WASHINGTON - They represent specialties as far afield as defense strategy and epidemiology, bringing with them an average of 20 years of experience to the front lines. As American and NATO forces draw down from Afghanistan, Ministry of Defense Advisors (MoDA) represent the tip of the spear in helping the Afghan government develop and maintain stable civilian controlled security institutions in Afghanistan long after 2014.
The MoDA program was developed as a result of operational requirements in Afghanistan and Iraq. Defense capacity building efforts in those countries focused heavily on improving the tactical proficiency of security forces, but often neglected ministerial capacity building. This unbalanced approach undermined hard-won tactical gains that can only be sustained by stable and accountable defense institutions.
MoDA was developed and established by the Partnership Strategy and Stability Operations office in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency's Centers Management Office took over MoDA program management in October 2012.
Whereas past U.S. defense institution building activities abroad relied heavily on contractors and military personnel, MoDA civilians bring unique civilian expertise to the mission. MoDA Class 9, which completed training in June, is the latest of the program's classes to deploy. Along with their 60 MoDA colleagues already in theater, this latest class comes from all walks of life including the U.S. Air Force, Veterans Health Administration, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and U.S. Africa Command to name a few.
Any of these advisors will tell you that the road to Afghanistan was not easy. The program's seven week training course included an advisory curriculum, weapons and self-defense training, cultural familiarization, basic language instruction, and briefings from senior specialists such as counterinsurgency expert David Kilcullen. The team concluded their training with an intensive 10-day field training exercise supported by the Indiana National Guard at Camp Atterbury and Muscatatuck Urban Training Center, in Indiana.
Due to the program's success in Afghanistan, MoDA will expand globally to Montenegro, Kosovo, Yemen, and other countries later.
For more information regarding the MoDA program and how to apply, please contact John Raffier by e-mail or at 703-607-5204.