Assessing Transition of Security Operations in Afghanistan


On October 7, 2001, a coalition of forces including the United States began combat operations in Afghanistan and eventually removed the Taliban government from power.  Combat operations have been conducted since while the coalition attempts to rebuild the nation to govern itself, care for its people and equip it to defend itself from all internal and external threats.  A key aspect of that goal is the transition of security operations from the NATO/US led forces to Afghani units.

The mission of the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan (NTM-A)/Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan (CSTC-A), in partnership with the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the international community, is to plan, program and implement structure, organizational, institutional and management reforms of the Afghanistan National Security Forces (ANSF) in order to develop a stable Afghanistan, strengthen the rule of law, and deter and defeat terrorism within its borders.

NTM-A/CSTC-A provides advisors, mentors and trainers to help both the Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Interior organize, train, equip, employ and support the ANSF in order to defeat the insurgency, provide internal security, extend and enforce the rule of law, set conditions for economic development, and gain the trust and confidence of the citizens of Afghanistan.

Mission success for NTM-A/CSTC-A is defined as fielding an ANSF that is professional, literate, ethnically diverse, tactically competent and capable of providing security throughout Afghanistan.

Problem Statement


President Obama and U.S. Army General McChrystal, the commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, have announced their goal of transferring the lead for security operations to the Afghan government.  In order to support this goal, our study sponsor, the Deputy Director of Force Integration and Training (CJ7), Combined Security Transition Command Afghanistan (CSTC-A), has defined five requirements, or Lines of Operation (LOO), that support the overall goal of transferring the lead for security operations to the Afghan government.  After an initial round of clarification with CJ7 staff, we learned that CJ7 is focusing on two of the five LOOs: 1) accelerate growth of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF); and 2) achieve security for the Afghan population.  The three remaining LOOs, listed below, are viewed by CJ7 staff as supporting the two main LOOs:

  • Marginalize malign actors
  • Achieve legitimate, responsive and accountable governance
  • Facilitate community development

The objective is to develop metrics to measure progress against each of the 5 goals, or LOOs, and to use these metrics in a model that provides feedback to General McCrystal and other leaders on progress toward the goal of transferring the lead for security operations to the Afghan government.

Lead International Forces in Afghanistan



The following stakeholders have been identified:

  • Force Integration and Training cell of NTM-A/CSTC-A
  • Coalition military leadership
  • United States governmental leaders