The Facility Engineer section at Kabul Military Training Center (KMTC) took ownership of base maintenance May 22. This marks a significant step forward on the road to a self sustaining Afghanistan National Army (ANA) and the reduced reliance on coalition forces support at KMTC.
Lt. Col. Shir Agha, Facilities Engineer, KMTC, leads a 79-person Department of Public Works (DPW) team that will provide routine maintenance support to the base. Agha received keys to five newly constructed facilities. These are the last of 30 new buildings constructed by Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan (CSTC-A). The new facilities expand KMTC to better support its mission of growing and sustaining the ANA.
KMTC provides the ANA with training for new recruits, training for new officers and developing courses for its noncommissioned officers. Acceptance of the new construction by Agha, on behalf of KMTC, marks the end of a six month transition plan during which the DPW will have taken ownership of routine maintenance for 175 buildings.
The DPW still faces some hurdles as it learns how to plan and resource maintenance for one of the largest ANA installations. After six years of coalition support through contracted maintenance services, the KMTC DPW is finally on its own. The officers, noncommissioned officers and government civilians assigned to DPW are learning how to manage funds, procure supplies, process work requests, and conduct routine maintenance. Coalition forces continue to mentor and assist, while the DPW takes the lead role in the mission.
Command support and a functioning logistics system will be the key to success of KMTC’s DPW. Broken water heaters cannot be fixed by plumbers or electricians if they do not have the parts to conduct repairs. Parts and tools cannot be procured if the logistics systems are not functional and efficient. Emphasis by commanders on the importance of resourcing the DPW will be the difference between success and failure.
There is a long road ahead for the KMTC DPW. The Facility Engineer and his team have made great improvement in their training and organization that has allowed them to take this step forward. The difficulties ahead will only make the DPW a better institution as it develops its systems and improves its organization to better serve the KMTC community.
NTM-A is a coalition of 38 troop-contributing nations charged with assisting the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in generating a capable and sustainable Afghan National Security Force ready to take lead of their country’s security by 2014. For more information about NTM-A, visit www.ntm-a.com.
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