NATO hosts review of Afghan defence education programme

  • 18 Feb. 2018 - 22 Feb. 2018
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  • Last updated: 06 Mar. 2018 16:53

A group of high-level experts gathered at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium to conduct a review of the Defence Education Enhancement Programme (DEEP) Afghanistan from 19 to 22 February 2018. Programme reviews are held on an annual basis to take stock of progress achieved, address challenges faced, and set objectives for the future.

Hosted by the NATO Political Affairs and Security Policy Division, participants included Mr Mirwais Farahi, Chief of Staff of the Administrative Office of President Ghani, Major General Jamaludin Saied, Deputy Assistant Minister of Defence, Personnel and Education,  Major General Jalander Shah Behnam, Commandant of the Marshal Fahim National Defense University (MFNDU) and his Deputy, Colonel Najiburahman Sabawoon.  Representatives from NATO Resolute Support Mission, as well as from the Afghan Mission to NATO also took part.   

The review benefited from the expertise of academics from NATO countries who led DEEP efforts in support of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), including Romania (Carol I National Defence University), Slovakia (Armed Forces Academy of General Milan Ratislav Štefánik) and the United States (US Army War College).

Developing educational institutions

Launched in 2010, DEEP Afghanistan aims to foster close relations with the MFNDU, under the auspices of the Afghan Ministry of Defence (MOD). This close cooperation will be enhanced and expanded from mid-2018 with the raising of the United Training Education and Doctrine Command that will bring all Afghan training institutions under a single, unified command. Ongoing cooperation between NATO and Afghanistan is extensive and comprises various aspects related to education and training. In the framework of DEEP, the Alliance advises Afghanistan on how to build, develop and reform educational institutions in the defence and military domain in the form of peer-to-peer conversation. NATO is also helping the country to develop curricula (”what to teach”) and faculty development (“how to teach”).

All these actions are taking place under President Ghani’s four-year Roadmap to establish sustainable and capable national armed forces in Afghanistan, able to maintain peace and security.

DEEP Afghanistan is also helping the country with the creation of education and development policy and programmes to the civilians within the MOD and the security and defence sector.  Civilian-military relations and civilian oversight are dependent upon developing a core of competent and ethical civilian national security professionals.  Hundreds of civilians, including women, now work in the Afghan MOD, offering a potential new opportunity and a logical next step for the programme as it focuses its energy and resources.

“This review is timely in devising future cooperation. The maturation of the NATO-Afghanistan relationship regarding PME sets the stage for the ANSF to continue building capacity, contributing directly to shaping the future of the Afghan armed forces and the stability of the country,” said the DEEP Afghanistan Academic Co-lead, Dr Stan Anton from the Carol I National Defence University. “Education is a long-term investment focused on the human capital,” he added.

Building capacity

Through the DEEP effort, NATO and Afghanistan provide a platform for building national capabilities and strengthening the Afghan professional military education (PME) institutions, focusing on higher-level interactions, professional development and strategic discourse.  

The year 2018 is assessed as a critical one for DEEP Afghanistan. With support from this Programme, the Afghan Military Academy and all related institutions have assumed a lot of responsibility for their institutional, faculty and curriculum development. But more needs to be done,” stressed Ms Frédérique Jacquemin, NATO Senior Programme Manager DEEP Afghanistan. “Under DEEP, we must cement Afghan self-sustainability in achieving their Professional Military Education objectives and to address effectively the civilian part of the security and defence,” she explained.

DEEPs are tailored programmes through which the Alliance advises partners on how to build, develop and reform educational institutions in the security, defence and military domain. Projects are currently running in 12 countries: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mauritania, the Republic of Moldova, Serbia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia1, Tunisia and Ukraine.

  1. Turkey recognises the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.