Monday, March 1, 2010

I know this whole standing-up-a-foreign-security-force thing ain't an overnight deal, but...

...this has got to be just about the funniest bureaucra-speak I've ever come across around the military (and that's saying a lot):

The Marines are moving to boost Afghan training by emphasizing combat leadership among the enlisted ranks and more accurate use of M-16s. The project goes by the acronym TLSR: Transition of Leading Security Responsibility.

"There is plenty of room to improve marksmanship training," said Col. Burke Whitman, the Marines' liaison to the Afghan army and police. "Our biggest focus of training is shooting skill."

Don't get me wrong, I'm not laughing about the necessity for marksmanship training. I just think it's hilarious to imagine shooting lessons as the first step in a rather grandiloquently titled process of Transition of Leading Security Responsibility. "Once they know how to shoot, they'll definitely be ready to take the lead. At least, that's what the general and ISAF PAO told me to say."

What's perhaps even more funny (or at least ironic) is that this clip comes from an article touting improvements in ANSF performance during the Marja offensive.

The Afghan troops who supported the U.S. Marines in the battle to end Taliban control of this town in Helmand province showed marked improvement over last summer's performance in a similar fight but still need much more training, Marine commanders say.

Brig. Gen. Larry Nicholson, the top Marine here, said that overall the Afghan battalions exceeded his expectations. Nicholson said he would give some Afghan units an A-minus or B-plus but that others, particularly those with soldiers fresh from basic training, would get a C-minus or D.

C.J. Chivers' latest dispatch suggests that the ANSF he's been exposed to trend towards the latter ratings:

The Afghan soldiers who accompanied Company C, [one Marine officer] said, had looted the 84-booth Semitay Bazaar immediately after the Marines swept through and secured it. Then the Afghan soldiers refused to stand post in defensive bunkers, or to fill sandbags as the Americans, sometimes under fire, hardened their joint outpost. Instead, they spent much of their time walking in the bazaar, smoking hashish.

Company K had stories of its own. As its own Marines stumbled wearily across friendly lines, much of the Afghan platoon that worked with them was straggling behind, unable to keep pace.

Step 1 in Transition of Leading Security Responsibility (TLSR): teach ANSF to shoot.
Step 2 in TLSR: teach ANSF to respect human rights, not violate the law, not get high on duty, and to behave as a professional fighting force
Step 3 in TLSR: Transition Leading Security Responsibility!
Step 4 in TLSR: PROFIT!!!

4 comments:

  1. Come on Gulliver, step your internet game up.

    It should be:

    Step 1 in Transition of Leading Security Responsibility (TLSR): teach ANSF to shoot.
    Step 2 in TLSR: teach ANSF to respect human rights, not violate the law, not get high on duty, and to behave as a professional fighting force
    Step 3 in TLSR: Transition Leading Security Responsibility!
    Step 4 in TLSR: ???
    Step 5 in TLSR: PROFIT!!!

    How could you forget the "???"?!

    -Deus Ex

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  2. And even that step 1 may take some time...

    Chivers again:

    " Moreover, in multiple firefights in which Times journalists were present, many Afghan soldiers did not aim — they pointed their American-issued M-16 rifles in the rough direction of the incoming small-arms fire and pulled their triggers without putting rifle sights to their eyes. Their rifle muzzles were often elevated several degrees high.

    Shouts from the Marines were common. “What you shooting at, Hoss?” one yelled during a long battle on the second day, as an Afghan pulled the trigger repeatedly and nonchalantly at nothing that was visible to anyone else."

    (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/21/world/asia/21afghan.html?scp=1&sq=marja%20ana%20shooting&st=cse)

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  3. Deus Ex -- I know I left out the "????" step, but it seems to me that the Marine Corps has it all figured out. There is no mystery step. Teach marksmanship, transfer leading security responsibility, and profit, just like 1, 2, 3!

    Alma -- I remember reading that article last week. Awesome. (Except not.)

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  4. TLSR ("Transition to Lead Security Responsibility") isn't a Marine phrase. It's been around ISAF for at least a couple years. TLSR is when a district or a province has an Afghan force, mentored or unmentored, as its battlespace manager and is not part of an ISAF unit's overlapping AOR. It's the end-state. The thing Obama said had to be achieved, somewhere in the country, by 2011. And obviously, if we're still working on basic marksmanship, there's a ways to go, at least in Helmand. But TLSR isn't going to happen in the heavy-fighting areas like Helmand for years anyway. So long as there's Marines there in other than an ETT role, you haven't TLSR'd.

    ReplyDelete