Story by Lance Cpl. Katherine M. Solano
CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan – Forty-five Afghan Uniformed Police recruits graduated from the last basic AUP course to be taught at the Joint Sustainment Academy Southwest here, June 16.
Future courses at JSAS will focus on intermediate and advanced teachings, while basic AUP courses will return to their origin at the Helmand provincial capital of Lashkar Gah.
Whereas previous JSAS courses taught recruits, upcoming courses will have students who have completed their basic training and have been working with units in the field.
“Today is a milestone,” said Col. Mike Brown, the director of Afghan National Security Forces development for Regional Command Southwest.
This turning point came after a months-long surge of recruit training being conducted at JSAS. The NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan conducts basic training for recruits in Lashkar Gah but reached out to JSAS in recent months for assistance in “uplift” training. This training resulted in a surge of hundreds of Afghan forces.
With the surge mission complete, JSAS will now turn its attention to a sustainment curriculum.
Courses will begin to move beyond military tactics into training that can be used by Afghan forces to endure beyond their military careers, explained Brown.
This endurance and sustainment training will include more literacy courses and administration and mechanics courses, giving Afghans options for careers after the military.
With the conclusion of this final JSAS basic AUP course comes an assurance of progress made in the area, Brown said.
“What we’ve done in Helmand province is incredible,” said Brown, an Alexandria, Va., native.
He went on to say that the evident growth and capability of the Afghan forces who have come through JSAS is a testament to what coalition forces and the Afghan country’s structure itself are capable of.
The upcoming courses will also focus on training Afghans to instruct their own. While Marine instructors are already supported by Afghans, whether as secondary instructors or the class leaders assisting their fellow students, it is an eventual goal of JSAS to turn over training entirely to Afghans.
It is important that the instructors are trained properly and thoroughly, because the students do not care whether it is Marines or Afghans teaching them, as long as they are receiving the best instruction possible, Brown added.
“Being trained by Afghans is an added benefit,” he said. “But quality instruction is what’s important.”
The students who graduated this final basic AUP course will go on to their respective units, with some returning to JSAS in the future for advanced courses.