America's exit strategy in both Iraq and Afghanistan depends upon competent, confident Host Nation Security Forces responsive to the rule of law. In Iraq, years of effort to train and equip the Iraqi Army and Police are beginning to pay dividends, although they will continue to need our advice and assistance for a number of years to come. The Afghan National Army and Police are some years behind the IA and IP's; recent decisions to increase the size of both forces are long overdue, but will demand additional American advisors in a theater that is already under-resourced.
Special Forces are the best US troops at conducting the Foreign Internal Defense mission, but there aren't enough of them to train the IA, IP, ANA, and ANP, so most of the FID mission has fallen on conventional Army soldiers who are not organized, trained, or equipped to conduct the FID mission. Faced with a problem requiring organizational adaptation, the Army has adopted a series of ad hoc measures to select, organize, train, employ, and demobilize its advisors, despite numerous statements from senior Army leaders that testify to the essential nature of the advisory task in enabling our exit strategy in two wars.
I have previously advocated the creation of an Advisory Corps, in which combat troops would be assigned to standing advisory units ("A Team 1st Battalion 1st Advisory Brigade 1st Advisory Division") for a three-year tour of duty just as they now rotate through other line units. I believe that it is even more important to create standing advisory units now that we are increasing the size of the ANA and focusing more on the advisory effort to the IA while drawing down US units in Iraq. Standing units have history, lineage, and traditions; who wants to serve in Unit Rotating Force 1134 (as Transition Teams of Advisors are currently designated), especially if URF 1134 is disbanded four days after redeploying from combat?
If the Army can't or won't build standing units, at the very least it should designate someone below the level of the Chief of Staff of the Army who is responsible for all aspects of the advisory mission. Once named, the head of Advisor Command should establish a permanent advisory schoolhouse, get doctrine written, get the organization of the advisory teams right, be responsible for their training and employment, and ensure that advisors are given proper credit for their service. There are a number of Lieutenant Generals in the Army; I would submit that none has a more important mission than heading up such an Advisor Command with the possible exceptions of the MNC-I and MNSTC-I commanders.
Pete Dawkins wrote his doctoral dissertation at Princeton on the advisory effort in Vietnam; he called it "The Other War." I am confident that some bright and bitter Captain will do the same for the advisory effort in Iraq and/or Afghanistan.