American Forces Press Service
Nov. 10, 2008 - After six months of planning, Afghan National Army officials, in conjunction with Combined Security Transition Command Afghanistan and International Security, put into action their combined efforts for the ANA's first six-day command post exercise, or CPX, at the Ministry of Defense compound here, beginning Nov 1.
U.S. Army Maj. Paul Berquist, a strategic planner from CSTC-A's planning directorate, said every good army conducts a CPX to improve its operational capabilities.
"The real positive outcome of this CPX was that the Afghans came to the realization of how each of their individual efforts complemented each other," Berquist said.
Staging various tactical scenarios for ANA officials enabled various components such as the medical, logistics and personnel departments to work closely together in a tight, fast-paced work environment. Berquist said areas of emphasis included counter-insurgency training, humanitarian assistance, information operations and coordinating with the Afghan National Police.
"One of our expectations of this CPX is the scenarios used will lead the Afghans to use what they learned in their day-to-day operations," he said. "The next CPX will be conducted in six months."
CSTC-A's commanding general, Army Maj. Gen. Robert W. Cone, said the ANA is a growing force. Current numbers in its kandaks, equivalent to U.S. battalions, are at 67,000 soldiers, up 26,000 from last year; however, these numbers will increase to 134,000 by 2010, Cone said. In the past year, the Afghan security forces have assumed a leading role in the protection of their homeland, with 62 percent of the fighting against insurgents being led by the ANA, with coalition forces acting in a supporting capacity, the general said.
During his closing remarks at the CPX, Cone told the participating members that their work had shown great promise.
"I am tremendously impressed by the Afghan National Army's ability to undertake this complicated command post exercise. It has been truly impressive in every respect," Cone said. "The ANA's abilities are growing, and will make a tremendous impact on the Afghan people. In my heart, I know the Afghan soldiers will fight and do magnificently."
(From a U.S. Forces Afghanistan news release.)