By NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan Public Affairs
KABUL –Thirty-five officers from various Afghan Ministry of Defense departments were the first in the country’s history to graduate from an 11-month planning, programming, budgeting and execution (PPBE) course. The course structure focused on aiding Afghan budgeting programmers to develop a transparent, accountable three-year budget resistant to corruption and built to incorporate incremental, sustainable improvements.
“The Afghan Army is a new army,” said Afghan Deputy to the Assistant Minister of Strategy and Policy, Major Gen. Asadullah Akram Yar. “We are providing the necessary skills to bring about success and build upon what we’ve already accomplished during the past ten years.”
With transition—in which the Afghan government will take full control of their country’s security—set for 2014, U.S. and coalition forces are expected to decrease their operational footprint and assume a mainly advisory role. Training such as the PPBE course is a critical part of the transition process, providing the knowledge needed by the Afghan government to continue the progress made towards stable and sustainable security and defense programs.
“That is part of the whole process of building the Afghan Army—enabling ourselves to take responsibility for the defense of our own country,” explained Yar.
Fiscally, Afghanistan is expecting a smaller NATO financial contribution in coming years as the buildup of forces reaches its ceiling and the budget must only support the less expensive sustainment of those forces. Graduates of the new class learned to prioritize requirements to match these expected lower funding levels, marking a clear indicator that the Afghan government is confident in its progression.
“Programming is only three years old in Afghanistan,” said Lead PPBE Instructor Philip Bossert. “[It] is a natural anti-corruption mechanism, which if done correctly, makes the entire PPBE system open, all-inclusive, transparent and accountable.”
The graduation is one of many milestones Afghanistan has achieved while working toward transition of security in 2014. According to U.K. Col. Bruce Russell, NTM-A Senior Advisor for Afghan MoD Strategy and Policy, the Afghan’s desire to self-sustain and independently navigate their own future is fueled by a need for knowledge and growth.
“This is a good milestone. It’s not the end, it’s not the beginning, but it’s all part of the process,” said Russell. “A lot of work they do is extremely complicated, and the concepts and procedures that these Afghans have to do in the MoD are, for the most part, completely new.”
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