TAAC‑Air’s efforts to train, advise, and assist the Afghan Air Force have resulted in notable accomplishments in three broad areas: A‑29 aircraft mission performance, night vision capability, and air-ground integration between the Afghan Air Force and Afghan National Army.
However, TAAC‑Air does not have a plan defining the terms of its mission statement to develop the Afghan Air Force into a “professional, capable, and sustainable” force. TAAC‑Air cannot track the Afghan Air Force’s progress because they have not defined the intended end state and related metrics for determining the capabilities and capacities of the Afghan Air Force.
Furthermore, TAAC‑Air did not fully integrate its planning with NAC-A’s defined end state or Resolute Support campaign plans. Continued train, advise, and assist efforts without a plan integrated with Resolute Support campaign plans could result in the inefficient and ineffective use of U.S. and Coalition advisor train, advise, and assist efforts.
The Coalition administers Contractor Logistic Support agreements for Afghan Air Force aircraft. These contracts limit the progression and transfer of maintenance responsibilities to Afghan Air Force maintainers. Although it is one of NATO’s goals for the Afghan Air Force, these contracts do not contain either a plan or a timeline to transition maintenance operations to the Afghans.
Additionally, neither Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan, NATO Air Command-Afghanistan, nor TAAC‑Air has identified the long-term maintenance and logistics workload distribution between the contractors and the Afghan Air Force. The design of the existing contracts reduces the maintenance training opportunities for Afghan Air Force mechanics and delays the Afghan Air Force from establishing their own maintenance capability.
In addition, Afghan Air Force mission support and aircraft maintenance personnel do not receive standardized or consistent training from the Afghan National Army schools. Furthermore, the Afghan Air Force did not leverage the training opportunities that did exist at Afghan National Army functional schools. Additionally, the Coalition has not helped the Afghan Air Force develop the institutional training capability to augment existing Afghan National Army training by incorporating Air Force-specific requirements. The lack of standardized and consistent training limits the development of the Afghan Air Force into a professional, capable, and sustainable Air Force.
Afghan National Army corps commanders exceeded programmed monthly flying hours for Mi‑17 helicopters. This happened because Afghan Ministry of Defense and General Staff policy allows Afghan National Army corps commanders to use M i‑17s indirect support of ground forces. This policy let the commanders directly task assigned helicopters without properly regarding the aircraft’s condition and available flying hours. Operating aircraft beyond scheduled flying hours, and without the required supporting maintenance and inspections, will accelerate the Mi‑17 fleet’s deterioration and reduce available aircraft for operational use. Coalition advisors identified this problem and, in coordination with their Afghan counterparts, proposed a solution.
U.S. air advisors received training on general advising skills and cultural aspects needed for a generic train, advise, and assist mission. However, they were not fully prepared to perform their Afghan Air Force specific advising mission upon arriving in country. Air advisors did not receive training on the Afghan Air Force and its relationship to the Afghan National Army, nor did the advisors receive training about the Afghan military staffing processes and terminology peculiar to Afghanistan. As a consequence, assigned personnel are less effective and less efficient as advisors until they acquire the requisite knowledge and develop the skills necessary for their mission in Afghan.
Click here for the full report (76 PDF pages) on the Pentagon IG website.