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October 21 Defense Department Briefing

By The Pentagon, The Pentagon - October 21, 2010

                 MR. JIM TURNER (deputy director, Defense Press Operations):  Good morning here, and good evening in Afghanistan.  I'd like to welcome to the Pentagon briefing room Canadian Army Major General Stuart Beare.  He is the deputy commanding general for police of NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan and Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan. General Beare oversees the training and development of the Afghan National Police, and he assumed his post in August of this year.  This is the first time he has spoken to us in this format, and he joins us today from the NTM-A headquarters in Kabul.  General Beare will be -- Beare will be making an -- opening comments, and then he'll take your questions. 

                 And with that, General, I'll turn it over to you. 

                 GEN. BEARE:  Thank you, Jim.  And I guess good morning, folks. Major General Stu Beare.  You say it like you'd like to drink it, except you can't do that here.  It is great to be able to have this opportunity to speak with you this evening, my time, and to take your questions on how things are going with the police mission here in Afghanistan. 

                 I am the -- one of the leaders of the police training mission here in Afghanistan, in the sense that the police mission, as you could well understand, is a pretty diverse mission that requires the engagement of a lot of actors in terms of developing the Ministry of Interior and everything between it and the operational police forces in the field.  And I, with a great team of international partners, both military and police professionals and public servants and contractors, are charged with trying to do the best we can to assist in the development of the Ministry of Interior, its institutional systems, its police forces, and to provide sustainment to the forces in the field. 

                 Here at Eggers, I work with a team of about 150 professionals, primarily military and international police, as well as senior public servants and contractors.  We work with 650 police trainers in the field, scattered around 41 training centers across this country. Those trainers include military professionals as well as police professionals, both gendarme and civil police.  And we work, as well, with our partners in NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan at large.  We number 3,500 across this country. 

                 You have a Canadian soldier talking to you about training and generating police forces, and so I just want to let you know as well that I am partnered, in terms of being provided police advice, by police professionals.  And my -- I have a police senior adviser, who happens to be a real Canadian Mounted Police, who's name is Chief Superintendent Konrad Shourie.  And as I like to tell Konrad, as you are probably aware from the movies of yesterday, the Mountie always gets his man, but in this case, this man has got his Mountie.  So we are clearly recognizing that this mission is not a uniquely military mission, but is one that can use the best of what we bring to this -- to this effort, and what we can bring with our police partners to this effort, as well. 

                 The four main functions of our mission include working with the ministry to help develop the ministry as an institution that can lead, raise, train, operate and sustain police forces today and in the future.  (Pause.)  I heard a [technical] break in there. 

 We are working with 250 advisers in the Ministry of Interior each and every day; partnered with the senior -- most senior officials, and working with the senior officials as well as the members of the Ministry of Interior bureaucracy, to help them raise, train, operate and sustain their police forces, as well as to conduct the policy, logistics and programming activities that institutions back home seem to take for granted, but here they need to be developed. 

                 As well, we are working earnestly on building the institutional systems that connect the ministry to its police forces, be that the personnel systems, logistics systems, the communications systems, the engineering plant, infrastructure that allows the ministry to enable its forces in the field to do their work. 

                 We do manage and deliver training through 41 training centers across the country.  In those training centers you will find military professionals, multinational  police professionals, multinational both gendarme and civilian police, as well as Afghan leaders, commanders of training centers as well as Afghan trainers, who are helping train their own police forces. 

                 And last but not least, we are charged with providing the sustainment services to those police forces in the field, be it logistics, maintenance, supply and the like that allow them to actually conduct operations in the 365 districts and 34 provinces of this country of 30 million people. 

                 When I arrived at this mission some two months ago, I had to take stock of where we were and where we're going juxtaposed against eight years of having come and gone to this country since 2002.  This is my first tour, but it's the tenth time I've been here.  My first time in on the ground was in 2002 when I was commanding a brigade that had provided to the Rakkasans, the Canadian battle group, 3 PPCLI [3rd Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry], when I visited them there as a force provider.  I have visited this country nine times since, as a force provider, a trainer for the Canadian Army training system, and as a force developer. 

                 And over the course of those years I've seen this mission change significantly over time. 

                 But I have to tell you, the most significant shift or change in this mission has been -- in my experience, anyway -- in these last 12 months.  And in simple terms, I've been struck by the scope of the intervention that's playing out right now across the whole of the ISAF mission and in -- particularly in the NTM-A mission as we take on the comprehensive development of the Afghan security forces, both army and police, from the ministry to the troops in the field. 

                 I'm also struck by the scale of the intervention in terms of the quality of people and the amount of people that we are now covering down on or using to cover down on:  ministries, institutional systems, training centers and partnering in the field -- and the amount of money that is being applied to that to make it all work. 

                 And I'm also struck by the incredible amount of progress, in particular in the last 11 months, since NTM-A stood up and really applied itself full court press to that entire security-force system, and in my case in particular the police. 

                 So with all that backdrop -- as backdrop, I am looking forward to taking your questions and to being able to communicate to you where we think we are and where we think we're going and the help we can use to keep heading in that direction. 

                 Thank you. 

                 MR. TURNER:  Joe. 

                 Q     Yeah, good morning, sir.  This is Joe Tabet with Al Hurra. Could you give us a figure about the current size of the Afghan police?  And what's the number that you are looking to reach?  And second, how much do you consider the corruption as an obstacle in building the Afghan forces? 

                 GEN. BEARE:  So I -- your first question, then, is about the size of the police forces. 

                 When the NTM-A stood up last year, when they did the tally of the strength of the -- all the police forces, of which there are five; there's the Afghan Uniformed Police, the Afghan Border Police, the Afghan [National] Civil Order Police, the[Afghan] Anti-Crime Policeforces, and the anti -- the Afghan Public Protection Forces, which are more security than police forces -- when you add all those five up, this time last year they were at 95,000.  Based on our last personnel accounting in September of this year, they now total approximately 120,000, so a growth from 95 [thousand] to 120 [thousand] in under 12 months. 

                 And we're on track to growing the forces entirely to 134,000 by this time next year.  And we know we have the capacity in our training system to do that.  We know we have the recruiting base to achieve that.  And we've taken on enough -- or enough today -- trainers to be able to continue to deliver that, but as I'm sure you've heard, we're going to need more trainers in the future to grow up and sustain it beyond 2011. 

                 In terms of corruption, the fact is corruption is a matter of life more globally, but in particular here in Afghanistan.  And it's -- the fact that it exists and that it's a challenge for growing and professionalizing the police forces isn't just known to us, but it's also known to Afghan leaders.  Minister Mohammadi came aboard -- the minister of interior -- just this August past, and he's passing his 100-day mark now as being minister of the interior.  But early on in his assuming his position as the minister, he sat down and laid on the table six pretty pragmatic and straightforward priorities for dealing with police professionalization and the development of his ministry. 

                 And his priorities were, number one, training and education; number two, leadership; number three, anticorruption; number four, in simple terms, taking care of his troops, taking care of his police forces; and number five, structure reform, putting the right authorities, responsibility and accountabilities to the right leaders in his institution, and making sure the operational force beneath the institution is the right one for Afghanistan; and then, number six, reward and punishment.  And it's -- he laid these pretty practical priorities on the table, on top of strategies and policies and strategic plans to -- really, to communicate to his people that all of these things are what are needed in order for this institution to develop, for the ministry to emerge and for the police forces to professionalize over time. 

                 And each one of those things, including being deliberate about anticorruption, has an anticorruption effect.  Good training and education bears down on corruption.  Good leadership bears down on corruption.  Taking care of your people has a positive effect in terms of mitigating or trying to deflect the influence of corruption. Putting the right responsibilities, authorities, in the right people's hands makes that -- has that effect, as well.  And also, rewarding good behavior and promoting on a merit-based system, as well as dealing authoritatively with those who do wrong, has an anticorruption effect.  And these are Minister Mohammadi's priorities and these are his words, and we're right behind him. 

                 Q     Thank you, Major General.  This is Lalit Jha, from Pajhwok Afghan News. 

                 The Defense Minister of Afghanistan yesterday said that his security forces are ready to take over from international forces for the security of their own country.  Do you think the Afghan security forces are strong enough to secure their own country? 

                 GEN. BEARE:  Well, I -- if I understand, you're asking if Afghan security forces are ready now to take security of their own country. 

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