations to TTPs may be recommended or direction may be given on alterations to ROE etc. The reports are archived by the HQ ISAF CIVCAS Cell. If there is a large scale CIVCAS incident, COMISAF may direct a large scale investigation.
D epending on the nature of the incident the IJC may decide to deploy an IAT to conduct a short on the spot assessment. This team typically consists of three people including a lawyer who will conduct fact finding with the unit and, where possible, at the location of the incident. The purpose of the IAT is to conduct a more thorough investigation than the FIR/2IR process. On occasions the IAT will also have Afghan members. As well as taking accounts from troops involved it will liaise with the local authorities to provide an initial explanation of the incident. The IAT will produce a report which will be shared with the unit and its Chain of Command and may make recommendations as to changes in procedures. It may also conclude that in fact the CIVCAS was as a result of an engagement that was lawful and within the ROE and no blame could be attached to ISAF forces. IAT reports will be archived with the CIVCAS Cell at HQ ISAF.
19.6 Civilian Casualty Numbers
T he UK does not collate, publish or hold figures of civilian casualties in Afghanistan because of the immense difficulty and ri sks of collecting robust data. The operational environment in Afghanistan makes it difficult to monitor the overall number of civilian casualties. Among the complicating factors is the removal in some cases of the dead and/or injured by local nationals before investigations could feasibly take place (Islam directs that bodies must be buried within 24 hours). UK forces may also need to vacate an area before an accurate assessment of the numbers of fatalities and casualties could be made and it is not feasible to have personnel on the ground at the site of each attack to ascertain the numbers of those killed or injured, particularly if the attack is airborne. It is therefore impossible to estimate with any confidence the number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan that have been caused by the current conflict. However, where we are aware that a civilian casualty has occurred , a full investigation, as outlined above, is undertaken.
It should be noted that insurgents routinely make false and exaggerated claims about civilian casualties caused by ISAF and Afghan forces; care must be taken not to accept their accounts at face value.
The D efence Budget is not used to fund the additional costs of current operations – they are met from the Treasury Reserve. HMT f unds the net additional costs Mo D has incurred, but not the costs that the D epartment would have incurred regardless of the operation taking place (e.g. salaries). A ny savings on activities that have not occurred because of the operation (e.g. training exercises) are also taken into account in arriving at the net figures.
D efence Resources can provide the actual net operating and capital costs of operations in Afghanistan funded by the Treasury, which to March 2010 totalled c£9.5Bn. However, given the D epartment’s purpose and how it is funded, it is not possible to identify which elements of the core D efence budget are being spent in Afghanistan .
The annual audited figures for the costs of operations in Afghanistan since 2001/02
The estimated cost of operations in Afghanistan at Main Estimate for FY 2010/11
These figures conform to HM Government’s Clear Line of Sight (CLoS), or Alignment, project and do not account for Cost of Capital, nor do they include the cost of provisions.
In addition, the Mo D contributes (along with the FCO and D FI D ) to the tri-departmental Conflict Pool (formerly Global Conflict Prevention Pool - GCPP) for which the allocation and spend for Afghanistan 2002-present is given below.
GCPP allocated no funding to Afghan in FY01/02, and between FY 02/03 and FY07/08 funding for Counter Narcotics work is treated separately.
21 Logistics Supply
21.1 Airbridg e
Passenger Airbridge: The pri mary passenger air bridge , or Air Line Of Communication (ALOC), runs five TriStar C2 / KC1 aircraft per week on the route Brize Norton – Akrotiri – Kandahar and back. The C2 variant is the passenger carrying variant and can carry 190 passengers and baggage to Afghanistan ; the KC1 variant is a tanker/freight/passenger combination aircraft which can carry 115 passengers.
The Second Air Line Of Communication (2ALOC) uses a twice weekly civilian charter flight into Min had, and then a C17 to move directly into Bastion. This route is surged by up to five flights per week during the Relief in Place (RiP).
Freight Airbridge: The regular strategic freight airbridge is provided by six C17 flights per week and six charter aircraft ( D C8s & A300s) per week. These are often augmented by outsize lift Antonov and Ilyushin aircraft for the movement of outsize loads to theatre. The charter/military freight split is 57% / 43% (January – June 2010) moving approximately 150 tonnes per week on military aircraft and 200 tonnes per week on charter aircraft.
Whilst operating under considerable pressure, the airbridge is providing a robust service to theatre and the recent statistics for August 2010 show that 73% of passengers flying from UK to Afghanistan arrived on time with 89% arriving within 3 hours of the planned arrival time. Over the past 12 months, 55,421 passengers have been flown to Afghanistan with the RAF TriStars flying 33,565, 2ALOC charter / RAF C17 17,982 and 3,874 on RAF C17 direct to and from the UK .
T he complexity of interacting factors including diplomatic clearances, access to slot times in Afghanistan , requirement for defensive aids for the aircraft, passenger aircraft being restricte d to take off and landing in the dark and last minute changes to accommodate high priority aero medical evacuation tasks all contribute to the challenge of operatin g the airbridge.
Currently, the most significant issue is one of aircraft availability. All UK aircraft carrying passengers into theatre are required to have Theatre Entry Standard (TES) protection systems and the fitting of these state-of-the-art systems has proven to be a complex and lengthy process , taking aircraft out of the transport fleet for the duration of the modification work. The availability of TriStars, particularly the C2 variant is also significantly impacted by maintenance and modification programmes to address obsolescence issues and ageing aircraft problems. The introduction of the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft , scheduled to replace TriStar in mid-2013 will resolve these problems.
Charter aircraft used by Mo D to carry freight into Afghanistan have to be compliant with Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulations. The CAA recently withdrew the UK licence for two of the three companies wh ich operate D C 8 aircraft on safety grounds . This has had a significant impact as the D C 8 aircraft can operate directly into Camp Bastion (BSN) whilst the Airbus A300 aircraft can only operate into Kandahar resulting in an increased burden on the Tactical Air Transport fleet. The opening of the new runway in BSN in 2011 will help resolve this issue.
In addition to the airbridge, an option known as Op SUN D ERLAN D is also used. This involves transporting equipment, including UOR vehicles which cannot transit through Pakistan because of security considerations, to Cyprus or the UAE where they are then transferred to charter or C17 aircraft. This method reduces the reliance on the SLOC through Pakistan and allows the reverse leg to be used to remove obsolescent and damaged equipment from theatre.
OP HERRICK – LINES OF COMMUNICATION
21.2 Pakistan Surface Line of Communication
The Pakistan Surface Line of Communication (SLOC), which enables deliveries into Afghanistan by road, runs between Karachi Port and the two primary border crossing points (BXP) into Afghanistan; Chamen BXP (n orth of Quetta) and Torkham BXP (in the vicinity of the Khyber Pass .
While the Pakistan floods have not disrupted the SLOC, customs processes in both Afghanistan and Pakistan can be slow, bureaucratic and result in delays to the delivery of routine freight. Continual in-Theatre engagement is re quired to obtain Afg han Tax Exemption certificates and Pakistan customs clearances. At SHAPE’s request, and on behalf of ISAF, the British High Commission Islamabad with support from PJHQ is seeking to assist the Pakistani authorities in resolving the issues on their side of the border. In Afghanistan , ISAF has the lead on ensuring a solution can be found within the bounds of the Military Technical Agreement (MTA). The UK will conti nue to concentrate on promoting improvements in the ISAF process and working with the British Embassy Kabul and Afghan Government Min istries to clear UK consignments. The recently established I n–Theatre MTA Joint Coordination Board will assist in resolving friction points and the establishment of a Customs Coordination Cell with UK representation will help to further improve understanding and relationships.
21. 3 Northern D istribution Network (N D N)
NATO has provided a significant logistic benefit by enabling a network of routes to Afghanistan through Northern Europe, Russia and the C entral Asian S tates to complement the Pakistan SLOC through a series of NATO Transit Agreements (NATO TA) open to all NATO and non-NATO ISAF members. The UK has led the N D N trials on behalf of NATO. As the largest anticipated user of the N D N (after the US ) it is anticipated that some of the other ISAF contributing nations will follow the UK lead. Consignments are r estricted to non-warlike goods. In order to continue the development of the N D N, further work is being undertaken to reduce D iplomatic Clearance timelines and to negotiate expanding the types of commodities carried to include warlike stores and to expand upon the NATO TAs to enable a two way flow of freight.
21.4 H ERRICK Campaign Support Plan (HCSP)
The HCSP is an operational level plan owned by the Chief of Joint Operations (CJO). It represents a change in HERRICK campaign support, drawing on strategic direction from the Mo D whilst bringing together a range of inputs from the wider support community. It promotes both continuity and stability for the support elements of the campaign in Afghanistan , allowing CJO to guide the logistic effort more effectively. It is framed around D ecisive Conditions ( D Cs) (those things which need to be achieved/occur) set against a specific timeline (currently ending 2015) to meet the Mission .
Progress is in line with expectations albeit that some D Cs have moved to reflect more realistic and mature timelines. Current headline issues are:
· Maintaining sufficient relevant material in theatre.
· Effective Information Systems to enable a well managed joint inventory.
· Achieve a robust supply governance regime.
· Maximise all lines of communication in and out of theatre.
· Contribute to stabilisation.
· Prepare for effective Transition.
21.5 Contractor Support to Operations (CSO) – Op HERRICK
The UK m ilitary is increasingly making use of CSO in Afghanistan , as reflected in the growth in the number of contractors in-theatre and the increasing range of capabilities that they provide. From July 2008 to July 2010 the number of companies supporting the UK in theatre increased from 22 to 67 and the number of contractor personnel deployed in theatre from 2,030 to 4,867. The latter number is considered to be conservative, with a further estimated 500 - 1,000 contractors (mainly Afghans) working on in-theatre contracts. The UK also utilises a number of NATO contracts for support, such as for fuel and for rotary wing freight movement.
The range of support provided through CSO is indicated below. This list is not exhaustive:
The Mo D and contractors are currently impleme nting the findings of a joint Mo D -Industry 2009 study which provided a number of recommendations to reduce Mo D ’s cumulative risk, increase Mo D ’s assurance to contractors and better integrate the military and contractors into a ‘Total Support Force’ which will best utilise the strengths of each.
21 .6 Afghan First Policy (A1P )
While the UK military makes use, where essential, of UK and third country contractors, an Afghan First Policy is practised; seeking where possible to use Afghan contractors based in the country. This is seen as a key ele ment in achieving stabilisation and stimulating and develop ing the Afghan economy. By spending money in Afghanistan rather than on Afghanistan the UK can not only contribute to economic rejuvenation by maximising local procurement and encouraging legitimate business growth, but also realise benefits of winning influence amongst the local community. In addition, local purchase also reduces the amount of materiel sent from the UK and means Mo D can source goods at a lower price.
Operating alongside the US (which also has an A1P) and the NGO Peace D ividend Trust, a series of Afghan Business Conferences have been held to make local contractors aware of our requirements and let contracts for a variety of goods. In addition, by encouraging competition and widening the contractor base for the supply of aggregates, theatre have achieved significant cost reductions.
A1P also addresses the training of local personnel where appropriate and the screening of contractors to ensure that funds are not channelled to malign actors, towards the insurgents or those involved in corruption.
21. 7 Equipment Sustainability System (ESS )
In order to provide the best possible equipment availability to the Operational Commander, the ESS Programme is designed to undertake deep repair and maintenance (regeneration) in theatre . By carrying out repair and maintenance in Camp Bastion , this programme negates the requirement for each vehicle to be returned to the UK for maintenance. In addition to improving availability of vehicles and other equipment in Afghanistan , it will save over £50m per year in equipment rotation costs and reduce the demands on the airbridge. As well as maintenance, ESS will deliver a Heavy Repair Facility, significantly increasing the capacity to repair damaged vehicles on site.
Full Regeneration Capability of ESS will commence from 1 October 2010 and grow in capacity over the first 18 months of the 3 year contract gradually regenerating more of the HERRICK operational fleet. By mid 2011 numerous platforms will be undergoing reg eneration including SUPPORT VECHILE, HEAVY EQUIPMENT TRANSPORTER , MASTIFF, RI D GBACK, WHEELE D TANKER, JACKAL 2, COYOTE and ROUGH TERRAIN CONTAINER HAN D LER. It is intended that as much forward repair and regeneration as possible will take place as ESS matures including Explosive Ordnance D evice and Information, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance ( ISTAR ) equipment.
21. 8 Multinational Support Solutions
In order to reduce costs, improve interoperabil ity and share responsibility, Mo D has engaged in multinational support solutions. Examples of these are:
· Contracted Rotary Wing – ISAF nations work together to fund (through NATO) and utilise contracted helicopters to provide cargo lift for the sustainment of ISAF throughout theatre. This allows military support helicopters to focus on operations in direct support of ISAF/ANSF.
· Protected Mobility Support – The UK has committed to a NATO initiative to scope multinational logistics support for Min e Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Vehicles ( MASTIFF, RI D GBACK, etc).
· Combat Logistics Patrols – UK & US Logistic units combine requirements and resources to deliver sustainment stocks to Forward Operating Bases within the RC(SW), thus optimising the logistics f ootprint and reducing the unnecessary exposure of personnel to insurgent activity.
· Real Life Support (RLS)/Theatre Air Port of D elivery (APO D ) Facilities – Through N ATO Maintenance and Supply Agency (NAMSA) (as the lead organisation) nations work together to fund and operate RLS/APO D facilities that enable Kandahar Air Field ( KAF ) as the theatre APO D and D ispersed Operating Base. The same c onstruct has been applied to the military estate at Kabul International Airport .
· Intra Theatre Airlift Support (ITAS) – Nations work together to pool Tactical Air Transport assets and offer spare capacity to each other, thus optimising the Tactical Air Transport and logistics footprint.
21.9 Logistics Information Systems (Log IS)
D ue to the inherent end-to end nature of the military logistics process, the logistics IS requirement in Theatre is complex - trying to deliver logistics support over poor infrastructure to moving locations where demand surges in an often unpredictable fashion and in a changing tactical situat ion influenced by the enemy. The Log IS deployed to Theatre are mostly ageing legacy applications and they need to be renewed in order to be effective and robust. Progress has been made but until all the new systems are fielded, Log IS will remain a principal area of risk.
The primary logistics applications cover the following areas:
· Equipment Support including Engineering and Asset Management for land equipment and Air/helicopter assets. This is essential to maximise availability of assets, exploit the savings associated with Whole Fleet Management, and ensure the crucial safety-relevant aspects of asset management are recognised.
· Supply Chain Management including D eployed Inventory Management, In Transit Visibility and Air Movement processes.
· Logistics D ecision Support including a variety of tools which supports the logistic commander ability to conduct support and planning.
22. Current Equipment
22.1 Key Issues
Afghanistan is a demanding operational environment, in terms of its physical characteristics, the threats to our forces – particularly the Improvised Explosive D evice (IE D ) threat – and a persistent, determined and adaptive enemy. We must recognise that most e quipment has to be a compromise with inevitable trade-offs to produce t he best overall solution (e.g. between levels of vehicle protection and the need for mobility). Nevertheless, our equipment is widely recognised as being better than ever before.
We are procuring increasingly bespoke and sophisticated equipment for Afghanistan – for example, some of our cutting edge protected mobility vehicles. But more complex equipment is often accompanied by long lead-times for its delivery and fielding; there are usually no simple, rapid solutions – although done urgently, it necessarily takes time. This applies equally to the increased training requirement and it is vital that we have sufficient numbers to provide for pre-deployment training in a representative environment, and for attrition reserve purposes.
In a constantly evolving operational situation, notably the need to counter new enemy tactics, roles change and develop, and equipment requirem ents must reflect these changes . This may impose constraints on operational freedom which will be mitigated by progressive improvements to capability over time and sensible planning by operational commanders (e.g. restrictions on the use of SNATCH Land Rover off-base).
We have consistently improved helicopter capability. The baseline for this has been November 2006, since when we have doubled the number of battlefield helicopters and have seen flying hours increase by 140%. [Note: Only the percentage increases in helicopters and flying hours are made public, for operational security reasons.]
We have achieved this through a combination of increasing the number of aircraft and maximising delivery of capability through efficient logistic support.
There are a number of different helicopters from all the Services deployed in Afghanistan , performing a variety of roles. Chinook, Merlin and Sea King Mk4 helicopters enable the essential movement of men and materiel around the battle space, whilst Lynx helicopters provide the light utility support. The Apache helicopter delivers an attack/armed capability, whilst the Sea King Mk7 contributes to the Information, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) task.
An additional eight helicopters will be delivered to the Chinook Force from the Mk 3 Reversion Programme by D ecember 2010 – the first three of these aircraft have already been delivered for training purposes, and the remaining five will be delivered by the end of 2010. These aircraft will provide resilience within the Chinook Force, enabling the deployment of additional capability to theatre and allowing a greater contribution to vital pre-deployment operational training. In addition, a programme is in place to provide the whole fleet with more powerful T55-714 engines, increasing their ability to operate "hot and high" and improving flight safety.
The installation of up-rated engines to the entire Lynx Mk 9 fleet has allowed these helicopters to operate in Afghanistan during the summer months, providing for the first time a Light Helicopter capability on a year round operational basis.
Whilst we will always be able to use more helicopters, there is a requirement to balance the number of deployed aircraft with the need to sustain their use with the number of aircraft and crews deployed. Our ability to generate sufficient numbers of operationally capable crews and engineers is fundamental to the sustainment of our battlefield helicopter capability and therefore our operations.
22.3 Protected Mobility (PM)
In total, over £1.8Bn has been approved for over 1,800 new Protected Mobility Vehicles for operations since 2006, including MASTIFF, RI D GBACK, JACKAL, a nd Tactical Support Vehicles. Mo D has bought WARTHOG vehicles to replace the VIKING on operations in Afghanistan , providing improved protection to troops; the first vehicles deploy ing from this September for operational use in Afghanistan .
Urgent Operational Requirements (UORs), funded by the Treasury, are providing the in-theatre requirement, the requirement for pre-deployment collective and individual training, and an "attrition reserve" to off-set operational losses, and the situation is improving month-on-month with regard to the delivery of vehicles.
Most recently, the inflow of significant numbers of alternative platforms – SNATCH VIXEN PLUS and HUSKY – has been sufficient for the use of all SNATCH 2A Land Rover and VECTOR vehicles "outside the wire" to cease before the end of April 2010. We are also urgently progressing with delivery of the next generation of Light Protected Patrol Vehicles (LPPV) which will, in due course, succeed SNATCH VIXEN PLUS. Responses to the Invitation to Tender were received from two contenders and Force Protection Europe has been selected as the preferred bidder. . The chosen LPPV will represent leading edge technology, providing the best currently available balance between protection, weight and agility; LPPV has been specifically designed to meet our requirements and will provide unprecedented levels of blast protection for vehicles of this size and weight.
Notwithstanding the progress that has been and continues to be made, no vehicle – not even MASTIFF – is completely invulnerable. All armour can, at some point, be overmatched. We will continue to suffer casualties as a consequence of the ever-evolving threat and the operational demands, not because of shortcomings in protected vehicles. Physical protection necessarily forms only one layer of protection - tactics, te chniques and procedures, such alternative route planning , are also critically important.
22.4 D ismounted Close Combat ( D CC) Equipment
Enhanced Combat Body Armour is still used in transit and on larger, less threatened bases, but everybody in Afghanistan who needs it has a variant of OSPREY body armour. All front-line troops are issued with OSPREY body armour, and Mk 6A helmets. OSPREY ASSAULT and Mark 7 helmets are being issued, and offer advantages in terms of comfort and freedom of movement. But the current OSPREY body armour and Mk 6A helmets provide exactly the same outstanding ballistic protection and is available now – and will continue to be available – to everybody who needs it.
22.5 Counter-Improvised Explosive D evices (C-IE D )
2009 saw a step change in the threat posed by IE D s in Afghanistan , with an unprecedent ed increase in t heir number. In response, the Mo D has invested significant reso urce and effort into countering IE D s. A C-IE D Task Force has been established , manned by a niche of highly motivated and trained personnel, which plays a significant part in developing C-IE D capability, including PM v ehicles and specialist equipment. Among the non-specialist equipment now being fielded are Hand Held Metal D etectors (HHM D s) known as VALLON, which are provided to all UK foot patrol s in Afghanistan . UORs have been approved for more HHMD s, in addition to new robots and remote control vehicles , and Mo D is also investing in new C-IE D facilities for training and intelligence.
The Prime Min ister announced on 10 June 2010 t hat up to a further £67M is to be allocated to the C-IE D campaign. This includes over £40M for more protected vehicles for use by our C-IE D teams in Afghanistan . Funding will also be available – more than £11M – for more Remote Control Vehicles. The remaining funds will be used to enhance other critical capabilities, including enhancements to our military working dog capability.
22.6 Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR)
ISTAR includes air and land capabilities, ranging from manned aircraft and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), for example REAPER and HERMES 450, to base protection (e.g. cameras). We have successfully deployed the RN’s Sea King Airborne Surveillance and Control helicopters and the joint Army/RAF ASTOR system as complementary capabilities to improve ISTAR in theatre. Our UAS capability is improving and a new UAS – WATCHKEEPER – will be introduced later this year to replace HERMES 450. Steady improvements to our ISTAR capability incrementally increase our situational awareness through the collection and dissemination of ISTAR data, a vital element in mitigating the operational threat.
We continue to work with our Allies – principally the US – to ensure that we can share secure information in a timely manner.
22.7 Fast Air Close Air Support (CAS)
Since July 2009 the Fast Air CAS capability has been provided by TORNA D O GR4 aircraft based at Kandahar Air Field (KAF) as part of an international pool of aircraft. Eight TORNA D O GR4s are based at KAF on a permanent basis with an additional two deployed temporarily until 31 October 2010, in response to a request from C ommander ISAF for additional CAS support around the Afghan Parliamentary Elections on 18 September.
CAS aircraft deliver a range of non-kinetic and precise, scalable kinetic effects as well as Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) in direct support to ISAF Forces. The crews are well versed in the rules of engagement and the need to minimise civilian casualties and damage to civilian infrastructure and only operate under control of a qualified Forward Air Controller (FAC) who is normally on the ground embedded with friendly forces.
In many cases a ‘Show of Presence’ or ‘Show of Force’, where the aircraft is flown in an increasingly aggressive manner, is sufficient to disperse insurgents , enabling friendly forces to break contact and reposition. On occasion however, when insurgents can not be dissuaded by non-kinetic means, the aircraft’s own 30mm cannon, BRIMSTONE missiles and/or P AVEWAY Mk IV precision guided bombs can be brought to bear to provide decisive effect.
In the ISR role the Raptor pod is carried and provides high quality imagery rapidly to ground forces; this can be supplemented by imagery from the laser targeting pod that can be linked directly to the FAC and the troops on the ground.
UK aircraft can be tasked with providing support to ISAF troops across Afghanistan , however, their tasks are mainly conducted in the S outh and S outh- W est where UK forces are based. The provision of precise, timely air-delivered effect is often decisive in assisting friendly forces in contact with the insurgents whilst the provision of accurate and relevant ISR product often helps them avoid trouble in the first place.
See also Annex E (Security classified, not publicly available – available to Committee Members at Defence Committee Office)
23. Personnel Harmony
23.1 Harmony Guidelines and Pinch Points
Harmony is a measure of the number of nights individuals spend away from home (separated service) over a given period. H armony guidelines differ between the three services and are given as a ratio of days separated service within a period of so many years. For the RN the ratio is 660 days in a 3 year period (or 61% of the time), for the RAF 280:2 (39%) and the Army 415:2.5 (46%). On occasion, these guidelines are breached.
23.2 Royal Navy Harmony
As RN harmony guidelines permit greater tempo than Army and RAF counterparts, it is less likely that Royal Marine (RM) units or individuals have breached or will brea ch harmony guidelines. However, the tempo of activity for RM units has been higher than Army units currently rotating through HERRICK cycles due to regular amphibious deployments in between HERRICK tours. In general, over the period of operations in Afghanistan , individuals in breach of the harmony guidelines have been very limited and often as a consequence of HERRICK deployments combined with time at sea.
In the RN , the following trades have been identified as ‘pinch points’ which have been subject to a degree of disruption to Harmony.
· Armoured Support Squadron – particularly over the periods HERRICK 5 to HERRICK 9. The pressure has now reduced due to Army ranks taking on the Armoured Support role in theatre.
· Assault Engineers – D irectorate of Naval Personnel ( D NPERS) have increased the trained strength to cope with increased demand.
· Heavy Weapons – D NPERS have increased the trained strength to cope with increased demand.
· Mountain Leaders – lengthy courses (command and specialist) add to the operational separated service bill that has to be carefully managed by D NPERS.
The D irectorate of Naval Personnel is confident these groups have been managed sufficiently. The RN has not breached its harmony guidelines in any great number over the past 3 years and does not expect to do so over the forthcoming 3 years as a consequence of HERRICK deployments.
23.3 Army Harmony
In the Army, in addition to individual harmony guidelines, the impact of extended operational commitments on the Army’s people is als o measured through unit harmony, the target for which is an interval between operational tours of no less than 24 months. D ue to the way in which the different corps deploy their personnel on operations, unit tour interval statistics are maintained only for the Infantry, Royal Armoured Corps (RAC) and Royal Artillery (RA). Given that this is a measure of unit activity, they are not maintained for pinch point trades. A tour interval can be established for the vast majority of units, aside from six of the 14 units in the RA, who deploy at sub-unit strength as part of larger formations rather than at unit strength. Taken across these three Corps, the current average of the most recent tour intervals for individual units is 22 months. This is broken down by Corps, as follows:
· Infantry – The average tour interval is 26 months, with 15 of the 36 Infantry battalions breaching the 24 month guideline.
· RAC – The average tou r interval is 21 months, with five of the 10 units breaching the 24 month guideline.
· RA – For those units where a tour interval can be established, the average is 21 months. Of the 14 units in total (which includes those units for which a tour interval cannot be established); six are breaching the 24 month guideline.
The unit tour interval is in effect only an approximate guide to the impact of the current operational tempo on individuals. The natural flow of personnel through the Army (through recruitment activity, discharges and transfers between units) means that not all those who deploy with a particular unit will deploy again on the next occasion. Moreover, many individuals, even within the Infantry, RAC and RA deploy either as individual augmentees or within sub-units. Such deployments are not, of course, captured by the unit tour interval measure. In addition, not all personnel with a particular unit will deploy on every occasion – at any one time and for a number of reasons a proportion of a unit’s personnel is always listed as "unable to deploy".
Separated service statistics for the Army are collected from a combination of data on the Joint Personnel Administration and Unicom systems. The most recent statistics, as at 1 July 2010, show that 6% of current Trained Strength and 5% of Gurkhas are exceeding the guideline of 415 days in 30 months.
23.4 RAF Harmony
For the RAF, as at 1 July 2010, 97% of personnel had met individual harmony guidelines. In addition, the RAF applies a filter to Individual harmony guideline figures, to include only nights away due to operations or operational training both in the UK and abroad to give an operational harmony guideline of no more than 125 nights away from home in a rolling 20-month period. 88% of personnel met this guideline.
Within the RAF the following trades have been identified as operational ‘pinch points’ which have been subject to a degree of disruption to Harmony:
· Officers – Pilot, Air Traffic Control, Intelligence, RAF Regiment, Medical, Medical Nursing.
· Non-Commissioned Aircrew – Weapons Systems Operator.
· Ground Trades – General Technician (Mechanical), RAF Regiment Gunner, Intelligence Analyst, Intelligence Analyst (Voice), Logisitics (Movements).
Eleven out of the twelve trades / branches have shown improvement in meeting the guidelines. While detailed analysis would be necessary to provide comprehensive reasons for these improvements, it can be suggested that the cessation of Operation TELIC in Iraq has reduced the deployment commitments of the RAF within the 2-year rolling period. The largest breaches are in RAF Regiment and Intelligence trades/branches. Most deployments for RAF Regiment or Intelligence roles are 180 days (6 months) long and require extensive pre-deployment training. Therefore they are more likely to breach harmony guidelines on one deployment, in comparison to other trades/branches whose commitments are usually 120 days (4 months) and require less pre-deployment training.
The overall policy for pre-deployment training is defined and prioritised by the Chief of Joint Operations (CJO) Joint Commanders’ Operational Training Requirement (JCOTR). The broad process for RN (including Royal Marines(RM)) and RAF personnel is set out below. Personnel from both services also receive, as appropriate, the more specialist Afghan-specific training provided to Army personnel and set out at 24.2 and 24.3
24.2 RN (RM) P D T
Royal Marine units are force generated in the same manner as their Army counterparts. Royal Marine units are initially trained under the RN ’s Littoral Manoeuvre training programme before being delivered to Collective Training Level 4 (CT4) at the start of HERRICK P D T (6 months out). The only difference to the above is for Individual Augmentation training for RM and RN ranks. This is conducted by the RN Mobilisation and Mounting Centre (RNMMC). Courses are delivered in accordance with PJHQ Individual P D T Policy and liaison across the RNMMC and Land Forces Operational Training and Advisory Group (OPTAG) is very effective.
24.3 RAF P D T
RAF personnel must maintain currency with their Common Core Skills training, which is conducted at their local Force Protection (RAF Regiment) Training Flight. This involves weapon training, handling and shooting practice; combat first aid; and revision and practice of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN). The RAF has two types of pre-deployment training, as stipulated by PJHQ: Individual and Formed Unit P D T. Individual P D T differs depending on whether personnel may be required to deploy within or outside the confines of a defensive location, the former a 5-day package and the latter a 10-day package to cover more extensive deployment skills. Some personnel may also undertake specific individual pre deployment training for their specialised role. For those deploying as Formed Units (currently only RAF Force Protection Wings and supporting personnel), personnel will complete 6 month mission specific training delivered at the RAF Force Protection Centre by the Operational Training Advisory and Standardisation Squadron.
24.4 Army P D T
Land Forces troops preparing for operations in Afghanistan begin their formal training 24 months before deployment. The revised training cycle, known as the Campaign Formation Operational Readiness Mechanism (C-FORM) has recently been introduced. This consists principally of two sequential element s :
· Hybrid Foundation Training (HFT) – HFT trains individuals, units and formations (force elements) for Hybrid conflict  . For realism and relevance, the training environment is matched as closely as possible to the contemporary operating environment. Force elements use both core equipment and, if available and applicable for a named operation, equipment used currently on operations.
· Mission Specific Training (MST) – MST encompasses both individual and collective training and delivers force elements that are able to operate on a defined operation with defined capabilities. It is conducted predominately using equipment used currently on operations. On completion of MST, force elements are able to operate in a complex, Joint, multi-national and inter-agency environment.
24.5 Counter IE D Training
Pre-deployment training includes general education on different types of IE D s, enemy tactics and what signs soldiers should look out for. Soldiers will also cover in depth the drills used in Afghanistan to ensure that the force is as well protected as possible against the IE D threat. H eadquarters staff are trained on IE D scenarios to ensure that they can provide the most appropriate response available. The level and detail of training provided is dependent on the role of the individual. Every soldier deploying on the ground has an awareness of the threat and can operate a Hand Held Metal D etector. D rills are continued in theatre to ensure that the very latest data and situational awareness is passed on.
24.6 Cultural Awareness Training
All soldiers receive briefings on the culture and people of Afghanistan in order to place military operations in the context of the people the mission is seeking to support. All personnel also receive an introduction to local languages, including the use of basic words and phrases, which are issued on a language card. Commanders receive additional information on relevant aspects of local culture and the effective use of interpreters. Cultural Specialists receive extensive additional training appropriate to their role.
24.7 D evelopment of training to adapt to changing environments
All service personnel deploying to Afghanistan receive theatre-specific training to ensure that they have the skills to carry out their specific role, while maintaining their own safety and contributing to the protection of those around them. Recent work by Land Forces in support of the Permanent Joint Headquarters has seen the development of revised Joint Training Requirements (JTRs) which capture the relevant individual skills. The JTRs are derived from an analysis of which tactical tasks are required in the demanding operating conditions in theatre. They also incorporate best practice identified by training specialists in theatre and an extensive study of the lessons drawn from post-operational reports. The training continues to evolve, driven by the rapidly changing requirements of operations against a determined enemy. The significant increase in C-IE D training in direct response to changing insurgent tactics in theatre is a particularly good example of this.
24. 8 Partnering/Training with other nations
A notable aspect of MST is the participation of foreign forces. This is particularly helpful in replicating the particular dynamics of partnering with the ANSF . In September 2008, an Indian Army company was attached to the Land Warfare Centre Battle Group for a month. The attachment was not only highly successful from a training point of view, but it also generated significant defence diplomacy benefits. Since then foreign forces have been used routinely to replicate our Afghan partnered forces during MST Field Training Exercises (FTXs) ; as indeed have UK based Afghans and member of the ANSF from theatre. So far we have had a Polish company taking part in MST FTXs in January 2010 and July 2010. In the future we will have Jordanian and Latvian companies for January 2011, Omani, Jordanian and Indian companies for July 2011 and Lithuanian and Jordani an companies for January 2012.
24. 9 E quipment availability for training
For the safe and effective operation of new equipment in theatre, personnel need to be trained on it prior to deployment. The availability of equipment for training is therefore given a high priority. Training on or with operational equipment currently begins about 12 months before deployment, with a full training equipment pack being available to troops six months from deployment. Work is ongoing within Land Forces to make more operational equipment available even earlier in the process to increase the amount of time available for soldiers to train on the equipment that they will go on to use on operations. As new equipment programmes deliver, there is an understandable imperative to provide operational units with the new capability. A balance therefore needs to be struck between the quantities available to the front line and the quantities available to units in training. This balance is kept under constant review and is managed and prioritised by Land Forces Equipment D irectorate and the Land Training Fleet.
24.10 Integration into US Marine Corps 2* Headquarters
RC(SW ) is currently being commanded by a US 2 star headquarters and elements of pre-deployment training are therefore being coordinated with US Forces, specifically for the 1* HQ Task Force Helmand. This requirement is being met by a small number of experienced British military personnel travelling to the US in order to support the training of US formations, advise our US allies about British tactics and procedures and develop command relationships. Similarly, the US Army and US Marine Corps have agreed that reciprocal support to British pre-deployment training will be provided, with the costs borne by both nations as appropriate. The types of training that will be supported by British forces are as follows:
· Planning conferences.
· Formation Training Exercises.
· Command Post Exercises.
25 Language Training
The following figures update previous evidence to the Committee on military language training for Op HERRICK. Pashto is predominant in Helmand province, whilst D ari is the official language of the Afghanistan National Army and of governance. Higher level training has increased in response to operational demand. Lower level training has also increased to improve direct communication with both Afghan security forces and the local population, and also to enable the training of approximately 1200 (11.4%) of the deploying force in basic language skills (a one week course). Military language training continues to generate an appropriate volume and balance of capability in theatre from military, contract and Locally Employed Civilian linguists.
26. Personnel Welfare
26.1 Operational Welfare, Rest & Recuperation
Deployed Welfare Package – The Deployed Welfare Package (Overseas) continues to improve, with considerable focus on communications from the operational Theatre to home. Wi-Fi has been provided into the 8 Forward Operating Bases and will be rolled out to other forward areas where possible. The ratio of personnel to satellite handsets has improved from 1:30 to 1:15 and 12 more e-bluey (electronic letter system) machines have been provided to Theatre. In addition, work is in hand to reduce the cost of private telephone minutes (those bought in addition to the allocation) to cost price; this will happen by the end of this year.
The SSAFA Operational Welfare Fund has been established to enable Service personnel to request specific desirable items (above and beyond those provided under the Deployed Welfare Package) to be provided Theatre. The fund has received tremendous public support with a total of just under £39,000 being donated to date. Around £31,000 of it has spent on items such as additional Wii handsets, solar powered lanterns and table tennis tables.
Rest and Recuperation – As announced in July, all Service men and women serving tours in Afghanistan (and on other qualifying deployed operations) for six months or longer will receive two weeks Rest and Recuperation. Where circumstances dictate they cannot take all that Rest and Recuperation during their tour, as occurred, for instance when flights were suspended because of the volcanic ash cloud, personnel will receive additional Post Operational Leave in compensation. We will also increase the resilience of the airbridge and prioritise the needs of those who serve longest – six months or more – in Afghanistan. The best way to achieve this improved resilience is to deploy those posted for short tours for less than 4 months so that they will no longer receive a week’s Rest and Recuperation in the middle of their tour. This will affect a minority of the force, primarily from the RAF, but improved airbridge resilience will significantly benefit the eighty-five percent of the force who are serving on longer tours. Together, these two measures will strengthen our operational effectiveness in Afghanistan and ensure those serving the longest tours receive the Rest and Recuperation they so richly deserve.
Decompression – All personnel who are part of a formed unit normally undertake a period of decompression in Cyprus as they return from operations. Whilst there is no medical evidence to confirm the efficacy of decompression, military judgement is that it is of benefit. As a consequence a trial has been conducted to assess the value and viability of extending decompression to include individual augmentees who do not deploy as part of a formed unit. The findings of the study are currently under review; a decision of any extension will be made later this year.
26.2. Care Planning
Transition Care Planning Protocol - A Transition Care Planning Protocol has been developed between the MoD and the Department of Health, and the appropriate Departments within the each of the Devolved Administrations, to ensure that personnel leaving the Services on medical grounds are provided with continuity of care. The aim is that through early engagement between the MoD and local service providers, the appropriate service providers will have a comprehensive support package in place at the location where the Service person intends to settle. The Protocol is currently being piloted (to end-2010). Once the pilot has been completed and evaluated, the lessons identified will be used to adjust the Protocol as required.
26.3. Post Operational Support / Research Developments
Post-operational support – Post-operational support comprises Decompression in Cyprus, a period of Normalisation in the UK, followed by In-Service support for those that require it. Aftercare arrangements are made for personnel leaving the Armed Forces with known mental health difficulties. The Defence Medical Services have a comprehensive, occupationally focussed community mental health service, supported by contracts with NHS Trusts to provide inpatient care.
Research programme – A vigorous program of research has been undertaken over the last 15 years, spearheaded by the Kings Centre of Military Health Research, which contains the Academic Centre for Defence Mental Health. Much good quality data on mental health issues has arisen out of various large cohort studies, as well as two studies undertaken in operational theatres (Iraq in 2009 and Afghanistan in 2010).
27. Operational Support (Health)
Defence Medical Services is responsible for delivering and sustaining a deployed medical system, within an ISAF framework, configured to provide optimal consultant delivered care to UK Forces, other ISAF troops in the UK Area of Responsibility, and consultant delivered emergency care to ANSF and Local Civilians, in accordance with ISAF medical eligibility criteria, and in support of the UK’s strategic end state of a stable and secure Afghanistan.
The medical mission is co-ordinated by a medical cell within the UK Joint Force Support HQ in Bastion delegating healthcare provision to specific units. The HQ of the Field Hospital in Bastion provides governance oversight and material support to the UK Medical Emergency Response Teams (MERT) and the hospital, whilst the Medical Regiment provides the primary health care, pre-hospital emergency care and force protection advice to the deployed force. The rotary wing aero-medical provision operates across southern Afghanistan (with US counterparts) and final tasking authority is through ISAF HQ.
The entire medical group has continued to evolve to reflect the changes in the operating environment. Due to the increasingly advanced trauma care it can provide, the hospital now has a dedicated Commanding Officer (CO). Close Support has increased to meet the growing demand for forward based medical personnel embedded on patrols, the requirement for additional environmental health teams to reinforce health protection in patrol bases and Medical Officers in support to UK detention facilities. In recognition of this increased role, the Close Support medical capability now has its own co-ordinating CO.
Capacity at the Field Hospital in Bastion has been increased to meet the needs of the deployed UK force with the increase in numbers of ISAF and ANSF forces having surged into Helmand during 2009/10 and the commensurate rise in operational tempo. The operational medical framework is continually monitored to ensure that sufficient capability / capacity is maintained, specifically reflecting both changes in casualty numbers and wounding patterns.
27.2 Aeromedical Evacuation
The RAF Medical Services are tasked to provide the timely and rapid evacuation of patients from point of wounding to appropriate care in the UK. This is achieved whilst maintaining the highest standards of intensive care, clinical care and ongoing treatment whilst in transit.
Aeromedical evacuation is a priority activity that places significant demands on the RAF’s air transport fleet. Routine flights are used whenever possible and if the clinical condition of the patient allows, specialist flights are provided if required.
27.3 Disease and Non-Battle Injuries (DNBI)
While disease and non-battle injuries rates in Afghanistan have fluctuated in recent years, the levels continue to fall within the norm for operations and peacetime duties. (2009 NAO Report Illness and Injury on Operations).’ We continue to work to refine our understanding of the underlying causes and to drive rates further downwards. The 2010 second Force Protection audit report is due in October 2010. An interim action matrix has been produced to enable immediate action to be taken with regard to issues identified earlier.
27.4 Manning and International Aspects
The current operational tempo continues to challenge manning with delivery of capability sustained by contributions from regular forces, Volunteer Reserves, and use of NHS Support to Operations and contractors. The use of NHS personnel has proven to be a useful addition providing small numbers of niche specialities flexibly that either do not exist within the military (paediatric nursing) or are in short supply (Intensive Care Nurses).
The UK will continue to lead the Role 3 Medical Treatment Facility at Camp Bastion setting the standards of care and governance practices within the hospital on behalf of ISAF. Following the successful deployment of a Danish Field Hospital in 2009; coalition support has been sustained. The US continues its commitment currently providing 55 personnel, a significant component of the hospital. During 2011 / 2012 on two separate tours the Role 3 will also be augmented by an Estonian Surgical Team demonstrating the UK’s commitment to Coalition and wider NATO medical development and integration.
27.5 In-Theatre Capability Enhancements
There are ongoing developments in the level of care on operations, contributing to increased survival and improved long-term morbidity rates. The following are exemplars of enhancement:
· The introduction of novel haemostatic (bleeding control) techniques to the front line is saving lives in the critical first few minutes, with regular updates of equipment as it evolves;
· The UK MERT, continues to deliver critical consultant led emergency care to the front line;
· Advances in resuscitation and blood transfusion, consequent upon Defence research;
· Allows maintenance of critical life support in readiness for surgery – ongoing research effort continues to refine these capabilities;
· Integration of Consultant led Emergency Medicine, Anaesthetic and Surgical teams on arrival at the Role 3;
· The deployment of advanced diagnostic capabilities, to a level never before deployed brings emergency care ever closer to that available in a major trauma centre; and,
· Two additional new CT scanners.
27.6 Royal Centre for Defence Medicine / Queen Elizabeth Hospital
The new Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB) opened its doors on 16 June 2010. The transfer of services is staged over six phases; the military ward capability transferred as part of Phase 1 and is fully operational. The military ward provides care for Service personnel in single or four bedded rooms further instilling the military ethos within the establishment. The QEHB has the UK’s largest single floor critical care unit consisting of 100 beds. As part of the switchover the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine (RCDM) Clinical Unit HQ will transfer to the new hospital in October 2010.
Leading edge care for the most complex and challenging polytrauma has been an enduring feature of the current campaign with a requirement for proven capacity to respond to an increase in casualty numbers. The treatment of these highly complex cases has afforded QEBH a level of experience and expertise that is unique in the UK. Much of this is due to changes in medical doctrine, informed by academic work at RCDM.
27.7 Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre, Headley Court
The numbers and complexity of trauma survivors with amputations continues to rise. This has resulted in a requirement to increase staff numbers overall at DMRC including within the DMRC prosthetics department, and in the physical space required to support the prosthetics unit; this has required urgent estate works.
Over the last 6 months there has been an organisational change in the way specialist teams are configured to deliver care, with the patient going to a single therapy area to receive care from their assigned multidisciplinary team. At the end of August 10, a new ward was handed over accompanied by a new dining facility for the trauma cohort. The in patient bed capacity at DMRC will now have 96 established beds with access to 15 step-down beds within Wood House.
Modelling is currently being undertaken at DMRC and the Defence Analytical Services Agency (DASA) to predict future bed capacity for trauma rehabilitation. The DMRC gait and physiological research facility continues to develop with the Clinical Area Development (CAD) the next highest priority. This project is being planned and is intended to include a purpose built accommodation block for delivery of ward based care to current standards of health, safety and infection control.
27.8 Mental Health Support
All deployed personnel undergo pre-operational stress briefing. In theatre psychological-education is delivered on arrival and throughout deployment the TRiM system  provides individuals with early support following traumatic events. A Force Mental Health Team consisting of three mental health nurses provides in-theatre mental health assessments and mental health liaison in forward areas. A Consultant Psychiatrist visits every three months, providing oversight and support.
28. Communications Strategy
28.1 Cross-Government Approach
The UK’s current Afghanistan Communications Strategy, approved by the previous government in October 2009 and now in the process of being revised, sets four communications objectives to:
· increase UK public support for the mission in Afghanistan;
· improve the capacity of the Afghan government and media to communicate with the Afghan public, and vice versa;
· maintain and demonstrate the unity of the international coalition; and to
· increase understanding of the links between the Afghanistan mission and counter terrorism in Pakistan as part of a regional strategy.
HM Government aims to achieve this through a cross-governmental approach which co-ordinates Departmental effort and ensures all activities are consistent with the overall strategic narrative. The PUS of Government Communications chairs a weekly meeting of Communication Directors and officials from key departments. Day to day co-ordination at working level is led by the Cross-Government Afghan Communications Team (ACT), based in the FCO and reporting to Number Ten. A weekly meeting of the Afghan Information Strategy Group brings together officials from the ACT, FCO, MoD, DfID, Stabilisation Unit, British Embassy Kabul, Provincial Reconstruction Team Lashkar Gah and the UK Delegation to NATO to discuss current issues.
Communication activities include regular media briefings by Ministers, a programme of Cross-Government briefings, a media embed programme to Helmand, quarterly meetings with key interest groups including NGOs and Parliament and the Afghan diaspora, digital diplomacy (websites, Twitter Q&A), outreach events, seminars, debates and visits. Specific activities are also carried out around significant events, such as the London Conference and Kabul Conference in January and July 2010 respectively, significant military operations, and Afghan Presidential and Parliamentary elections.
The UK public remains supportive of UK Forces involvement in Afghanistan (source: MoD polling), but less supportive of overall UK involvement (source: various polling). Opposition has grown over recent years at the same time as a reduced perception of progress. Media focus on the security challenge and continuing British casualties in the fight against the insurgency continues to impact upon public opinion on the international campaign.
28.2 MoD Communications Strategy
The MoD has a detailed Communications Strategy. This strategy is an integral part of the UK cross-Government approach to communicating on Afghanistan planning led by ACT and complimentary to and co-ordinated with NATO and ISAF communication plans Detailed subordinate communication delivery plans for specific topics direct and co-ordinate all communications activity across Defence.
Within this delivery framework, the MoD stresses the importance of:
· coherence and consistency of all MoD communications;
· the need for integration with all elements of the campaign; especially making communications an integral part of operational planning; and,
· the importance of proactive planning and delivery of communications effects across the full spectrum of media and communications channels; including the exploitation of new and social media.
· wider media and communications focus; includes growing emphasis on ensuring that messaging resonates with Afghan audiences and that our media and communications activity is not focused exclusively on UK domestic audiences.
The Directorate of Media and Communications (DMC) leads the management and co-ordination of MoD’s departmental communications on Afghanistan through a network of military and civilian Press Officers in London, PJHQ and on the ground in Afghanistan. DMC are also the Department’s lead on cross-Government engagement on communications issues.
29. Lessons Learned
Every 6 months, the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff proposes to Chiefs of Staff potential subjects for Audit, producing an endorsed Defence Operations Centre (DOC) programme of work; this can be adjusted if higher priorities emerge. DOC must also maintain an awareness of emerging topics to allow a dynamic response to ‘targets of opportunity’. The output of this process falls into one of 3 main categories:
· The Operational Audit Report – An independent assessment of capability produced in consultation with the associated Chain of Command and key Force Elements. It is not a consensus report. Examples of recent Operational Audits include: ‘CIMIC’; ‘Air-Land Integration; ‘ISTAR’; ‘UK Operations Command and Control’; ‘Carrier Strike’; ‘United Kingdom Special Forces’.
· The Operational Lessons Report – When a joint operation is mounted, Vice Chief Defence Staff (VCDS), Deputy Chief Defence Staff (Operations) (DCDS(Ops)) and Chief of Joint Operations (CJO) determine if a DOC Lessons Report is required to encapsulate the strategic lessons identified from various areas of the operation. Examples of recent Operational Lessons Reports include: ‘Operation HIGHBROW’; ‘Operation MONOGRAM’; ‘Operation HERRICK Volume 2’.
· Other work – DOC will produce individual briefs on particular topics for the Defence Secretary, Minister for the Armed Forces and the Defence Board on demand and may also be called on to answer Parliamentary Questions.
29.2. The DOC Audit and Lessons Report – Process Outline
The DOC Audit and Lesson Report process has five distinct phases: Preparation; Initial Data Gathering; Interviews and Evidence Gathering; Report Writing and Staffing; Implementation, Monitoring and Reporting:
· Preparation: The lead DOC Staff Officer scopes the subject to assess the main areas for the report by analysis of current policy papers, doctrine and previous reports if available; appropriate desk-level liaison throughout Defence is also undertaken. DOC may also canvass opinion from key 1*/2* stakeholders for their assessment of areas that may warrant investigation. The output will be a set of VCDS endorsed Terms of Reference.
· Initial Data Gathering: DOC will ask key stakeholders for their written assessment of the ‘Top five’ issues affecting their organisation for the capability under audit. This should include an assessment of any areas of risk and its impact, as well as detailing any action plans already in place, or problems that are preventing resolution. This ‘Top five’ will form the basis of the DOC interviews.
· DOC Interviews: The DOC interview consists of an informal interview with the Principal to explore the issues highlighted in the ‘Top five’, as well as seeking opinions on areas that may have been raised by other returns or previous interviews. Whilst DOC must be able to justify any observations or findings, interviewees are assured confidentiality to ensure as frank and open a discussion as possible.
· Report Writing and Staffing: Once the main interviews are complete, the Report is drafted and issued for comment to the Chain of Command and a 1* Reference Group (1*RG) is convened. Each member of the 1*RG is responsible for drawing together comments from their sphere of responsibility, including from their Chain of Command. Factual inaccuracies will be corrected, but DOC reserves the right to decide on the inclusion of any matters of opinion or judgement. The final report is forwarded to VCDS two weeks prior to the report being circulated to the Chiefs of Staff (COS). COS receive their copy two weeks prior to the committee meeting, circulated by COS Secretariat (COSSEC), providing an opportunity for the single Service Chiefs to be made aware of the key issues. The recommendations and lessons from the report are refined if necessary, and once amendments made, COSSEC will distribute the report and DOC passes it to the Joint Lessons Cell for inclusion in DLIMS.
· Implementation, Monitoring and Reporting: COS-endorsed Recommendations and Lessons are implemented, monitored and reported within Defence by means of a ‘follow-up’ process which is common to both Audit and Operational Lessons Reports. The first stage of this process occurs at the 1*RG (described above) where appropriate personnel are nominated to staff and implement each Recommendation or Lesson.
Relevant Studies and Audits
Operational lessons studies have been conducted into the following operations in Afghanistan:
· Op VERITAS – UK contribution to Operation Enduring Freedom – 2001-4.
· Op ORACLE – Maritime & Air Interdiction 2001.
· Op FINGAL – UK contribution to ISAF – 2002.
· Op JACANA – 45 Commando Battle-group deployment – 2002.
· Op TARROCK – UK Mil contribution to PRT 2003-2004.
· Op HERRICK Vol 1 (Prelim Ops, Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) deployment to HQ ISAF & initial deployment to Helmand – 2005-2006).
· Op HERRICK Vol 2 (Op HERRICKS 4 and 5 - 2006-2007).
The following Operational Audits (amongst others) have reference to operations in
· 02/03 Air Transport.
· 04/01 Defence Language Capability.
· 04/02 Mounting of Operations.
· 05/05 Information Operations.
· 05/06 Counter Terrorism.
· 05/07 Logistics Command and Control.
· 06/04 Civil Military Co-operation.
· 07/01 Protection of the Deployed Force.
· 07/04 Prisoner Detention and Tactical Questioning.
· 07/05 Air Land Integration.
· 09/01 UK Special Forces.
After conducting work in other areas for over a three year period, DOC is currently working on an Operation HERRICK Volume 3 Lessons Study (April 2007 – October 2009). This work has aimed at the strategic level and attempts to include all the relevant reviews and studies that have resulted in changes during the period.
See also Annex F (Security classified, not publicly available – available to Committee Members at Defence Committee Office)
30 September 2010
 that which is characterised by adversaries (conventional, irregular and terrorist) who employ a blend of traditional and irregular tactics using both simple and sophisticated technologies in innovative ways, decentralised planning and execution conducted amongst and about the people.
 TRiM = Trauma Risk Management, a peer delivered risk assessment at 3 and 28 days following traumatic events, aiming to detect problems early, signpost personnel at risk to medical services and address stigma.
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