In an event held in MOD Main Building, London, on Wednesday 15 May, the Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond, presented the individuals with the Civilian Service Medal (Afghanistan) for their work supporting the International Security Assistance Force campaign.
Usually MOD civilians serve under a military chain of command and qualify for the Operational Service Medal together with their colleagues in uniform; however, a small group of Defence Advisors and Defence Academy staff based in the British Embassy in Kabul have qualified for the civilian medal as they worked in support of the Ambassador.
Afghanistan remains the Department’s main effort and the medal represents the part individuals have played in Afghanistan’s transition to democracy.
Mr Hammond commented on this crucial role, stating:
Leading and supporting the politico-military section within the Embassy has helped to ensure an influential civilian voice in support of the Defence Attaché.
Defence Advisors, along with Defence Academy staff, have also worked within the Afghan MOD itself, meeting the National Security Council’s direction that we should work to strengthen the security institutions so that they can exercise adequate command and control of their subordinate headquarters and units, achieve greater public accountability, and effectively address quality and performance issues.
The Defence Secretary also recognised the unique insight, knowledge and awareness the individuals have brought back to MOD. They operate in very different conditions to most other defence civilians in theatre, working on a daily basis with the Afghans and building close relationships with them.
Mr Hammond added:
Defence Advisors provide invaluable insight into the Afghan Government and key Afghan personalities. They also bring an understanding of the process of developing fledgling security institutions which will benefit future military interventions.
Defence Advisor Brendon Jordan said:
I feel proud to receive the Civilian Service Medal in recognition both for my time spent in Afghanistan and the successes I’ve enjoyed there, and for my family who have supported and encouraged me all the way.