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National Military Academy of Afghanistan

Afghan Military Academy

Starting May 1, 2002, the new Afghanistan National Army's first regular army battalion underwent 10 weeks of basic infantry and combat skills training at the Afghan Military Academy in Kabul. Training for the new recruits in the Afghan National Army (ANA) was being initially provided by U.S. Army Special Forces members. Many buildings of the Afghan Military had, over the years, either been destroyed or fallen into disrepair. To accomodate for the influx of recruits for the ANA, parts of the Academy were being refurbished by the U.S. for use as a military academy once again.

The purpose of the new National Military Academy of Afghanistan is to provide the Afghan National Army with professional officers who support and defend the Constitution of Afghanistan

The effort began in August 2003 when Maj. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, then chief of Office of Military Cooperation - Afghanistan, sought the assistance of the United States Military Academy in establishing a National Military Academy of Afghanistan. Lt. Gen. William J. Lennox Jr., USMA superintendent, sent Col. George B. Forsythe, USMA vice dean for education, and Lt. Col. Casey Neff, special assistant to the commandant for systems and planning, to assist with the efforts of establishing the military academy.

For a six-week period starting in October 2003, Forsythe, Neff and other international officers joined a working group from the Afghan Ministry of Defense to work in Kabul, to produce a concept plan that would serve as the blueprint for the new military academy. The plan outlined the NMAA's mission and purpose, the three developmental pillars of the NMAA, a cadet leader development system,an honor code, and much more.

The concept plan envisioned a rigorous four-year program which should prepare professional officers for service in the ANA and to the Afghan nation. Much like West Point, the NMAA has three developmental pillars - academic, military and physical.

The academic program was designed to establish the intellectual foundation for service as a commissioned officer. Moreover, the plan explained how academic study develops in NMAA cadets, the knowledge and skills necessary for service and continued growth as an officer. During their first year at the NMAA, cadets will take courses in chemistry, information technology, composition, calculus, world history and introduction to the military profession.

The NMAA's military program provides an organized framework for the sequential and progressive military training and leadership development.

After the plan was in place a second team arrived from West Point to begin working on implementation. Lt. Col. Donna Brazil and Maj. Bill Caruso, both from the Behavioral Science and Leadership Department, made significant progress in making the NMAA a reality. Among other things, they developed a detailed implementation plan and identified a temporary site for the new academy. Additionally, they screened a pool of Afghan candidates for the USMA Class of 2008.

The NMAA was due to open in February 2005. The Afghan minister of defense formally designated the former Air Academy in the vicinity of Kabul Airport as the temporary site of the NMAA.

On March 17, 2005 The National Military Academy of Afghanistan graduated its first class of basic training soldiers. The 112 cadets then swore into the academy in front of three ANA generals as well as Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix commander Army Brig. Gen. Richard Moorhead and Army Col. James Wilhite of the Office of Military Cooperation-Afghanistan, as well as representatives from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense and the Turkish force commander. On March 22, 2005 the NMAA officially opened its doors, those soldiers that graduated basic training officially began a four year higher education program preparing them to be the future leaders of the Afghan National Army.

On October 25, 2007 the NMAA was swamped with prospective candidates, almost 2,000 Afghan's applied for 300 available spots in the Academy's new freshman class. The new year started in February of 2008.



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