Training Local Forces – An Operationalisation of the Comprehensive Approach
At the Lisbon Summit 2010, NATO re-emphasised the importance of local force capability development. The Strategic Concept from the Summit directs NATO to "develop the capability to train and develop local forces in crisis zones, so that local authorities are able, as quickly as possible, to maintain security without international assistance." The following thoughts are a contribution to this effort.
3 Levels to Share with the Nations
Training Local Forces is an example of operationalisation of the Comprehensive Approach in which many actors work to generate convergent effects. Therefore, NATO need not provide the full training local forces solution – instead, NATO will work with other interested actors to develop local capabilities in ways national authorities consider appropriate.
|Increasingly, more effective and efficient Training Local Forces is a key enabler for improving local resilience to future shocks and to expedite crisis recovery.|
Nations are already involved in each of these areas. Therefore, to maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of its resource expenditures and speak to its comparative advantages, NATO should focus on the two upper levels, while the Nations devote most of their training resources to the two lower levels.
NATO Trains the Trainers
How will NATO add value to local actor activities (and most effectively and efficiently apply its scarce resources) by focusing on the Enhancing Training Institutions and Training the Trainers levels?
At the Enhancing Training Institutions level, NATO will support nations with expert advice and resources as they work through the organisational design issues necessary to enhance training institutions – the schools, exercise facilities, and training centres. This requires that NATO trains specialists in high level institution focused interaction to advise local forces on the organisational design process necessary to accomplish this work.
NATO support at the operational level, as it has provided in the NATO Training Mission-Iraq (NTM-I) and NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan (NTM-A), will take the form of providing the organisational backbone or structure into which the Nations can contribute trainers. By developing a standardised, interoperable instructor training, equipping and deploying process and a baseline curriculum within each functional area, NATO can help ensure that the training provided to the National forces is consistent across the entire nation and at all levels.
A Training Local Forces Capability
The TLF capability is a meta-capability: it is a capability that improves local actors' own capabilities and more importantly, their ability to continuously enhance their own capabilities. NATO should develop its capability to train local forces in two ways:
First, it should provide training support before a crisis as part of normal interaction with other organisations and states in order to increase local resilience to future crises. Such support will add value to both local and NATO training activities. Local actors will benefit from the training to shape particular priority outcomes in positive ways, while the development of the rich, local knowledge and networks of interaction necessary for training support will provide NATO with the understanding necessary to better support those actors predisposed to act in accordance with NATO values.
... to Enhance NATO's reactivity
Second, improving its institutional Training Local Forces' capability to restore or re-grow local forces, as part of a broader Stabilisation and Reconstruction (S&R) activity set, and in conjunction with other organisations, will generate a NATO capability to rapidly deploy a critical mass of Training
Local Forces instructors. This rapid reaction Training Local Forces team could deploy to quickly provide training support necessary for local security sector personnel to enhance their capabilities – to prevent imminent state failure or to reconstitute and establish the basic security architecture necessary for recovery from state failure brought about by conflict or natural disaster. This surge capability, by addressing force capability issues in the often narrow window of opportunity between state fragility and total collapse, will generate dramatic positive outcomes for local people at a much lower cost to NATO Nations than that required to rebuild such a capability after it has completely dissolved. Early investment in capability building will reduce the costs generated by a major crisis and therefore this training and development support offers a cost-effective contribution to fulfilling Alliance crisis management tasks.
A Comprehensive Approach Enabler
Increasingly, training local forces more effectively and efficiently is a key enabler for improving local resilience to future shocks and to expediting crisis recovery. As an element of NATO's operationalisation of the Comprehensive Approach, Training Local Forces is a crucial component. As Nations provide additional guidance, ACT is ready to support further Concept Development in this area.
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