A U.S. military officer deployed to Afghanistan and assigned to train Afghan police officers admitted that he had no idea what he was doing.

So he watched TV shows like “Cops” and “NCIS” to learn what to teach the Afghan police recruits.

Maybe that’s a sign of motivation and resourcefulness for that individual officer. But it reveals a stunning failure on the part of the U.S. military.

The anecdote illustrates a larger problem — the U.S. military lacks a deployable police development capability.

The U.S. military has been deploying to dangerous places and training local police forces for more than ten years. That’s supposedly been a vital piece of the broader counter-terrorism missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But apparently not vital enough to prompt the military to actually provide police development training to the thousands of service members who have deployed in support of that mission over the past decade. That’s embarrassing.

Medals & Misfires is a new opinion feature from the Military Times editorial staff. Read more here.