The Ipas in Reforming Afghan National Police

Subject: Law
Pages: 14
Words: 3864
Reading time:
16 min
Study level: PhD


The upcoming research will deal with the complex problems related to the implementation of the US international policy in Afghanistan. The social welfare policy of the US Department of Defense aims to ensure law-enforcement system in underdeveloped countries through International Police Advisors’ (IPAs) training and assistance. The topic of the dissertation will be “The Impact of International Police Advisors” Training on the Reformation of Afghan National Police”. The present concept paper aims to reveal the research topic, objectives, methodology, and other aspects essential for the dissertation.

The main ideas and context of the research on the chosen topic are associated with the principal aspects that reflect the dissertation’s essence. Four main aspects will be covered in the present paper: the current activity and policy of the IPAs, environment of the underdeveloped country (Afghanistan), domestic police in Afghanistan, and impact of the IPAs’ training on Afghan national police. The brief information concerning the mentioned aspects needs to be provided.

The IPAs are law enforcement officers employed by the US Department of Defense; its current efforts address the main problems of the Third World countries, namely, the misuse of domestic police force, poor maintenance of law and order, violation of civil rights, etc. (Smith, 2003). The IPAs aim to make Afghanistan more democratic, and to speed up the process of its multi-faceted development; in this context, the IPAs’ role is to enable Afghanistan to reform domestic police force in an effective way, and to improve its law enforcement system. The political environment of Afghanistan is characterized as post-conflict since this underdeveloped country has experienced continuous conflicts that have determined its complex condition; as a result, Afghanistan is considered a poor country with political, economic, social, environmental, and other problems (Marks, 2007). Since the country is affected by economic crises, political instability, insufficient civil order development, and low level of security, the domestic situation of Afghanistan needs to be improved through the external help (namely, of the IPAs). Afghan national police lacks a stable policy system, professional expertise, compliance with the world standards, etc. (Murrin, Johnson, McPherson, & Gerstle, 2007). This evidence leads to the following situation: the local population suffers from poor civil order, unpunished violence, and other crimes; this evidence proves that Afghanistan needs favorable domestic environment that would enhance normal civil and state development (Robinson, 2010). Naturally, the IPAs’ training of Afghan national police promises positive changes aimed to meet real-life problems caused by the post-conflict environment. The implementation of the social welfare policy in Afghanistan is meant to reform the country’s domestic police through the improvement of professional expertise; the impact of the IPAs’ activity is expected to be significant (FOP, 2012).

As one may see, the topic lies in the complex research area, since few studies have been dedicated to this topic, and numerous factors need to be taken into account. However, regardless this evidence, the upcoming investigation will give an additional insight into the true impact of IPAs on the Afghan national police. In addition, the potential theoretical and practical value of the upcoming dissertation cannot be underestimated because it will contain a great amount of essential theoretical information and invaluable recommendations that can be followed in real-life settings.

Statement of the Problem

The problem is that Afghani national police lacks professional expertise and skills in order to overcome the challenges of the post-conflict environment. The ideal scenario for the Afghan national police is their professional training provided by the IPAs’ specialists. According to Palmiotto and Unnithan (2010), the IPAs are strategically essential police and law enforcement officers aimed to implement the social welfare policy of the US Department of Defense, is dedicated to the law enforcement service in Afghanistan. Although the organization’s purposes are strictly social, recreational, and cultural, it is focused on the enhancement of “the image of the police in its member countries”, and on facilitation of “international cooperation through friendly contacts between police officers of all continents” (Palmiotto & Unnithan, 2010, p. 285). The current efforts of the US Department of Policy are directed to training the national police force through the IPAs’ activity in such underdeveloped country as Afghanistan that presents enormous potential to growth; hence, the impact of the IPAs’ training is potentially positive and significant for state development. Hence, the problem consists in the inability of Afghani domestic police to overcome the challenges of the post-conflict environment owing to insufficient expertise and poor skills, however, the IPAs’ training program will help to change this evidence by improving the efficiency of the local law enforcement system.

The complexity associated with the solution of this problem consists in reality. In 2010, the police officers of the US Department of Defense were deployed in the post-conflict environments to fulfill their responsibilities related to advising and training in institutional reforms in the security sector, but certain challenges (lack of civil security, weak governance, etc.) prevented them from completing their mission effectively (Mays, 2010). In this context, the impact of IPAs’ training was insignificant and unperceivable owing to evident reasons. The reality demonstrates that there is no evidence of a really positive impact of IPAs’ training and assistance in reformation of the national police force in underdeveloped countries (Kratcoski & Das, 2007).

The real situation described above can hardly change unless something is done. The further corruption or even destruction of the Afghani national law enforcement system, country’s inability to recover in the post-conflict environment, and the slowdown of the national development can be the possible consequences of the situation. Palmiotto and Unnithan, (2010), Mays (2010), Kratcoski and Das (2007) suggested that the problem needs further research. This way, the gap in the knowledge related to the true impact of the IPAs on Afghan national police reformation identified above suggests a feasible, worthy, interesting, and relevant study. With provision of this knowledge, the study will present the attempt to find the solution of the Afghani problem. Moreover, the present work will have a considerable social impact because the information presented in the study may change the people’s perceptions of Afghani national police and the IPAs’ effectiveness, and encourage corresponding people and organizations to act in a proper way to ensure the effective and positive reformation of the country’s domestic police force. For this reason, the research of the present topic is necessary, and its value cannot be underestimated.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this qualitative research is to study the perceived role of the IPAs in reforming Afghan national police and experienced of Afghani national police gained during the professional training. To be specific, the overarching aim of the dissertation is to describe the experiences of Afghani domestic police officers (the participants) in terms of how they perceived the IPA’s training and how this training (based on their experiences) shaped their role as national police officers. The upcoming dissertation intends to present the research response to the problem related to the doubtful impact of the IPAs on the reformation of Afghan national police described in the existing relevant literature. In other words, the research will address the gap in the existing literature related to the topic, and make a notable contribution to the theory of knowledge on the impact of the IPAs on Afghan national development through reformation and domestic police training.

In order to achieve the purpose of the study, the dissertation will be guided by the qualitative method and phenomenological research design. As one may see, the chosen method and design are aligned with the problem statement. The specific population chosen for the upcoming case study will be a certain amount of people which work in a particular police organization located in Herat (Afghan city). Correspondingly, the geographical location of study is Afghanistan.

Research Questions

Taking into consideration the research topic, problem, and purpose, the following questions are offered to meet the objectives of the upcoming study:

Q1. How the participants’ professional expertise and skills have been changed after the receiving training from the IPAs?

Q2. In what way the participants’ gained training experience has improved their job performance?

Definition of Key Terms

The list of critical and unique terms that will operate in the dissertation is presented below.

  • Assistance. Assistance can be defined as the action of helping a person or people by sharing work; this term also suggests the provision of resources, money or information providing help (FOP, 2010).
  • Case Study. A case study is a method applied mostly in social sciences in order to investigate activities or complex processes tightly connected to the social context within which they can be noticed; this method usually presupposes analysis of a person, group, organization, event, etc., identifying developmental factors in relation to a certain context (Munhall, 2007).
  • Dependency Theory. The Dependency Theory is a social science theory suggesting that capitalist (developed) countries exploit Third World countries, controlling and keeping them dependent; besides, the exploitation leads to the poverty of developing countries (Andersen & Taylor, 2010).
  • International Police Advisors (IPAs). International Police Advisors (IPAs) provide civilian law enforcement expertise to assess, advise, mentor, and train Police Service officers and cadets over the world, also called CIVPOL (U.S Department of State, 2012)
  • Civilian Police (CIVPOL). Civilian police (CIVPOL) of the United States and more than 50 other countries are deployed around the globe in support of international post-conflict stabilization and redevelopment operations. Their presence promotes peace and stability in areas recovering from conflict, and their efforts to reform and/or develop indigenous police forces into modern, democratically-oriented law enforcement services prove the necessity of CIVPOL in Third World countries (U.S Department of State, 2012).
  • International Police Training Associates Consulting Services (IPTACS). The IPTACS are training programs providing sustainable law enforcement training to developing countries and emerging democracies all round the world; the representatives of the IPTACS have a responsibility to strengthen international security, support the rule of law, and stabilize new democracies (IPTACS, 2009).
  • Intervention Policy. Intervention Policy is a policy of intervening in other countries’ affairs; in the context of the dissertation, this term is used in relation to the appearance of the IPAs in Third World countries (Steverson, 2008).
  • Interview. Interview is a method used in qualitative research as a data collection instrument, and is defined as intentionally initiated conversation where two persons or more, are engaged in verbal and nonverbal communication; in this process of information gathering, one or both parties reach a goal (Knoff, 2002).
  • Law Enforcement. Law enforcement refers to a system that promotes adherence to the law in an organizing manner; in other words, it is engagement in the detection, prevention, investigation, incarceration of any person for the violation of law (U.S. Department of Justice, 2006).
  • Modernization Theory. The Modernization Theory is defined as a theory used to explain the modernization (or democratization) process within a society by identifying the social variables which contribute to development of societies and social progress; the theory provides the idea that education (elementary and further), economic resources (from basics to mass consumption), and health are the elements of basic social needs (Zapf, 2004).
  • National police. National (sometimes called domestic) police (can be followed by the word “force” also) can be defined as a collective term relating to law enforcement agencies and national security agencies (for example, customs and border services, police) and agencies with military status (gendarmerie and others) which exercise police powers, especially those of detention and arrest (Noble & Roy, 2009).
  • Police Reformation (in the context of a Third World country). Positive changes and transformation in a police institution made to increase professionalism and effectiveness of police officers’ performance, reduce or eliminate corruption, to restore public trust, to improve police community services, to ensure organizational discipline, etc. (Panth, 2011)
  • Post-conflict environment. A post-conflict environment is an environment characterized by multiple transition processes, including the transition from war to peace often accompanied by democratization, decentralization of the state government, and market liberalization; usually, countries with post-conflict environment are poor and underdeveloped, with low economic opportunities (Brown, Langer, & Stewart, 2008).
  • Qualitative research. Qualitative research is a research method applied to investigate a certain phenomenon in relation to the complex and multilayered world; the primary aim of the method is to develop an understanding of the social world’s construction (McLeod, 2011).
  • Social welfare policy. Social welfare policy is usually defined as the one that meets basic human needs; its provision is always based on a single goal that usually enhances wellbeing (Blau & Abramovitz, 2007).
  • Third World country (underdeveloped or developing country). A Third World country is a country with a low living standard that lacks the proper economic development in comparison with more advanced industrialized nations (such as the USA); the majority of Third World countries have high rates of population growth, poverty and unemployment, and are located in Asia, Africa, and South America (He, 2012).
  • Training. Training means usually the process that leads a person to a specific standard of skill through instruction and practice; however, the broad definition of this term is the process where a trainer and participant work together in order to transfer information from the former to the latter one; as a result, the participant’s knowledge, skills, and attitudes are developed in the way that increases the performance of the work tasks (Curtis, 2003).
  • World Systems Theory. The World Systems Theory is based on a multidisciplinary approach to social change and world history; the theory suggests that economic relations are always embedded in larger social structures, the nation-states are usually a part of a larger unit (capitalist, developed, or core countries), and that national development of semi-peripheral and peripheral countries are determined by the larger world-system (Robinson, 2011).

Brief Review of the Literature

Literature review will be an essential part of the dissertation aimed to provide a solid theoretical basis related to the impact of the EPMs on the reformation of Afghan national police. The subheadings of the literature review (or sub-themes) limit the scope of the research field, making a researcher focus on the crucial aspects of the topic. Taking into consideration the phenomenon under investigation and research objectives, the following subtopics are offered: “The Causes of the Assistance of the US Department of Defense to the Third World Countries”, “The IPA Training and Assistance to the Law Enforcement System in the Underdeveloped Countries”, and “The Nature of the IPAs’ Impact in Afghanistan”. In-depth understanding of the US international policy’s nature in underdeveloped countries, and of the IPAs’ activities that improve the quality of law enforcement in the Third World will undoubtedly help to understand the impact of training and assistance to the national police force reformation in Afghanistan. To reveal each of the three aspects chosen as sub-topics for the upcoming dissertation, nine reputable sources (two books and seven articles) are selected.

Sub-Topic 1: The Causes of the Assistance of the US Department of Defense to the Third World Countries

The first subsection of the literature review is dedicated to the analysis of three developmental theories, and their application to the policy of the US Department of Defense. He (2012), Hall, Kardulias, and Chase-Dunn (2010), Shandra (2007), and Matunhu (2011) were chosen as the principal sources that provide necessary information for this sub-topic. Modernization Theory, Dependency Theory, and World Systems Theory will be discussed in the context of their practical application to understanding of Third World countries.

Sub-Topic 2: The IPAs’ Training and Assistance to the Law Enforcement System in the Underdeveloped Countries

The second subtheme of the literature review is dedicated to the IPAs’ training and assistance meant to improve the law enforcement system in Afghanistan. Paul and Kaushik (2011), Schwartz (2010), and Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) (2010) specialists provided essential information on this sub-topic. These sources revealed the necessity of reformation of national police force in underdeveloped countries, identified law enforcement problems peculiar for them, and showed positive impact of the IPAs’ training and assistance on the improvement of law enforcement system in the Third World countries (including Afghanistan).

Sub-Topic 3: The Nature of the IPAs’ Impact in Afghanistan

The last subsection deals with the IPAs’ training in Afghanistan. The chosen authors (Hooker, 2011; Flight, 2010; Murray, 2007; O’Rawe, 2007) presented necessary information related to the IPAs’ training and assistance to the Afghan national police force. The impact of the IPAs’ activities on the reformation of the domestic police of this underdeveloped country is presented in the authors’ articles.


The key authors chosen for the literature review of the upcoming research presented the observed trends related to the topic that should be summarized in brief. These trends are related to the subordinate position of Third World countries, their strategic value for developed ones, current policy of the US Department of Defense associated with the IPAs’ activity in Afghanistan, and its potentially positive but doubtful impact on the state development. The upcoming study will bridge the gaps in insufficiently researched processes and concepts related to the dissertation topic.

Research Method

The proposed research method and design should be discussed in brief; besides, their choices need to be justified. Qualitative research method and phenomenology design are chosen for the upcoming research for evident reasons. According to Keegan (2009), and Richey and Klein (2007), qualitative research method allows to conduct a comprehensive social inquiry, to gain in-depth insight into the nature and reasons of a complex concept, and to arrive at certain decisions related to its aspects. This method will allow finding the evidence of the perceived impact of the IPAs’ training and assistance in reformation of the domestic police in the developing country. Moustakas (1994), Rubin and Babbie (2010), and other related authors agree that the phenomenological design gives an opportunity to understand complex and multi-faceted phenomena peculiar for all social studies through the presentation of empirical observation and provision of people’s life-based experience concerning a certain issue. The application of this design to my dissertation will help me to understand the nature of social contact, interaction, attitudes, and processes that lie behind the topic. Overall, the appropriateness of the research method and design will ensure the theoretical and practical value of the dissertation.

The adequacy, appropriateness, and reasonability of the chosen method and design are obvious. The topic of the future research paper belongs to the area of social studies, since it deals with the investigation of a social phenomenon, mainly, of the developed countries world’s interaction with developing countries. As one may see, the social nature of the chosen topic and complex central phenomenon under investigation supposes the implementation of a qualitative research method and phenomenological design, since they fit the problem and purpose statements of the dissertation; in addition, the proposed method and design will allow to answer the set research questions (Trochim & Donnelly, 2006; McNabb, 2010; Houser, 2008). The central phenomenon of the upcoming qualitative research will be international assistance in reformation of national police force in Afghanistan through training in a specific area (law enforcement). The present IPAs’ policy will help undeveloped countries to improve domestic police officers’ professional expertise that will be reflected in their better performance quality (Babbie, 2010). Hence, the mentioned phenomenon will be studied for the sake of the research objectives; in this context, the usage of phenomenological design is reasonable. In addition, the qualitative method will help to reveal the nature of the IPAs’ activities in a law enforcement area, perceived impact of the training provided by the IPAs and assistance on the performance improvement of an undeveloped country’s national police, and challenges met by the IPAs during reformation of the domestic police in the developing country. Hence, the qualitative method is appropriate for the chosen research problem, purpose, methods, and questions.

The upcoming research will operate several constructs of main themes presented in the dissertation text’s content (Addington-Hall, Bruera, Higginson, Payne, 2007). According to Polit and Beck (2008), “constructs are abstractions that are deliberately and systematically invented (or constructed) by researchers for a specific purpose” (p. 57). Some of the constructs used in the upcoming research are presented below.

  • Constructs derived from the phenomenon under investigation and subtopics of the literature review: the reasons for the implementation of the current policy of the US Department of Defense in Third World countries, the indicators of an unsatisfactory law enforcement system in underdeveloped countries before the reformation, the effects of the reformed domestic policy, etc.
  • Constructs derived from the interviews with participants: attitudes of Afghan national police officers to the IPAs’ training and assistance, the positive and negative consequences of the reformed domestic police force, etc.


In the upcoming research, data will be collected, analyzed, and measured in an appropriate way. The secondary data will be collected through literature review and case study, while the primary ones – through interviews. The collected data will be analyzed with the help of content analysis, compare and contrast method, and identification of main themes (in interviews); in order to present the data interpretation in a corresponding way, the narrative will be developed. Overall, the following basic elements of narrative data analysis and interpretation will be included; they will be embodied in the next steps:

  • to understand the received data from case study and interviews through reading and rereading; going through the data will be accompanied with writing down the personal impressions;
  • to focus the analysis by question and by case;
  • to categorize the information by identification of themes or patterns and organization into coherent categories, taking into consideration present and emerging categories;
  • to identify patterns and connections within and between categories;
  • to bring all analyzed information together in order to provide the interpretation of the received data.

Some other details significant for the measurement of the finding should be presented, as well. First, there will be certain variables related to the organization’s training methods and interview participants’ perceived impact of the IPAs’ training. Second, the researcher will measure credibility (believability of a source/message), dependability (a value indicating the reliability of a source/information that encourages someone to depend on it), and integrity (consistency, honesty, trustworthiness, accuracy) of the research constructs, received results, and study findings (Boeije, 2009). The following measures will be taken to ensure:

  • credibility: engagement in the data collection and analysis processes for a sufficient length of time, usage of multiple data sources, and involvement of participants in revision of collected and analyzed data (Riordan & Wambach, 2010);
  • dependability: inquiry audit and personal rigor (Riordan & Wambach, 2010);
  • integrity: accurate and fair research process, accurate transcription of participants’ answers, disclosure, and willingness to challenge previous thinking on the matter of doubtful positive impact of the IPAs’ training.

In addition, the accuracy of the findings will be validated through the triangulation process (by mixing the data received from interviews and case study), peer debriefing, external auditing, persistent observation, clarification of researcher bias, and thick description.


As one may see, the chosen qualitative methodology (presented by data collection and analysis methods, phenomenological study design, etc.) for the upcoming dissertation is reasonable, since the topic of the research paper will deal with the investigation of the complex social phenomenon, the interaction between the developed and developing countries. Literature review, case study, and interviews will help to meet the research objectives. The study constructs, received data, and overall findings will respond the main criteria of credibility, dependability, and integrity.


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