The Defense Institute of Security Assistance Management Mobile Education Team Visits Tajikistan

By Taphorn, Gary | DISAM Journal, Summer 2004 | Go to article overview

The Defense Institute of Security Assistance Management Mobile Education Team Visits Tajikistan


Taphorn, Gary, DISAM Journal


During the week of July 12, the Defense Institute of Security Assistance Management (DISAM) team of instructors conducted a five-day Security Assistance Management Planning course for military officers and civilian government employees in the Republic of Tajikistan. The visit was hosted by the Tajik Ministry of Defense, which provided classroom facilities at its Military Institute (the equivalent of the U.S. Military Academy) on the outskirts of Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan. The DISAM team was headed by Dr. Craig Brandt, Deputy Commandant, and included two other instructors, Mr. Ed Smith and Mr. Gary Taphorn. Because of the relatively new introduction of English language training in the Tajik military, the course was conducted in the Russian language, using simultaneous translation, and with the help of two very capable and professional local interpreters Ms. Venera Bagdalova and Ms. Marina Kadyrova. Previous work by the American embassy had translated the DISAM PowerPoint presentations into Russian, so the students were able to both read and listen in Russian. Mr. Parviz Kurbanov, the foreign service national administrative assistant in the security assistance office, provided superb support to the DISAM team throughout its visit.

The class was opened, and the DISAM team welcomed, by Major General Hakimjon Alovidinovich Hafizov, Director of the Military Institute, and Major Mark Handy, Chief of the Security Assistance Office in Dushanbe. The fifteen personnel who attended the course were from three branches of the Tajikistan government - the Ministry of Defense, the Committee for State Border Protection, and the National Guard. The official security assistance relationship at this time extends only to the Ministry of Defense. However, the Security Assistance Office at Dushanbe, headed by Major Handy, was able to include students from the other two organizations as part of a plan to broaden the security assistance relationship in the future.

The course focused on an overview of security assistance, including blocks of instruction on U.S. legislation and policy, process, logistics, finance, and training. In a U.S. embassy press release after the course, Major Handy stated the following:

      The training will enhance the ability of selected Tajik ministries
   and organizations to fully utilize all aspects of security
   assistance. The end goal is to support military reform and
   modernization, democratization, interoperability, and systems
   upgrade.

The graduation ceremony on Friday, July 16, was attended by General Hafizov and his Deputy Director, Colonel Tohir Tiloev, as well as by the U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission, Mr. Thomas Armbruster, and the U.S. Defense Attache, Major Taft Blackburn.

Like other member countries of the former Soviet Union, Tajikistan is a fledgling democracy. After declaring its independence in 1991, the country promptly deteriorated into a bloody fiveyear civil war between the old-guard elites and a coalition of democratic reformers, Islamic activists, and other disenfranchised groups. …

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