Computerising Afghan army staff
By Olivier Mirguet | Thursday 19 July 2012
“When we arrived in Kabul, the Afghan army was using nothing more than mobile phones. Orders were issued by voice alone. Today, there are 150 computers connected to the Afghan military staff network. That’s quite a lot already!” For the last six months, Eurocorps officer Lieutenant-Colonel Michel Bounser (France) has been providing support for the Afghan army’s roll-out of its information and communication systems. “We are providing guidance to General Shams Ahmad, communications chief for the Afghan army, for the computerisation of military staff. The goal set for October is for this staff to take command of the six Afghan army corps based in every region of the country,” explains Lieutenant-Colonel Bounser. “For the Eurocorps, this transfer of competences in the military staff’s development constitutes a major challenge, one never before achieved.” Working in liaison with European companies, including Thales (France), the Eurocorps officer has taught the Afghans to install video conference equipment and to use it every morning starting at 7:00 to provide daily military briefings. The question of social networks, often used by the Afghan army without paying attention to risks related to the confidentiality of operations, still has to be addressed. “A private Canadian company will provide network security using proxies and firewalls,” points out Lieutenant-Colonel Bounser.
The deployment of an effective communication system in the Afghan army is also beneficial to the police, whose national coordination centre is being guided by 12 coalition officers. Eurocorps Commander Hubert de Carné (France) coordinates future operations (FUOPS) at the centre. The Naweed 1391 campaign plan (2012-2013), drawn up by the Afghan Defence and Home Affairs Ministries, will rely on IT resources installed with support from the coalition for its implementation across the country.