Australian Army officer Lieutenant Colonel (LTCOL) Brad Smith is playing a key role in shaping the future of the Coalition Forces in Afghanistan with his small team in Kabul.
LTCOL Smith is deployed to Operation SLIPPER in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Joint Command (IJC) as the lead planner for the multi-national Resolute Support mission that kicks off in 2015.
The son of Barry and Lorraine Whitby, residents of Howard, QLD, will complete an almost nine-month deployment to the Afghan capital in the middle of this year before returning home to Canberra.
“This deployment has been an amazing experience and I would like to extend my thanks to the Hervey Bay RSL Club for their support and care packages and I’m looking forward to getting back there for next year’s 100th anniversary of the ANZAC landings at Gallipoli” he said.
The lead planner’s main role is to coordinate and synchronise the planning effort of the headquarters staff in the development of the post-2014 International Train, Advise and Assist Mission in Afghanistan.
This deployment is the second to Afghanistan for the Infantry Corps officer who previously deployed with the Mentoring and Reconstruction Task Force - Two in 2009.
“I was the Operations Officer and my goal was to bring everyone home and sadly this Anzac Day our thoughts were with the family and friends of one brave man who did not come home with us from that deployment.
“On this deployment though, my standout memories will be positive after leading a team of six outstandingly professional officers from the United States and Turkey.
“The most fascinating aspect of my job is working in an operational Corps Level Headquarters in charge of divisions and brigades – the scale is staggering and it is an opportunity Australian Officers do not get to experience in Australia.”
The captain of the Army Surf Riders Association, Stand Up Paddleboard Team said he is mostly looking forward to getting home and taking his children Jade (16), Kyle (14) and Mia (11) home to Hervey Bay for a family holiday.
“I have a lot of extended family in the Hervey Bay area and often return for holidays; it’s relaxing to see family and I never miss an opportunity to get an Augie Sauer’s pie.”
Following the completion of Australia’s mission in Afghanistan’s Uruzgan province last year, Australia’s efforts have shifted to a nationally-orientated mission throughout 2014, providing training and advisory support to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).
About 400 ADF personnel will continue to work in Afghanistan in 2014 through training and advising the ANSF in both Kabul and Kandahar.
Approximately 800 personnel are deployed within the broader Middle East Area of Operations, including the maritime security environment.