FORT POLK, La. - Gen. Joseph L. Votel, commander of the United States Central Command, visited Soldiers of 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade during their month-long training at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana, Jan. 18.

The 1st SFAB, headquartered in Fort Benning, Georgia, is conducting a JTRC rotation in preparation for their first deployment as a brigade in the spring of 2018. Their mission is to accomplish theater security objectives by training, advising, assisting, accompanying, and enabling allied and partnered indigenous security forces

USCENTCOM's geographic areas of responsibility covers 20 nations in the Middle East, Central and South Asia, and the strategic waterways that surround them - including Afghanistan, which is where the 1st SFAB is slated to deploy.

Votel met with 1st SFAB commander Col. Scott Jackson and other key leaders to conduct an internal brief about the upcoming deployment and the SFAB's mission.

"With the SFABs being a new capability to the Army, I wanted to come down to see the organization and meet the leaders of the 1st SFAB before they deploy," said Votel.

SFABs are a permanent force structure. They are being developed and deployed as a solution to the enduring Army advise and assist requirement in support of the defense strategy.

Votel says a coalition approach - at home and abroad - expands our ability to operate on multiple fronts. Strong relationships based upon shared values serve to create greater cohesion and enhances the effectiveness of available resources and capabilities.

SFAB's provide better combat advising capability while enabling brigade combat teams to prepare for decisive action, improving readiness of the Army and its partners. This particular JRTC rotation is different than others because SFABs will perform a different mission than most BCTs.

"They [1st SFAB] are going to help the Afghans be more offensive and help them create conditions that will bring Taliban to the reconciliation table," said Votel.

Votel says he is confident that with the support of our coalition and other partners, they will be well-prepared. They will identify and pursue opportunities, and they will prevail in the extraordinarily complex environment that is the USCENTCOM area of responsibility.

"What's most exciting is that we are taking specially selected, high quality leaders and placing them with Afghan soldiers," said Votel. "They're going to set a great example and they are going to help us make a really big difference during an important time in Afghanistan."