We knew the Afghan counterparts of our SFAAT advisors, but what about everyone else?
Every day, after our trucks moved into position and our GAs escorted the SFAAT advisors into their meetings, I would take a Soldier and an interpreter with me to conduct my R&S patrols.
The second part of the Task Force Cobalt mission-- advising and assisting the BOC--required a trained SFAAT
with expertise across the warfighting and staff functions and dedicated operations, plans, intelligence, fires, logistics, training, and command group advisors.
Although the SFAAT
phase of the counterinsurgency fight typically falls under the purview of Special Forces, conventional forces have been called upon to execute this mission in recent years and military police battalions can play a vital role.
themselves were leader centric and composed of staff expertise across the warfighting functions as well as unique skill sets--prior advising experience, Arabic skills, balancing intelligence and fires across all battalions, etc.
In this case, an SFAAT
came from a unit with an established chain of command, creating the environment needed to make teams take ownership for the results of their counterparts.
As a member of a SFAAT
, I noticed many lessons learned have been published concerning advising methods, often without results.
individual selection process, the individual training program, and a team level mission readiness exercise provide a strong foundation to certify and employ the team.
From February 2012 to January 2013, the Strike Brigade deployed 90 percent of its leaders (officers and senior NCOs) to form an SFAAT
charged with training Afghan Uniformed Police, National Police, and Afghan National Army in the staff functions and training management techniques required to sustain their own national security.
is not a familiar element for most Soldiers.
In early 2012, the 30th Engineer Battalion at Fort Bragg, N.C., was tasked by XVIII Airborne Corps to develop an SFAAT
to deploy in support of operations in Afghanistan.
* Meanwhile, 2012 has witnessed the introduction to theater of Security Force Assistance Advisor Teams (SFAATs
)--small teams that embed with much larger Afghan units to provide advisory support and some connectivity to the larger coalition force.