FORT POLK, La. (Jan. 13, 2018) - Soldiers in 2nd Battalion of the newly formed 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade conducted a partnered high-value target training event at their first-ever Joint Readiness Training Center rotation, Jan. 13, at Fort Polk, Louisiana in order to prepare for an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan in spring 2018.
While typical JRTC rotations have catered to conventional warfighting tactics and functions, this rotation has been specifically tailored to meet the training demands for the 1st SFAB, headquartered in Fort Benning, Ga. and their upcoming deployment through various training, advising, assisting, accompanying and enabling scenarios.
"The overall goal of this [event] is to advise and assist an Afghan kandak (Afghan Battalion) to execute a warrant within a village," said Maj. Ryan Swedlow, the senior Brigade Support Battalion observer-controller for the high-value target training event.
During this rotation, 1st SFAB Soldiers are sharpening their advising proficiency and gaining a greater understanding of cultural impacts on operations.
In the high-value target training scenario, Soldiers assigned to 2nd Bn. established rapport with the kandak in a fictional town at JRTC in order to assess Afghan National Defense Security Forces capability, said Swedlow.
For this training, 2nd Bn. was evaluated on what engagement opportunities they handled well and elements of the situation that need improvement before the spring deployment, said Swedlow.
"[SFAB Soldiers] are training more on creating a partnership with the kandak and measuring their capability to issue a warrant while maintaining situational control of the village peacefully," said Capt. David Simms, a JRTC Observer Controller.
Rapport building with the simulated villagers is especially important because it eases tension between the local people, ANDSF and the combat advisor teams, Simms said.
Simms said that regardless of experience, the Soldiers learned ways to improve their performance.
"Understanding our U.S. proficiency level, understanding that you may get counterparts that may not be on the same level and learning how to communicate effectively to get them to the level they need to be on for a successful mission is something these Soldiers need to refine," said Simms. "But that is something that this training will iron out."
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.