Saturday, May 5, 2007

Creating Permanent Foreign Military Training & Advisory Units

Westhawk offers an excellent idea in his commentary on the Phil Carter/Austin Bay discussion:

The U.S. Army and Marines Corps have had to improvise a large foreign military training and advisory structure in Iraq and Afghanistan and have had to reorganize and cannibalize some of their conventional formations to do this. This work was previously the specialty of the special operating forces. But those forces are instead taken up with special reconnaissance and raid missions worldwide. Even though the advisory team effort is the only sure exit strategy from these wars, the effort received only secondary support from the Pentagon. And being an improvised effort, it is certain that advisory team members were lacking in language and cultural skills in a region where trusting relationships are very difficult to establish.

Instead of Mr. Carter’s vast new armies of unusable and untrainable mechanized infantry and armored battalions, the U.S. military needs a new permanent foreign military training and advisory establishment. The structure that has been improvised in Iraq and Afghanistan should be made permanent and transformed into a global capability. These U.S. advisor teams would get the language, culture, and training skills, but would leave the special ops qualification courses, the special patrolling and raiding skills to the special operators. A full tour in a foreign military training and advisor team should be required for promotion to first/master sergeant (E-8) and lieutenant colonel (O-5).

There is nothing about the advisory mission that requires that the advisors be Special Forces qualified. Our need for advisors far exceeds what SF can provide, not only, as we have seen, in Iraq and Afghanistan but also throughout the world. Institutionalizing the advisory mission and adding advisory service as a promotion requirement needs to be part of any reform program to ensure that our military is capable of meeting 21st century challenges.

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