Small Wars Journal


The Definition of Advisor: Comprehending the Mission to Advise Foreign Security Forces

Military writing requires that the bottom line be stated up front. Here is the bottom line: an advisor is a person lawfully tasked and employed to provide expert advice and counsel to Foreign Security Force officials, representatives, and influencers; through the establishment or continuance of interpersonal relationships founded on mutual trust and respect.” For some reading this, that definition may seem obvious; for others it may seem almost counterintuitive. Our considerably diverse comprehension of what an advisor actually is was the motivation for writing this article.

About the Author(s)

Afghan-Born Soldier Returns Home to be Advisor with the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade

Now based at the New Kabul Compound in the middle of the country's capital city, SGT Zabi Abraham is one of the most impactful advisors within the brigade's 5th Battalion. Often, he is at the battalion commander's side, translating conversations between him and senior Afghan leaders.

About the Author(s)

The Ministry of Defense Advisors Training Program: Preparing Advisors to Have Strategic Impact

For those in “the advising business,” this is an exciting time. During the past year, beginning with the Secretary of Defense, leaders throughout the Defense Establishment have articulated the compelling need to best prepare the advisors – civilian and military – that we deploy to theaters of operation and distant countries worldwide.

About the Author(s)

The Insurgent's Playbook

At Slate, Fred Kaplan argues that the killing of 2 officers in Afghanistan is a classic insurgent tactic... and it's working.

Once again, we find ourselves way in over our heads in Afghanistan, and at the worst possible time ...

We don’t yet know the precise motive of the man who killed two American officers in a highly secure area of the Afghan interior ministry’s headquarters over the weekend. But the incident should not be surprising; it’s a classic case of insurgency tactics ...

Of the 58 NATO soldiers killed in Afghanistan so far this year, 10 have been at the hands of Afghan personnel whom they’d been training. 


If the insurgents demonstrate that not even American officers are safe, not even in the most secure corridors of the Afghan interior ministry, it... reinforces the theme that the government and its protectors can’t protect the Afghan people, ... sows distrust between the government and its protectors, ... [and]  severely weakens the government.

Read the whole short, but excellent article at Slate.  Hat tip to @GregJaffe and @smsaideman for the Tweet.

NATO Advisors Withdrawn from Afghan Ministries after 2 Officers Killed

The Washington Post reports:

The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan on Saturday recalled all NATO personnel working in Afghan ministries in the Kabul area — a bold and potentially divisive response to the killing of two American service members by an Afghan security official in the country’s fortified Interior Ministry earlier in the day.

Reuters reported that President Obama and Secretary of Defense Panetta expressed their support for the decision by ISAF commander General John Allen.  The move highlights the growing tension, mistrust, and antipathy between ISAF and some of their Afghan partners that peaked over a Quran burning incident earlier this week.  The coming week will be very telling as the sides chart their way ahead in a relationship that is strained and has a limited future.