Afghanistan National Army (ANA)
Overview | Training Structure | Organization and Authority | Recruiting and Training | Equipping the Force | Funding the Force | Future Funding
The Afghan National Army (ANA) is divided into five combat Corps. The Corps function as regional commands and are deployed throughout the country. In addition to the 201st Corps in Kabul, the 203rd Corps is based in Gardez; the 205th Corps is based in Kandahar; the 207th Corps is based in Herat; the 209th Corps is based in Mazar-e-Sharif. The kandak, or battalion, of 600 troops is the basic unit of the ANA. Most kandaks are infantry units. As of April 2009, there were roughly 80,000 soldiers in the ANA.1
The U.S. with the help of international partners including the U.K, France, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, Romania, Bulgaria and Mongolia are tasked with creating a functional Afghan National Army. The Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan (CSTC-A) has the primary responsibility for training and mentoring of the ANA while formal training courses are administered at the Kabul Military Training Center (KMTC), National Military Academy of Afghanistan (NMAA), or Command and General Staff College (CGSC).
While CSTC-A has primary responsibility for managing the training and mentoring of all ANA forces, CJTF-Phoenix, under the CSTC-A command, has the specific responsibility to “mentor the ANA in leadership, staff , and support functions; planning, assessing, supporting, and execution of operations; and training doctrine, tactics, techniques, and procedures.”2
Currently, Task Force Phoenix has one brigade-sized element and resources from the Air Force, Navy, Marines and various contractors. The increase in forces over the course of 2009 will nearly double the troops in TF-Phoenix.3
After 5 years of training, mentoring and capacity building, the ANA has begun to show substantive, measurable results. In 2007, the ANA led 45 percent of all operations, participating and assisting in many more. This grew to 62 percent in the spring and summer of 2008, as the ANA is increasingly capable of leading operations.4
Organization and Authority Timeline
• U.S. named “lead nation,” assuming responsibility for developing the ANA.
• The Office of Military Cooperation-Afghanistan (OMC-A) was created, responsible for training the ANA and assisting German efforts to train the ANP.
• OMC-A renamed Office of Security Cooperation-Afghanistan (OSC-A) after U.S. ANP training efforts were transferred to the U.S. Department of Defense
• OSC-A renamed CSTC-A under US CENTCOM authority.
• CSTC-A transferred to USFOR-A authority in 2008.
ANA Force Numbers5 As of
|6,000||September 29, 2003|
|6,000||January 22, 2004|
|8,300 + 2,500 in-training||April 30, 2004|
|12,360||June 29, 2004|
|13,350 + 3,000 in-training||September 13, 2004|
|17,800 + 3,400 in-training||January 10, 2005|
|26,900||September 16, 2005|
|36,000||January 31, 2006|
|46,177||January 10-22, 2007|
|50,0006||October 18, 2007|
|57,0007||December 28, 2007|
|65,0008||August 8, 2008|
|70,0009||November 2, 2008|
|80,00010||March 10, 2009|
Note: Figures are approx.
Note: (ANA force numbers are approximations based on a thorough examination of available sources)
Recruiting and Training the Force
There have been substantive efforts to recruit a balanced, ethnically diverse army, proportionally representative of Afghanistan’s population. Afghanistan has four dominant ethnic groups (42 percent Pashtun, 27 percent Tajik, nine percent Hazara, and nine percent Uzbek) and numerous smaller groups that constitute the remaining fifteen percent.11 Despite the myriad challenges that fielding an ethnically representative force presents, thus far, recruits have attempted to maintain an “Afghanistan-first” mentality, setting aside historical grievances.12
After recruits are selected, they must undergo in-processing at their respective recruiting stations. Recruits are then assigned to a battalion (kandak) consisting of approximately 750-800 soldiers. Following assignment, recruits travel to Kabul to spend a week at the Kabul Military High School for orientation and further processing.13 Upon completing the first week, recruits undergo seven weeks of basic warrior training at the Kabul Military Training Center (KMTC), while being supervised by ANA instructors and U.S. Forces.14 During the initial week, recruits with leadership potential are removed and transferred to an NCO course to train as a section leader. At the end of the initial training process, recruits receive advanced infantry training, specialty training, or join their newly assigned units.15
After completion of the KMTC training, the section leaders rejoin the rest of the recruits and the entire kandak is assigned to a Corps. During this time, kandaks undergo a 60-day period of individual and battalion training within their Corps before rotating to combat operations.
Next, ANA personnel receive mentoring in the field, training that is administered by Coalition forces in their respective Corps area of operations. Throughout the entire training process, Embedded Training Teams (ETT) and Operational Mentor and Liaison Teams (OMLT) work closely with recruits to maintain standards established by CSTC-A, to ensure a high level of professionalism, and to provide the ANA experience working with combat enablers, such as close air support/fires, medical evacuation and quick reaction forces.16 Accordingly, ETTs are divided into four groups, advising in the areas of intelligence, communications, fire support, logistics and infantry tactics:17
Training Assistance Group (TAG): Oversees doctrine and training at Kabul Military Training Center.
Central Corps Assistance Group (CCAG): Direct mentors to ANA Central Corps staff.
Brigade Training Teams (BTT): Mentor to Brigade command and staff at Brigade and Battalion level during training and on deployment.
Mobile Training Teams (MTT): Specific equipment training once recruits report to their Brigade.
Also located at the KMTC is the Officer Training Brigade (OTB). OTB candidates are usually ex-militia and mujahideen with previous combat experience. Candidates at OTB have already been commissioned, have previous unit experience, and therefore, are only required to undergo an eight-week continuing education program and do not need to enroll in the four-year National Military Academy of Afghanistan (NMAA). Alternatively, NMAA, based on the West-Point model, confers a university degree and a commission upon highly qualified graduates. However, those who already possess a university degree can enroll in a six-month-long officer cadet course at the Officer Cadet School, designed to bolster the ANA’s junior officer core.18 Finally, the Command and General Staff College (CGSC) is designed to prepare mid-level ANA officers to serve on brigade and corps staffs.19
Equipping the Force
Since 2002, the U.S. and international donors have coordinated efforts to provide the ANA and ANP with rifles, pistols, machine guns, grenade launchers, shotguns, RPG launchers and various other weapons and equipment, including vehicles and armor. The majority of these efforts are coordinated through the CJ4 at CSTC-A, responsible for formulating equipment requirements and other equipment related duties from issue to end user.20
Nearly 80 percent of U.S. procured weapons were received from former Warsaw Pact countries, or obtained from vendors in those countries through an adaptation of the Foreign Military Sales program.21 This includes nearly 80,000 AK-47s and other non-standard equipment, certainly a logical initial choice given Afghan’s familiarity with this equipment. Currently, CSTC-A is transitioning the ANA from the AK-47 to the M16 or the Canadian C7.
Equipment shortages and accountability concerns continue to be a challenge. As the ANA increases their ability to operate independently from ISAF, ensuring they are properly equipped is critical to force modernization and performance.
Funding the Force
U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) has the primary responsibility for managing the Afghan Security Forces Fund (ASFF). CSTC-A, under CENTCOM uses the ASFF to fund its mission. The ASFF provides for the provision of equipment, supplies, services, training, facility, and infrastructure repair, renovation and construction. For FY 2008, the ASFF requested $1,721.7 billion for the ANA.22
The ASFF is divided into Budget Activity Groups (BAG), both for the ANA, ANP, and for Related Activities, including detainee operations. The ANA Budget Activity Group is further divided into Sub-Budget Activity Groups (SAG). Both the BAG and SAG are monitored through the Army’s Program Budget Accounting System (PBAS) and a separate Afghan-run database.23
According to the Government Accountability Office, Department of Defense and Department of State spending to train and equip the ANA from fiscal years 2002-2008 was as follows:24
In USD (millions)
FY 02 FY 03 FY 04 FY 05 FY 06 FY 07 FY 08* Total
*FY 08 includes $1,108 (appropriated) and $614 (requested)
International donor support for the ANA includes over 46 donor nations, contributing approximately $426 million to sustain operational and in-training troops and $822 million worth of equipment (as of March 2008).25
The majority of ANA funding goes towards salaries. In 2002, recruits were offered $50 per month after they completed their basic training, while NCOs and officers were paid $50-70 and $150, respectively.26 The following year witnessed high levels of desertion and attrition, understandably linked with soldier’s dissatisfaction with poor pay. In 2003, a recruit’s salary was increased to $70 per month while battalion commander’s salary was increased to US$300 per month.27 As an added bonus, soldiers received a US$2 for each day spent on field operations.
In the summer of 2006, the Taliban were reportedly offering three times the daily pay of the ANA, approximately $300 a month for the equivalent of a first-year ANA soldier.28 Additionally, the Taliban reportedly offered: “$10 to $20 per day for joining attacks on Western forces, $15 to launch a single mortar round into nearby coalition military bases, and US$1,000 for the head of a government worker or a foreigner.”29
Currently, the pay-scale for the ANA is as follows:30
Afghanistan’s poor infrastructure and lack of electronic banking mechanisms have forced many soldiers to deliver pay to their family(s) in-person, resulting in unreported absences from their field units, often for days at a time.
Funding the Future Force
The ANA is currently slated to grow to 120,000 by 2013, and 134,000 by 2014.31 Funding the future force will require significant resources, commensurate with the ANA’s expansion plans. The latest end-strength estimate will require an estimated $17 billion between 2010 and 2014.32 At least in-part, reaching these numbers will depend upon regular, competitive pay that boosts recruitment, retention and maintains a level of professionalism.
1 Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing, “The Current and Future Worldwide Threats to the National Security of the United States,” March 10, 2009, Washington D.C.; International Security Assistance Force and Afghan National Army strength & laydown.
2 Samuel Chan, “Sentinels of Afghan Democracy: The Afghan National Army,” Military Review, January-February 2009, 29.
3 North Atlantic Treaty Organization Press Release #2009-174, “Rise of the Phoenix in Afghanistan,” February 18, 2009.
4 C.J. Radin,“Afghan National Army: February 2009 Update,” The Long War Journal, February 24, 2009.
5 “Official Website of the Afghan National Army Kabul.”
6 Federal News Service, “Defense Department Briefing: Maj. Gen. Robert Cone,” DoD Briefing Room, The Pentagon, Arlington, VA, October 18, 2007.
7 “Afghan Government Says Larger Army Needed,” The Times of Central Asia, December 28, 2007.
8 CQ Federal Department and Agency Documents: Regulatory Intelligence Data, “Afghan Government Seeks Large Increase for National Army,” Department of Defense, August 8, 2008.
9 Federal News Service, Transcript: “This Week in Defense News,” Department of Defense, November 2, 2008
10 Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing, “The Current and Future Worldwide Threats to the National Security of the United States,” March 10, 2009, Washington D.C.
11 Col. Scot D.Mackenzie, “Imperatives For Working With Afghan Security Forces,” USAWC, March 1, 2008, 8.
12 Col. Scot D.Mackenzie, “Imperatives For Working With Afghan Security Forces,” USAWC, March 1, 2008, 14
13 “Coalition Joint Task Force Phoenix,” GlobalSecurity.org.
14 "Coalition Joint Task Force Phoenix,” GlobalSecurity.org.
15 "Coalition Joint Task Force Phoenix,” GlobalSecurity.org.
16 C.J.Radin, “Afghan National Security Forces Order of Battle,” The Long War Journal, February 15, 2009.
17 “Coalition” GlobalSecurity.org
18 Samuel Chan, “Sentinels of Afghan Democracy: The Afghan National Army,” Military Review, January-February 2009, 30.
19 “Official Website of the Afghan National Army Kabul.”
20 Report to Congress, “United States Plan for Sustaining the Afghanistan National Security Forces,” 9, June 2008, in accordance with the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act (Section 1231, Public Law 110-181).
21 GAO-09-267, “Afghanistan Security, Lack of Systemic Tracking Raises Significant Accountability Concerns About Weapons Provided to Afghan National Security Forces,” p.7, January 2009.
22 GAO-09-267, “Afghanistan Security, Lack of Systemic Tracking Raises Significant Accountability Concerns About Weapons Provided to Afghan National Security Forces,” 7.
23 GAO-09-267, “Afghanistan Security, Lack of Systemic Tracking Raises Significant Accountability Concerns About Weapons Provided to Afghan National Security Forces,” 8.
24 GAO Report, “Afghanistan Security: Further Congressional Action May Be Needed to Ensure Completion of a Detailed Plan to Develop and Sustain Capable Afghan National Security Forces,” GAO-08-661, 11, June 2008.
25 GAO Report, “Afghanistan Security: Further Congressional Action May Be Needed to Ensure Completion of a Detailed Plan to Develop and Sustain Capable Afghan National Security Forces,” GAO-08-661, 11, June 2008; in addition to financial assistance, GAO reports that 15 donor nations account for approximately one third of ANA training personnel.
26 Antonio Giustozzi, “Auxiliary Force or National Army? Afghanistan’s ‘ANA’ and the Counter-Insurgency Effort, 2002-2006,” Small Wars and Insurgencies, 52, 18:1, 45-67, March 2007.
27 Antonio Giustozzi, “Auxiliary Force or National Army? Afghanistan’s ‘ANA’ and the Counter-Insurgency Effort, 2002-2006,” Small Wars and Insurgencies, 53.
28 Samuel Chan, “Sentinels of Afghan Democracy: The Afghan National Army,” Military Review, January-February 2009, 12.
29 Samuel Chan, “Sentinels of Afghan Democracy: The Afghan National Army,” Military Review, January-February 2009, 13.
30 Samuel Chan, “Sentinels of Afghan Democracy: The Afghan National Army,” Military Review, January-February 2009, 13.
31 Tefor Moss, “Afghanistan Seeks Funding to Increase Army Strength,” Jane’s, August 13, 2008.
32 Anthony Cordesman, “Winning in Afghanistan: Creating an Effective Partner,” Center for Strategic and International Studies, November 11, 2009, 41.
33 Naval Postgraduate School, “Summary of Afghan National Army (ANA),” Program for Culture and Conflict Studies.
34 “Official Website of the Afghan National Army Kabul.”