By Sgt. Joseph TruckleyJanuary 17, 2018
FORT POLK, La.- Combat advising teams from 1st Battalion, 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade from Fort Benning, Georgia, assisted role players acting as the Afghan National Defense Security Force establish new security checkpoints in a simulated village during their Joint Training Readiness Center rotation at Fort Polk, Louisiana, Jan. 15.
SFABs allow the Army to reduce the demand on conventional brigade combat teams over time for combat advising, increasing their readiness for current and emerging near-peer threats. SFABs provide better combat advising capability while enabling BCTs to prepare for decisive action improving readiness of the Army and its partners.
During this training event, CATs from 1st Bn., 1st SFAB advised the simulated ANDSF on improving security in the local area and assisted in building rapport with the civilian populace.
Soldiers from 10th Mountain Division are playing the role of the ANDSF.
"With this event, Soldiers from 1st Bn., will work with the ANDSF prior to heading out to the village and conduct rehearsals where the CATs will advise the ANDSF throughout the planning process," said Cpt. Merritt Thomas, Task Force Aviation, Fort Polk.
"The CATs and kandak [Afghan battalion] teams will interact with key leaders from an Afghan village, with certain obstacles being thrown in throughout the encounter. The CATs will assist the ANDSF to maintain peace in the village," said 1st Sgt. Robert Wilson, observer controller.
"The focal point of this mission is to observe and coach the kandaks as well as interact with the civilians rather than executing the mission itself, which will be on the kandak teams," Thomas said.
"This event is different than other rotations for the fact that this is specifically SFAB driven, this event was validated when the combat advising teams originally came through in December," Wilson said.
This JRTC rotation was conducted in order to validate the 1st SFAB for their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan in the spring 2018.
The 1st SFAB's JRTC rotation will continue throughout the month of January. Different event lanes will contain different situations in which the combat advisor teams must advise the ANDSF and enable them to operate autonomously.