Report | March 31, 2015

Summary of Lessons Learned "DoD IG Assessment Oversight of "Train, Advise, Assist, and Equip" Operations by U.S. and Coalition Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan



The overall objective of this project was to provide DoD military commanders and other stakeholders responsible for Operation Inherent Resolve a summary of lessons learned gleaned from DoD IG assessment oversight of U.S. and Coalition “Train, Advise, Assist, and Equip” efforts during Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.  We reviewed 30 assessment reports issued by the DoD IG between July 2008 and January 2015.  These reports contained 342 observations related to U.S. and Coalition efforts to develop the national security forces of Iraq and Afghanistan.  

Lessons Learned

In our summary project, we sought lessons learned that might apply to future contingency operations as well as to Operation Inherent Resolve.  Based on our review, we identified five systemic challenges and problem areas, with related lessons learned, in the U.S. and Coalition efforts to develop partner nation security forces, such as those of Iraq and Afghanistan.  

Training and Equipping of Partner Nation Security Forces and Ministries

Training and Organization of Security Ministries 

  • Develop security ministries’ support capabilities to include planning, programming, budgeting, and execution. 
  • Build ministerial capacity for efficient and accountable resource management.

Training and Equipping of Security Forces

  • Train and equip security forces to counter actual and potential enemy threats to forces, civilians, and government stability.
  • Develop combat enabler capabilities concurrently with basic security force unit formation.
  • Ensure all maintenance and supply-related contracts contain training for partner nation security force mechanics, supply technicians, and logistics managers.

Command and Control

  • Identify impediments to the development of partner nation command and control capability for security forces.
  • Provide the partner nation with command and control technology and equipment that can be used and sustained locally.

Advisory Assistance in Support of Partner Nation Security Forces and Ministries

U.S. and Coalition Advisors/Mentors/Trainers

  • Establish consistent staffing requirements, advisor standards and performance metrics, and clearly defined advisor objectives.
  • Revise U.S. Military Service personnel caveats to allow advisors to be reassigned by in country commanders.
  • Adequately staff and train Coalition advisors for their specific advisory position and ensure advisors have required subject matter expertise and experience.

Leader Development

  • Ensure partner nation security forces establish a merit-based personnel system to enhance the development of a core group of competent officer and noncommissioned officer leaders.
  • Define the roles and responsibilities of the noncommissioned officer corps, and gain support for their effective use among commanders and general officers.

Personnel Management

  • Ensure security force personnel consistently receive their pay.  

Medical System Development  

  • Focus on point-of-injury care for security force personnel.
  • Develop adequate partner nation casualty evacuation capacity by land and air.
  • Develop security force medical capability and reduce over-reliance on U.S.-funded and purchased pharmaceuticals and supplies.

Logistics Development and Sustainment

Partner Nation Logistical System Development  

  • Develop a single, integrated plan to coordinate the multiple security force logistics development initiatives.
  • Develop logistical and sustainment capability concurrent with the buildup of operational forces.
  • Develop logistical processes and procedures that can be flexible and responsive to the supply requirements of fielded security forces.
  • Develop a demand-driven supply system and limit U.S. and Coalition forces “push” of materiel resupply.
  • Ensure U.S. and Coalition commands have a sufficient number of properly trained logistics advisors to provide mid- to senior-level national force officers with adequate and timely training and orientation in essential logistical management skills.

Accountability and Control of U.S.-Supplied Equipment

Policy, Processes, and Procedures for U.S.-Supplied Equipment and Supplies

  • Develop and enforce applicable partner nation policy, processes, and procedures for the accountability of sensitive equipment.

Inventory Management for U.S.-Supplied Equipment

  • Ensure U.S. and partner nation security forces maintain a chain of custody for U.S.- and Coalition supplied equipment.
  • U.S. forces must coordinate and conduct required end use monitoring inspections for sensitive equipment items supplied.
  • Develop a professional culture of accountability and control for military equipment and supplies within the partner nation security forces.
  • Advise the partner nation security forces regarding development of a system of policy and guidance for oversight of sensitive equipment items.

U.S. Contract Management

U.S. Contractor Actions with Respect to Campaign Plan Accomplishment  

  • Ensure contracting requirements and performance support are adjusted to meet U.S. strategic and operational objectives.

Contract Oversight  

  • Ensure sufficient numbers of trained and qualified U.S. contracting personnel deploy to provide adequate contract oversight.
  • Develop, implement, and consistently execute quality assurance surveillance plans regarding contract execution.

Combatting Trafficking in Persons  

  • Include mandated combatting trafficking in persons clauses in support contracts and direct periodic inspections to ensure compliance.