A few years ago, during a different surge, I visited a small Reconnaissance Squadron in the Diyala Province of Iraq. In their operations center was a sign that said, "What would you do differently today if you could not leave until the war was won?" Recently, the Secretary of the Army signed the approval for a Presidential Unit Citation for the combat action and valor of this unit. It is this mindset, this culture, that compelled them to decisive action. They were committed to not just leave their area of operations better than they found it, but to leave the area in the capable hands of a host nation force. It is this spirit, this commitment, and this urgency that will make us successful in our current endeavor. And so I ask you, "What would you do differently today if you had to stay until your responsibilities were transitioned to a capable Afghan counterpart that you trained?"
This is not to say that a professional Afghanistan National Security Force (ANSF) can be built overnight. However, dedication to the mission and a desire to achieve tangible results each day -- to produce a product, an outcome, should drive each and every one of us every day. We cannot be satisfied with merely getting "first downs" and moving the ball down the field. We are here to win! Winning in this context means getting an Afghan partner to stand on their own -- underpinned by the sustainable systems for an enduring security institution.
With that in mind, I'd like to share with you a memorandum I recently sent to all NATO Training Mission - Afghanistan / Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan staff, trainers, and instructors entitled A Call to Action: Command Philosophy.
William B. Caldwell, IV
Lieutenant General, US Army
"Shohna Ba Shohna"