Afghanistan Unit Takes on New Mission, Name
By Lt. Col. Frederick Rice, USA
American Forces Press Service
KABUL, Afghanistan, July 13, 2005 The Office of Military Cooperation Afghanistan was focused on the task of rebuilding the Afghan National Army for its three years of existence.
U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Karl W. Eikenberry, left, commander of Combined Forces Command Afghanistan, and U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. John T. Brennan, chief of the Office of Security Cooperation Afghanistan, unfurl the new OSCA colors during the OSCA unit reorganization ceremony July 12. Photo by Staff Sgt. Victoria Meyer, USAF
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
In a ceremony at Camp Eggers on July 12, that focus was expanded as that office changed its name to the Office of Security Cooperation Afghanistan and officially assumed responsibility for the U.S. role in reforming the Afghan National Police force.
The new organization's responsibilities encompass the entire Afghan security sector, providing U.S. support to the German-led Afghan National Police Reform program in addition to its ongoing mission of reforming the ANA.
U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Karl W. Eikenberry, head of Combined Forces Command Afghanistan, OSCA's parent unit, and U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. John T. Brennan, chief of OSCA, presided over the ceremony that included the presentation of a new OSCA guidon.
"Today's ceremony and the creation of the Office of Security Cooperation Afghanistan mark the commitment of the United States to this program, and to the continued development of a safe, secure and prosperous Afghanistan," said Eikenberry, who served as chief of OMCA in 2002 and 2003.
Also attending were guests from the governments of the United States, Afghanistan and numerous coalition nations. Among them were U.S. Charge d'Affairs Maureen Quinn, Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak and Afghan Interior Minister Ali Ahmad Jalali. Ambassador Rudolf Schmidt, the German special representative for Afghan Security Sector Reform, represented the police reform program's lead nation at the ceremony.
Under the guidance of OMCA, the ANA steadily increased in capability, professionalism and size, reaching a current strength of more than 24,300 trained and equipped soldiers, with another 6,000 in training.
The old office's accomplishments with ANA reform made the unit a perfect choice to take on the U.S. role for ANP reform. "The level of effort exerted on the ANA and the success of the program have earned us the honor of working with the Germans, the international community and the Afghan Ministry of the Interior in trying to produce those same results with the Afghan National Police program," said Brennan, OMCA's chief since February.
British Army Col. Mark van der Lande, Brennan's chief of staff, added that OSCA brings "the experience of institutional reform from its work in rebuilding the Afghan defense sector. Lessons learned from that experience will be applied to support the police program."
Addressing the ceremony attendees, Quinn stressed the importance of expanded role of the new OSCA. "This command is crucial to the future success of Afghanistan," she said. "The Afghanistan reconstruction effort and transfer to democracy is inextricably linked to security. Our ability to further develop the ANA's capabilities, combined with an accelerated program to train an effective, reliable police force, will have a direct impact on democracy and reconstruction in Afghanistan."
Jalali noted that the ceremony marked a renewed emphasis and greater commitment by the international community to the reform of the Afghan police.
"With Germany as the lead nation and the substantial commitment of the United States in both personnel and resources, we will be able to accelerate our efforts to provide the people of Afghanistan a stable rule of law," he said.
Before the redesignation ceremony, Wardak's Defense Ministry received OMCA's full attention as it focused on rebuilding the Afghan National Army. Wardak, however, is confident that OSCA's expanded role with the Afghan National Police will complement the ANA's development and lead to a better future for the people of Afghanistan.
"OSCA is committing itself to a new responsibility, a new job, but with the same final objectives and a much better prospect of achieving them," said Wardak. "Today we are marking a new phase -- a stepping stone toward expediting the process of peace, security, stability and the rule of law for Afghanistan."
(Army Lt. Col. Frederick Rice is Office of Security Cooperation Afghanistan Public Affairs Officer.)