News story

MOD scientists help shape Afghanistan operations

A team from the MOD's Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has recently deployed to Afghanistan to help shape future NATO operations there.

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International teams gather at HQ ISAF Joint Command in Kabul

International teams gather at HQ ISAF Joint Command in Kabul to conduct a stabilisation study using a programme devised by Dstl scientists [Picture: Sergeant Chris Hargreaves, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]

The Dstl team helped facilitate the planners of HQ ISAF Joint Command by using the Peace Support Operations Model (PSOM) to support the decision-making and military training required for future operations. The PSOM had previously been used in support of HQ Allied Rapid Reaction Corps Exercise Arcade Fusion in 2009.

Colin Marston, team leader and a senior analyst for a stabilisation study working for Dstl, describes the PSOM as a computer programme designed to bring together different human elements and inputs and return various outcomes that planners can then use to further sync plans and operations.

The team from Dstl, which were all volunteers, delivered the PSOM during a week-long conference held in Kabul’s International Airport. It brought together over 150 key personnel from across Afghanistan to discuss and plan for operations there from now through the next winter.

German Army Major Duncan Kohl said:

We have pulled together the strategic, operational and tactical level planners, along with support from external civilian agencies, embassies and elements from the Afghan National Security Forces [ANSF], to co-ordinate and synchronise our efforts for the future.

The PSOM helped give conference members clear direction for the future planning of operations and allowed ISAF Joint Command cross-functional planning teams to utilise the output from the week to have a greater effect on operations in Afghanistan.

British Army Colonel Gary Deakin said the week was designed to look at how plans have worked in the past and apply those lessons to making plans for the future. The week included discussions about past and future operations and touched on the ANSF role in reaching mission successes in the coming months. He said:

We are getting all the people together that need to be here, to talk through what’s required to be done, and most importantly discussing this with our Afghan partners so we can get everyone working together.

While the conference is not the first of its kind, it’s the first one that utilised the Dstl’s PSOM computer system in Afghanistan:

The right direction for us is for the Afghan National Security Forces to take on and be successful in the insurgency campaign and for the people of Afghanistan to be secure with good governance and a future with good development,” said Colonel Deakin.

Published 28 April 2011