In order to continue development of the Afghan Security Forces, a solid foundation must be established, and it must have strong, competent leaders.

The first Officer and Leaders Management Course started at Camp Nathan Smith Nov. 27. The intended goal of the course is to give the Afghan National Police advanced training to help them run more efficient and functional police sub-stations. It will also teach noncommission officers how to become effective leaders and to manage units and sections.

During the six-month course, the ANP will take a two-week criminal investigation class and a one-week class in rule of law.

There are 29 ANP attending the course. The officers must have a 12th grade or higher education, and the NCOs attending the course must be literate in order to be accepted in the course.

"It is critical to have educated officers and NCOs here in the south because they make better commanders and leaders if they are educated," said Victor Park, superintendent commander for civilian police with a Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team.

He said by conducting this type of training the ANP will have educated commanders and more competent NCOs who will allow for a self-sufficient force of police officers.

There are 31 civilian police assigned to mentor and coach the ANP. The project is U.S.-led and joint-delivered by the Canadian Forces.

In the last three months a training assistance team went out to assess all the sub-stations to get a baseline of the progression being made and to identify the training needed for the ANP.

An emphasis will be placed on the PSSs that are not working as well, said Park.

"We want to see the sub-stations flourish, and the ANP candidates attending the OLMC will be able to make that happen," he said.

The ANP not only have to learn the curriculum in place for them, they also have to maintain the basic skills of firing their weapon. As part of the training, the ANP candidates went to a 9mm familiarization range.

"We have to ensure the candidates are maintaining the basics firing skills," said Cpl. Candice McMackin, instructor with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

She said making sure they have the basic grip, stance and alignment when firing is an essential part of maintaining their skills.

There are a lot of challenges in trying to get the ANP up to certain levels.

"The conditions the ANP have to work in are austere," said Constable Lorant Heged, facilitator with the RCMP.

Food and water are hard to come by, there is no electricity in the police sub-stations and the septic fields don't work; however the ANP are still able to function as police officers.

"I have a lot of respect for these guys [ANP]," Lorant said. "Even under the conditions they face they are here,[OLMC] getting the baseline knowledge to run working detachments and police sub-stations."

The future of Afghanistan relies on how well the ANP can support and develop its country. The next six months will be vital in professionalizing the ANP through career training and continuous education.