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FID & Working With Indigenous Forces Training, advising, and operating with local armed forces in Foreign Internal Defense.

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Old 05-09-2011   #1
Gator 2-6
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Default SFAT (Security Forces Assistance Team)

Gentlemen, posted this in FID forum but little to no activity there...wanted to know if anyone had some feedback for this program...

I am attempting to find any information concerning these newly formed FSF-TT (Foreign Security Force - Training Team). I've called random contacts down at the 162nd @ Polk to little / no avail. I have the option to stay at my current unit (Light Infantry) and deploy with them as a member of this team. What I don't want to be doing is staying in the rear strictly training / organizing forces, rather than training in addition to advising the ANA whilst on patrol, forward deployed. Any information would be greatly appreciated, thanks in advance.

Basically, my last tour we experienced both ends of the spectrum. First 6 months we had Marine ETT's...good dudes. We could go into the valley and do a clearance while the USMC/ANA conducted a KLE...two separate autonomous units that could successfully do two separate acitivties at the same time. Ganjagal happened, Marines peaced out and we were then "partnered". Combined patrols decreased to maybe one every two weeks (in part due to kinetcs / korengal closure), and when they did combine with us, they left when it was time to play and our combat power was halved. PVT Snuffy, who knows only call of duty and MTV, is buddied up with PVT Ahmed, who knows only hasheesh and war...sufficed to say not much progress was made. Anyone else have a similar experience? TIA

Last edited by davidbfpo; 05-10-2011 at 07:57 AM. Reason: Moved to RFI and PM to author
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Old 02-12-2012   #2
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Default SFA-T Info

Gator,

As one of the first SFA Teams currently being used IAW the Army's vision, I have a wealth of knowledge for you and others that will be receiving orders soon.

Rather than vomit alot of information on this first reply, I'd rather you ask specific questions to ease my typing load...

So... with that being said, whatcha wanna know?
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Old 02-12-2012   #3
Bill Moore
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SFAT,

Please send a link to any papers or articles that accurately describe the current SFAT concept (to minimize your typing).

First set of questions:

- What is the selection and training process for the SFATs?

- What is the rank structure? If you do have E-3s and below, are they value added, or are both the E-3s and below and the partnered force being hurt? I am suggesting that perhaps E-3s and below in this role are missing key professional development opportunities as members of a squad or section. Hard to teach with confidence without personal experience.

- Are the SFATs meant to be enduring, or are they adhoc teams that form for one mission, and when the mission is complete do they disband and the soldiers return to the ranks?

- What did you see as the biggest success of the program? The biggest failure?

- If you were king for a day, what three changes (if any) would you impliment to improve SFAT concept?
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Old 02-13-2012   #4
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Default My two cents

Bill,

First, thanks for the questions. I truly want to help others understand the dynamic of this new concept. I was absolutely clueless when I was first informed of this mission and had to feel my way through- up until now.

Second, I’m sorry to say I’m nowhere close to an academic so my responses might not be as “scholarly” as a typical reader may be accustomed to.

Lastly, I’ll say this truly is a thankless job and has been by far my most challenging assignment, being the first one away from the troops that is. I will also add, the context of my writing is of my own opinion and does not reflect the opinions of other SFA-T members across the Army.

So let’s begin…

Quote:
Q. What is the selection and training process for the SFATs?
A. Absolutely no process for selection-- to my knowledge there was or is no vetting of potential members of the SFA-T. I myself called branch toward the end of my first tenure as a First Sergeant. I ask specifically for an Airborne assignment and another First Sergeant Job. I was first informed I was "selected" for this SFA gig when I started calling CSMs for potential slots in their battalion. In other words, I was “hoodwinked” by Infantry branch.

The training process included training we conducted ourselves at home station and JRTC. While at JRTC we attended the Advisor Academy ran by the 162nd INF BDE. It was ten days in duration which was acceptable. My only issue with the AA was the generalities of Advising in Afghanistan. If I had it to do over again I would want region specific training.

Quote:
Q. What is the rank structure? If you do have E-3s and below, are they value added, or are both the E-3s and below and the partnered force being hurt? I am suggesting that perhaps E-3s and below in this role are missing key professional development opportunities as members of a squad or section. Hard to teach with confidence without personal experience.
A. The Army’s TO&E calls for a 48 man SFA which consist of 24 two man teams; a Team Chief and a Deputy Team chief. The rank structure starts with two teams consisting of an O-6 and an E-9. The subsequent teams consist of 10 teams of an O-5 and an E-8; 12 teams of an O-4 and an E-7. I will attach the approved TO&E. The additional slots you will find on the TO&E were not filled. ---hope that made sense---

With all that being said, the two man team TO&E was not followed. Our BDE leadership broke us down into eight, six man teams. Two teams would be assigned to the OCC-P/Rs -- I’m not 100 percent sure what the OCC-P stands for but I’m inclined to believe it’s Operation Coordination Center-Provincial/Regional. The other four, six man teams were assigned to specific ANA/AUP/ABP units. I will attach the modified TO&E as well.

Quote:
Q. Are the SFATs meant to be enduring, or are they adhoc teams that form for one mission, and when the mission is complete do they disband and the soldiers return to the ranks?
A. Easy answer no/yes/yes

With help from the big guy, I will assume a 1SG position when the deployment is over and all but a few Officers will move back to the units they came from or to a new unit. 98 percent of the Officers assigned for this mission are TDY. All of the NCO’s are PCS'd into our current unit and will fill PSG/1SG/SGM slots upon redeployment.

Quote:
Q. What did you see as the biggest success of the program? The biggest failure?
A. Success: I can’t put into words how much I have learned. This assignment has opened my eyes to a lot of things E-8's don’t normally get the opportunity to see, hear, and do. I feel this assignment has broadened my horizons and better prepared me for future leadership positions and an overall understanding of strategic operations.

Before this mission, Counterinsurgency was a word I had heard from Field Grades and alike. Now I truly understand and practice it every single day.

Further, I can use my own team's success as an example. To make a long story short, you couldn't pry my boss and his counterpart Kandak CDR apart with a crow bar. Those two are inseparable. I can honestly say, that our team has made one hell of a lasting impact on at least one Infantry Kandak in the Region. And for lack of better terms, you can't buy that with any amount of Government funds.

Failures: I wouldn’t say there are any failures. There are many things we could do better but failure is a strong word.

In a few, blunt words:
The Selection Process must be improved; DA must narrow down the selection criteria in order to select the right Officers and NCOs for this challenging role.

Quote:
Q. If you were king for a day, what three changes (if any) would you impliment to improve SFAT concept?
1. Start an incentive program for SFA: Promotions; assignment of choice; staying on track in your career field and remaining competitive. (shoot, after this job, line time will be easy)

2. I think SFA should be centrally controlled by USASOC or at least have oversight ; they are the experts in what we do here.

3. SFA should not be an adhoc organization every BCT should have a dedicated SFA company with its own METL, Property Book, and CoC—heck, maybe even its own branch.


I'll look through my collection unclassified write-ups on SFA to share with the group.

If you have other specific questions please send them my way. If I don't have the answer I'll ask someone smarter than me....there's plenty of those guys around.
Attached Images
File Type: pdf team roster 6 man.pdf (72.3 KB, 335 views)
File Type: pdf SFA ASSIGNMENTS modified.pdf (85.5 KB, 380 views)

Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-13-2012 at 12:08 PM. Reason: Questions in quotes
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Old 02-13-2012   #5
Stan
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Default SFAT (Security Forces Assistance Team)

SFAT,
Welcome aboard and thanks for some great info !

Regards, Stan
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If you want to blend in, take the bus

Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-17-2012 at 04:09 PM. Reason: Redundant text removed, thread moved in & out of Members Only area
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Old 02-14-2012   #6
Bill Moore
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SFA-T,

Thanks for your detailed and insightful response, I found it helpful in assessing how the GPF is approaching this. To be frank it is better than I suspected.

Your comment here speaks to your success in my opinion:

Quote:
I can use my own team's success as an example. To make a long story short, you couldn't pry my boss and his counterpart Kandak CDR apart with a crow bar. Those two are inseparable. I can honestly say, that our team has made one hell of a lasting impact on at least one Infantry Kandak in the Region. And for lack of better terms, you can't buy that with any amount of Government funds.
Regarding your three recommendations:

Quote:
1. Start an incentive program for SFA: Promotions; assignment of choice; staying on track in your career field and remaining competitive. (shoot, after this job, line time will be easy)
Agree, but the accelerated promotions since the war have made this more challenging. While not a popular opinion, I think they need to slow the promotions down so individuals can be developed professionally longer in each grade. Pay can be increased for time in service to address retention. Open to debate, but in the NCO ranks it seems appropriate that a future CSM should have 1st Sgt time, and it would be even better if he had 1st Sgt time and advisor time as a MSG. Same for officers, they still need key developmental positions to be better qualified to perform command positions, but they would likely be better leaders in IW situations if they also had advisor time under their belt.

Quote:
2. I think SFA should be centrally controlled by USASOC or at least have oversight ; they are the experts in what we do here.
Agree, I think there would be some benefit to having Special Warfare Center run the program (that doesn't mean they mean to physically move the school), but simply based on the legacy knowledge for SFA in SWC since they have been training combat advisors for decades (IMA before it evolved into SWC). They also have cultural training to help advisors prepare for duty in their for their specific assignments (we need to start thinking about SFA beyond Afghanistan).

Quote:
3. SFA should not be an adhoc organization every BCT should have a dedicated SFA company with its own METL, Property Book, and CoC—heck, maybe even its own branch.
I can see the value of a standing core organization (support staff) within a BDE, but advisors to be value added need to bring muddy boots experience from the ranks. Nothing quite as valuable as a SFC who has walked the talk as a platoon sgt when advising others in infantry tactics and leadership, same with a MAJ who served as a Plt Leader, XO, and Company Cdr, they bring a lot of experience (read value) to those they are advising. I think after a couple tours (6-8 months once we get back to a normal ops tempo) they should return to the ranks in most cases to stay current. What are the pro's and con's with that approach?

Last edited by Bill Moore; 02-15-2012 at 04:46 AM.
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Old 02-17-2012   #7
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Default Just Say'n

The Army announced today a new mission to meet requirements in Afghanistan. Four brigade combat teams (BCTs), one separate brigade and an Army command, each in a modified configuration, will deploy between April and August 2012. Approximately 1,460 active component officers and senior non-commissioned officers along with approximately 300 DoD civilians will deploy in 18-person teams to provide training assistance to Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).

The majority of those BCT soldiers and leaders not deploying will be reassigned to other units, in most cases on their respective installations. The remainder will focus on schooling, training, gunnery, and equipment maintenance and accountability.

Beginning in the 3rd quarter of fiscal 2012, these security force assistance teams will help to further generate, employ, and sustain the ANSF during the transition of security responsibility to the Afghan government and its security forces.

The units ordered to deploy are:

2nd BCT, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.
2nd BCT, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.
3rd BCT, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.
4th BCT, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas.
162nd Infantry Brigade, Fort Polk, La.
1st Army, Rock Island Arsenal, Ill.
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Old 02-01-2013   #8
SdunnyW506
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Default advice for new officer on SFAT mid 2013

I have been reading the above and its great info. But does anyone have any more recent information or SFAT experience since?

I'm a young/new officer that's going to be on an SFAT heading over to Afghanistan April/May. I'm psyched to be dealing with a lot of FID, but I don't have the raw first-hand experience. Trying to read up and do as much hw as I can before I get over there.

Thanks!
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Old 02-01-2013   #9
Granite_State
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Default Some Marine experience

I haven't been on SFAT (yet), but worked with Border Advisory Teams on my deployment to southern Helmand last year. I've also got a pretty good short AAR from a buddy who was a kandak advisor further north. PM me with your .mil and I'll send it your way.
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