ANASOC Chooses the First Special Mission Wing Command Sergeant Major

8 Aug 2012
The selection board interviews a candidate to become the first Command Sgt. Maj. of ANASOCs Special Mission Wing, July 21, in Kabul. (U.S. Army photo by Cpt. Joshua Heimroth)
KABUL — The Afghan National Army Special Operations Command vetted candidates in a formal selection board to become the first Command Sgt. Maj. of its Special Mission Wing, July 21, in Kabul

Prior to the board each candidate had to submit their own nomination package to become the Senior Enlisted Leader of what will become a battalion-sized part of ANASOC. On the day of the board, four candidates from the ANA personally (by requirement) sat before a standardized selection process of seven members of the ANASOC top leadership and were asked 12 questions ranging from tactics and computer skills to prior experiences as members of the ANA.

This board is significant because it is the first entirely Afghan-led process of its kind for the ANA. The ANA, specifically ANASOC, directed, organized and executed the board.

"The formal process lasted approximately two hours and was the culmination of months of preparation,” said a member of NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan who observed the process. "It looked like something we'd do in the U.S. It was something we'd have to go through, or, I would. I was pretty impressed.”
Recently a similar board was held to select the next Afghan Sgt. Maj. of the Army. The two were similar, but differed in an important way. While the board for the SMA was chaired entirely by Afghans, it was conducted with official advisors present to oversee how it progressed. For the SMW CSM selection there were no Coalition advisers present (though some Coalition forces were in the conference room), however, some of the lessons learned were shared.
"Gen Karimi's paradigm shift laid the foundation for how all future SELs should be picked by using a merit-based system to select the SMA,” said NTM-A adviser Billy Blackmon. "The SMW solidified the value and importance of the process by following suit to select the SMW SEL.”

The selection board and candidates pose for a photo after the board ends, July 21, in Kabul. (U.S. Army photo by Cpt. Joshua Heimroth)
In addition to the board, ANASOC CSM Faiz Wafa said he spoke with all the candidates personally, to make sure each had the right stuff to lead the SMW soldiers and Non Commissioned Officers, to monitor them and advocate on their behalf, and advise the Wing's commander as well, as the Command Sgt. Maj. He, too, was impressed with the candidates' potential to assume the role.

Whoever got selected, Wafa said, "I'm sure he will handle this job.”

The four candidates are currently battalion-level CSMs whose particular experience and skills are required in the highly prestigious SMW CSM position. The selection results are forthcoming.

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Eric Lockwood
NATO Training Mission Afghanistan Public Affairs

NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan 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


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