Responsibility for the development of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) rests with the Government of Afghanistan (GIRoA), supported by the international community. As geographical areas enter the Transition process, ISAF will support ANSF as they assume the lead for security. Even though ISAF will retain control of many aspects of battle space management, these will gradually be handed over to the ANSF as they become more trained, equipped and proficient. This Afghan lead for security is the reason for evolving to the Security Force Assistance (SFA) Model.
With Afghan leadership and NATO/ISAF continued support, the ANSF will become an institution of national unity, the main mean for ensuring security and the long-term guardian of Afghan peace, stability and prosperity well after 2014.
Security Force Assistance (SFA)
The Security Force Assistance (SFA) is the unified action to generate, employ and sustain local, host nation, or regional security forces in support of a legitimate authority.
SFA encompasses all ISAF actions to develop ANSF operational effectiveness and includes partnering and advising, as well as provision of support to ANSF units. These actions will be performing through the Partner Units (PU)/ Transition Supports Units (TSU) and the Advisor Teams (AT) which are gradually replacing the training teams (OMLT, POLMT…). PU and AT are the cornerstone of the SFA effort.
At the strategic level, SFA linked to transition while, at the tactical level, to ANSF capability.
The primary method of providing advice and assistance to the operational component of the ASNF is through partnered units. As the ANSF has become more effective, ISAF progresses from ‘'1 to 1 Partnership” where ISAF units partner with ANSF units of similar size to ‘'1 Up Partnership” where ISAF units partner with ANSF units an echelon higher – an ISAF company with an ANSF battalion, and so on.
Because ANSF capacity is only one element of the political decision to enter the Transition process, the different methods of executing the SFA task to advise and assist overlap the stages of Transition. In addition, because of the variance in individual ANSF units and the situation in their areas, the implementation of SFA, the level of support provided by ISAF and the force level and operational posture of ISAF forces is not implemented in strict compliance with model, but varies based on conditions.
Transition to ANSF lead is initially a political process and does not confer an immediate reduction of Coalition forces and resources which are definitively linked to the threat, the capacity of ANSF to hold the gains achieved in key terrain districts and a mature ANSF capable to sustain their forces.
A partner Unit (PU)/ Transition Supports Units (TSU): is a manoeuvre / combat support unit (renamed TSU when the Transition process starts in its area of operations (AO) and ANSF take on the responsibility for security) that is collocated with or in close proximity to their Afghan counterpart for planning and conducting operations. Their commander is responsible for the development of all ANSF in their AO. The PU are formed, cohesive organizations that provide assistance to Afghan units with an operational effectiveness. They also command and control and support ATs in their AO. PU/TSU's are replaced by ATs when ANSF units reach a certain level of readiness.
An Advisor Team: a capability that consists of leadership and subject matter expert, co-located or in close proximity to an ANSF unit at any level of effectiveness. Advisor teams operate under the command and control of an military commander and have the capability to provide direct access to coalition capabilities such as joint fire s, intelligence, and medical evaluation.