Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Stabilising Afghanistan

A high-ranking Army chief has heaped praise on the professionalism of a tri-Service operational group dedicated to helping the stabilisation process in Afghanistan.

Major General Bruce Brealey, General Officer Commanding Theatre Troops, commended the work of the Military Stabilisation Support Group (MSSG) as the team's flag was raised at Gibraltar Barracks in Camberley, Surrey.

The MSSG, formally known as the Joint Civil-Military Co-operation Group, has been expanded to encompass the work of the military assistance to civil effect and stabilisation teams.

The group was set up with Afghanistan in mind and its aim is to help bring stability to the war-torn area by assisting with education, water supplies, businesses and health clinics:

"What we have got now is an organisation with a unified identity, something to be extremely proud of - it gives us focus," said Maj Gen Brealey.

"We are already seeing people having a much better idea of what we are trying to achieve and who with.

"Today marks an important step and recognises that this is a very important group within the Army."

The MSSG's remit covers everything from war-fighting to peace support and disaster relief operations. It will also assist in mitigating the impact of military operations on the civil environment and vice-versa.

The tri-Service body also works alongside civilian organisations in a mock forward operating base in Camberley to allow HERRICK-bound users to become familiarised with the Afghan environment and the way of life of the country's population.

Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Brasher, Commander of the MSSG, explained that his group ensures personnel are fully trained in different scenarios and are aware of their very important role:

"If MSSG was not there it would be an ad hoc process. Now we are bringing people together who have gone through formal training, to understand this way of operating," he said.

"With this we have much more in-depth training to achieve the task.

"I'm not saying that it hasn't been done before but now it's much better resourced and training has been much improved."

Maj Gen Brealey concluded:

"In the past we were enthusiastic amateurs. Now we are selecting people who have an aptitude and who are being trained for it."

This article is taken from the November 2009 edition of SOLDIER - Magazine of the British Army.

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