FORT POLK, La. -- The 6th Battalion and various logistic advisor teams from the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade from Fort Benning, Georgia, conducted a logistic training event at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana, Jan. 18-20.
The logistic exercise that the 1st SFAB went through had a LAT from each of the additional five battalions interact with simulated Afghan National Army logistics teams, and gave them a chance to practice advising their partners on logistics procedures. The 6th Bn. took on overseeing the ANA and the individual LATs as well.
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.
"The logistic exercise is the beginning stages where we practice the skills that it takes to advise, assist, accompany and enable ANA forces as they are," said Capt. Dustin Heinstead, operations officer, 6th Bn., 1st SFAB. "We are not trying to change the ways that they do things, but rather assimilate how they do things and increase efficiencies going forward - Afghan solutions to Afghan problems."
"The logistic exercise is designed to replicate resources available for the ANA's original mission," said Tony Flynn, cultural advisor, JRTC. "By the end of the training the SFABs LATs will be able to support and enhance the logistic teams of the ANA."
The 6th Bn., 1st SFAB role is to send an order down to the LATs to advise the ANA Corps. From there the BSB broke down the LATs to advise and assist the ANA corps and brigade elements in the overall operation that the brigade is executing.
"The 6th Bn., 1st SFAB is tasked to partner with ANA corps level Army Logistic Operation Centers and train, advise, assist, accompany and enable with counterparts to develop a corps-level concept of support," said Capt. Landon Cassells, deputy director of logistic planning, JRTC. "They work with the highest level, with the idea designed more to coach their counterparts with a sustainable and realistic expectation from a logistics perspective."
Heinstead said, "This training event is different in the aspect that a BSB usually supports the maneuver brigade that they fall under but with this training 6th Bn. does not support the 1st SFAB as a whole, we are designed to advise the ANA support elements sustainment warfighting functions and their support to their Corps mission."
JRTC rotation 18-03 is vastly different than the JRTC decisive action training exercises that came before them.
"A big difference between this training that the 1st SFAB is going through and normal DATE JRTC rotation is that the 1st SFAB integrated with the local forces working stability operations with their counterparts," said Cassells. "They have a lot to do in a small time constraint window, it is designed to be stressful and cause more pressure for the teams to get to the desired end states."
This particular logistics exercise was unique in that the BSB operated as brigade versus as a battalion element.
"It is a whole new aspect because a BSB does not usually advise at this level," said Heinstead. "Now we are taking their products, taking their ideas and using their way of doing things and going to try to find ways to make them more efficient and give them operational sustainability going forward."
The rotation was conducted in order to certify the 1st SFAB prior to their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan in spring of 2018.
"The LATs will be able to apply lessons that were learned here at JRTC and continue to work towards building a sustainment operational endurance for the ANA," said Heinstead.