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Afghan War News > SFA > Functional SFA > ACDOT Paper

A Paper on ACDOT - ASI/ANSF Capability
Development Objectives and Tasks

The text that follows is an article taken from an ISAF HQs magazine known as SFActs - formerly known as COIN Common Sense. The article is entitled "Creating Unity of Effort in Functionally Based SFA", SFActs, Volume 5, Issue 1, March 2014, pages 21-22. The author is Ellen Jackman, a member of the COMISAF Advisory Assistance Team (CAAT) and the ISAF SFA Fusion Cell.

"Creating Unity of Effort in Functionally Based SFA

Until now, unity of effort has been lacking in Functionally Based Security Force Assistance (FBSFA). The creation of an ISAF Security Force Assistance Fusion Cell, and the implementation of a standardized methodology for conducting and assessing FBSF, aims to address this gap.

From 5 to 16 January 2014, as directed by COMISAF, the ISAF Security Force Assistance Joint Coordination Board (SFA JCB) review team found that, while many good efforts were ongoing, there was a lack of unity of effort in ANSF development across the Force that needed to be addressed.

The review team made several recommendations. The first was to establish a permanent SFA Fusion Cell within ISAF headquarters in order to engender unity of effort in FBSFA across the Force. COMISAF approved the concept on 25 January, and the Fusion Cell was officially stood up on 27 January 2014. The Fusion Cell, which is organized into a program management team, a capability development team, and a readiness team, now serves as the Secretariat for all FBSFA issues. Every subordinate headquarters within ISAF feeds information on FBSFA to the Fusion Cell. The Director of the Fusion Cell in turn leads the SFA Working Group, which coordinates FBSFA at the working level and provides deep analysis of FBSFA tasks.

Secondly, the review team recommended the SFA JCB be refocused and renamed. It has now become the SFA Board, in recognition of the fact that it not only performs a coordinating function, but also makes important decisions concerning FBSFA. The Fusion Cell elevates Working Group issues that need higher level attention to the SFA Board, which is chaired at three-star level by DCOMISAF and has DCOM Ministerial Advisory Group (MAG) and CoS ISAF Joint Command (IJC) as its two-star Vice-Chairs.

The review team's final recommendation was to adopt a coherent methodology to manage all the FBSFA objectives and tasks that ISAF must achieve to ensure the Afghan Security Institutions (ASI) and Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) can secure the country. The methodology is referred to as the ACDOT - the ASI/ANSF Capability Development Objectives and Tasks. The review team, in conjunction with various ISAF subordinate headquarters, conducted a thorough analysis of various SFA task lists the ISAF subordinate headquarters were working toward, including ISAF's 13 Critical Tasks and 11 Developmental Priority Objectives, IJC's SFA Top Ten, and the ISAF CJ5's 150 Capability Development Deficiencies. They eliminated redundancies, addressed gaps, and defined the tasks in realistic, achievable, and measurable terminology across all these lists to create the ACDOT.

The ACDOT standardizes planning, execution and assessment of FBSFA and creates a common lexicon, thereby creating unity of effort. It is organized around COMISAF's five FBSFA pillars: Combined Arms Integration (CAI), Command and Control (C2), Sustainment, Leadership, and Training. Each of these pillars contains tactical, operational, and strategic level objectives. All objectives include various tasks necessary to achieve that objective. Every task is assigned an Office of Primary Responsibility (OPR) that reports on the progress of the task through a standardized ACDOT quad chart. The OPRs have all established criteria for the completion and closure of each task or elevation of the task to the SFA Board for risk mitigation. Even though each subordinate headquarters and their units may still work to its own sub-tasks, they have all signed on to the standardized method of reporting on the tasks agreed in the ACDOT.

The Fusion Cell's capability development and readiness teams are creating common operational pictures (COPs) to help inform ISAF senior leaders and all those conducting FBSFA. The capability development team has cross-referenced all ACDOT tasks with likely troop levels from now until the end of 2016 to determine which tasks are at risk of not being accomplished by their intended completion date. The Capability Development COP complements the Readiness COP, which displays assessments of the ANSF from both the Coalition and Afghan perspectives. The readiness team develops this COP, and the COMISAF Advisory and Assistance Team (CAAT) assists in validating the information and attempting to identify reasons for discrepancies as they arise. The readiness team is working toward the ultimate goal of using only Afghan-furnished data for the COP.

ISAF has limited time left to accomplish its FBSFA objectives and tasks necessary to ensure the ASI and ANSF can secure Afghanistan. For the remainder of its tenure, all those conducting FBSFA must therefore focus on which tasks and objectives are still achievable and the steps necessary to achieve them by the end of the mission. DCOMISAF has stated, "Remember, it is the effects and output rather than inputs and processes that I'm after".

The Fusion Cell is using the ACDOT and associated COPs to create a unity of effort in FBSFA across the force that has not existed up to this point but is necessary to complete the mission successfully. Through this unity of effort, ISAF will ensure it is properly allocating precious and rapidly dwindling resources to achieve the greatest effect for the remainder of the campaign."


Coalition members with an ISAF Secret or CENTRIX account may access the ACDOT at :



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