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Developing Logistics and Property Accountability in the Afghan Uniform Police

Soldiers of the 728th Military Police Battalion were assigned to train, advise,
and mentor Afghan Uniform Police personnel and help them enforce Afghan
logistics procedures.

While I was deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, I was given
a unique opportunity to participate in the mentorship mission of the 728th Military Police Battalion,
Task Force Warfighter, partnered with the Zone 202 Shamshad Regional Police Headquarters (RHQ).
I label this opportunity “unique” because of my junior grade as a warrant officer and my duties, which, at first glance, seemed outside the typical responsibilities of a battalion property book officer (PBO).

I arrived in theater as a warrant officer 1 and sought the guidance of senior logisticians on how to proceed as a mentor. I soon learned that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Training Mission–Afghanistan (NTM–A) had devoted years and extensive resources to developing the Afghan logistics system and its capabilities. My primary function would be to enforce Afghan-approved logistics doctrine and procedures.

Many rotations before ours had trained, advised, and mentored the Afghan Uniform Police (AUP), and many more will continue to do so. My particular position, serving as the mentor to the Zone 202 RHQ PBO, was exceptional because it was the first time anyone in that position had been partnered with his own mentor. The assignment of a mentor is considered a great honor in the AUP, as it is throughout the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). The partnership with my Afghan counterpart served as a good foundation for our future undertakings.
Afghan Uniform Police (AUP) personnel attend the first Zone 202 AUP Logistics Conference at the Zone 202 Regional Police Headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The Foundation
Zone 202 is responsible for 8 Regional Command East provinces, which include a population of more
than 8 million. Our zone had 18,000 AUP officers and 84 districts and was responsible for more than 26,000 pieces of equipment.

The progress of the NTM–A, operating in conjunction with Combined Security Transition Command–Afghanistan (CSTC–A) and the mentors who came before us, was immediately evident through the established Ministry of Interior (MoI) operating procedures that my AUP PBO counterpart was using. Although these processes seemed primitive by our standards (primarily because of the lack of automation), a property accountability system had been established nonetheless.

Ledgers were kept and filed in large books and binders in numerical order based on the stock number. Two forms were used for property book accounting. MoI Afghan National Police (ANP) Form 3328 was referred to as “the property book page.” The other was the MoI ANP Form 3328–1, or “the serial number page.” Equipment authorizations came from the Tashkil, an authorization letter similar to our modified table of organization and equipment (MTOE).

The Zone 202 PBO was responsible for maintaining property book records of 8 provincial headquarters (PHQs) and the 84 district headquarters (DHQs) in its area of responsibility. Tashkil shortages were requisitioned from the MoI using the MoI Form 14, Request for Issue and Turn-in. Shortages resulting from consumption were required to have a consumption report attached, along with a copy of the Tashkil authorization, according to MoI policy.
A Zone 202 AUP logistics mentor inventories the Nuristan Government Center provincial headquarters’ ammunition reserves.

Challenges
It was not long before the unique challenges of the AUP logistics system became evident. Synchronizing logistics initiatives in training and policy execution quickly became the priority because the apparent breakdown in this area was affecting the accuracy and reliability of property book records. MoI Form 14s were hard to track, and the PBO had no established means to follow the progress of these requisitions.

The PHQs rarely submitted consumption reports, which caused their requisitions to be rejected. PHQs often went around the system, going directly to the MoI. In these instances, receipt documents (MoI Form 9, Materiel Issue Order) were never submitted to the RHQ, leaving the PBO unable to maintain proper accountability. Until a fully visible and accessible web-based system is available to all, it is necessary to emphasize the requirement for a paper trail that is routed back down through the RHQ to the PHQ.

Supply clerks at several DHQs were untrained and unable to provide or maintain accurate property book records. The low literacy rate of AUP workers in supply jobs at the subordinate echelons presented a significant challenge to training efforts. The RHQ logistics directorate appeared to be not very forward thinking. Some of this may have been cultural misinterpretation, but the frequent emergency resupply missions were evidence of negligence. The practices of stockpiling and hoarding equipment at PHQ depots were common, and cross-leveling efforts were met with some resistance.

Solutions
A key factor in improving accountability was the coalition mentors’ role in advising their AUP counterparts at the PHQs, DHQs, and MoI. Our contributions to this effort included an MoI Form 14 tracker and a monthly logistics conference. The MoI Form 14 tracker, which was designed to correspond with MoI Form 3, Register of Supply Actions, and MoI Form 4, Document Control
Register, offered visibility to coalition mentors at all levels.

Afghan logisticians and their coalition mentors were invited to attend monthly logistics conferences held at the RHQ. The conference was not only a forum to hold PHQs accountable for dueouts; it was also an excellent opportunity to conduct logistics training and allow the RHQ to address all PHQs simultaneously. Both were excellent tools in our efforts to streamline accountability, promote routine inventory, and emphasize proper documentation of incoming and outgoing supplies and correspondence.

Two Zone 202 AUP logistics mentors conduct a joint weapons inventory of the Shamshad depot. The team checked the weapons for property accountability and recorded serial numbers.

Evaluation criteria used to determine the readiness of an ANSF element to become “independent” is relatively subjective in all areas except for equipment. For this reason, it is particularly important that PHQs and DHQs were filled according to Tashkil authorization as much as possible.

Once reliable quantities were reported to the RHQ, the next logical step was to redistribute excess within the RHQ. Cross-leveling is conducted through a cipher (an official order). As is often the case in the U.S. military, the AUP rarely executes anything without a direct official order. A direct official order also holds personnel accountable, and the employment of coalition mentors at PHQ or DHQ to facilitate implementation in their area of operations can assist in its effectiveness.

Transparency is a key element of property accountability. This philosophy is true across the logistics
realm. By cooperating with our Afghan counterparts, we developed an AUP logistics status worksheet that monitored the consumption of classes I (subsistence), II (clothing and individual equipment), III (petroleum, oils, and lubricants), V (ammunition), and VII (major end items) to minimize emergency resupply and encourage forward planning within the RHQ.

In an attempt to overcome the challenge of training a force with low literacy rates, our battalion maintenance officer, in conjunction with his Afghan counterpart, developed an AUP publication modeled after the U.S. Army’s PS magazine. In the spirit of the original, the AUP version of PS
magazine also includes supply management contributions. The magazine could potentially be an effective tool in overcoming literacy barriers to logistics training until large-scale literacy training initiatives come to fruition.

It was truly a privilege to be part of the Task Force Warfighter team and to partner with the AUP. I am confident that our contributions have promoted positive change not only in RHQ but throughout the AUP and NTM–A. The mission to train AUP personnel and develop sustainment operations began before we arrived in Kabul and will continue as future rotations pick up the baton and keep running.

I hope that the information included in this article will empower other junior warrant officers who find
themselves on unfamiliar terrain by shortening some of the learning curve. I also wish to foster continued cooperation and information sharing of all coalition mentors across the Afghan theater and Army sustainment community.

Change in Afghanistan is a marathon, not a sprint. Each year, Soldiers carry on the work of those who came before them, adapting and refining methods to stay abreast of the situation on the ground. Familiarity with past and present issues and fulfilled goals will ensure unobstructed progress. As the AUP continues to develop, I trust that passing on my experience will serve to assist other mentors.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Selina Gilliam is the property book officer of the 52d Engineer Battalion.
She holds a B.A. degree in business management from Saint Leo University. She is a graduate of the Warrant Officer Basic Course.

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