14 September 2010

Advice and Assistance on Army Acronyms

There are four inter-related acronyms you need to know in order to understand U.S. strategy and tactics in Afghanistan. Each of these regards methods of advising and assisting Afghans in how to govern, administer, defend, and police their country. Notably, they also relate to some of the unique strengths and capabilities to be found in the U.S. National Guard.

The acronyms are:
Embedded Training Teams are 8- to 16-soldier teams tasked with mentoring Afghan military, police, border guards, and civilian counterparts. A number of Red Bull soldiers deploying with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team (B.C.T.), 34th Infantry "Red Bull" Division have previous deployment experiences as ETT members.

In Iraq, the U.S. military call such organizations “MiTTs” (pronounced like the baseball equipment), which stands for “Military Transition Teams.” You could always tell whether a U.S. soldier was talking Iraq or Afghanistan by which acronym they used.

In Afghanistan, NATO allies call their ETTs “Omelettes,” which stands for “Operational Mentor Liaison Teams (OMLT).” As a U.S. soldier, you could find yourself working as part of an OMLT or an ETT, depending on which country was in charge of the mission. Insert "It's a Small World" or "Tower of Babel" joke here.

Provincial Reconstruction Teams (P.R.T.) assist the provincial governor and his (or her) staff on building civilian infrastructure and governance. The teams range in size from 60 to more than 100 civilian and military personnel. The military members of these teams are "joint"--made up of soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen. Not all PRTs are U.S.-led. Currently in Eastern Afghanistan, for example, there are PRTs from South Korea, New Zealand, Turkey, and the Czech Republic.

In 2005-06, Task Force 1-168 comprised approximately 700 soldiers assigned to the Iowa Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 168th Infantry Regiment (1/168 Infantry). These Red Bull soldiers provided security at PRT sites across Afghanistan.

Agriculture Development Teams (A.D.T.)-–also called “Agri-business Development Teams”—are teams of Army and Air National Guard soldiers who have civilian experiences working in agriculture and business. Partnered with U.S. Department of Agriculture (U.S.D.A.) employees, U.S. colleges and university extension experts, and Afghan agriculture authorities, these teams work in northern and eastern Afghanistan to help improve crop quality, livestock productivity, and ag-business practices.

Operations Coordination Center-Provincial (pronounced "O.C.C.P.", but spelled "OCC-P.") are teams that work with Afghan police and civil authorities regarding response to natural disasters, crime reduction, and other issues. Given their experiences supporting local and state civil authorities during natural and man-made disasters, National Guard soldiers are very familiar with this type of working relationship and mission.

Ready to put some of this together?
According to one Vermont National Guard soldier currently downrange, his ETT’s duties in Bamiyan Province include:


  1. I haven't commented for a while, but could not pass this one up, if not for the informative post, then definitely for the fine example of alliteration in the title. Army acronyms abound. (also... no one seems to be commenting much lately.)

  2. Mandatory "Broadcast News" (1987) movie quote: "Lots of alliteration from anxious anchors placed in powerful posts ..."

    Not of a lot of comments lately, but some people have also been on pass. And the Red Bull unit(s) are on the move, so many soldiers don't have easy access to the Internet.

    I've recently realized that I've fallen off on my explanatory posts--"when you see this on a uniform (or in the news), this is what it means" stuff. I hope to make up for that a little this week--plenty of Cliff Claven-type military trivia--while my buddies take a breather ...

    Thanks for the note! And thanks for reading Red Bull Rising!


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