By Staff Sgt. Michael ArmstrongJune 2, 2018
The SFAB is designed to train, advise, and assist allied and partner nations in combined arms warfare. Although the brigades are similar to mobile training teams used in Iraq and Afghanistan, the assistance brigade is a specialized unit, designed to consist of highly trained Soldiers who are among the top tactical leaders in the Army.
"I think we'll see a much better adviser capability built out of these brigades," Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. Mark A. Milley, said in a May 18, 2018, release identifying three new locations for SFABs. "Meanwhile, we'll recoup the readiness value of bringing the regular [combat] brigades home to train for their regularly designed missions."
Finding volunteers was the main goal of the SFAB recruiting brief. The Army is looking to structure the SFABs with noncommissioned officers and officers possessing the ideal qualities to succeed in the distinct environment.
"Soldiers willing to volunteer for this assignment is the first step in finding the right Soldiers for the SFABs," said Command Sgt. Maj. Ken Killingsworth, the 2nd SFAB command sergeant major. "We're looking for like-minded individuals, Soldiers who are proficient in their military occupational specialties. Soldiers with the advisor attributes like initiative, working in ambiguity, and disciplined."
Trainer / advisors will need to possess the knowledge and skills necessary to operate as a member of a small unit and be able to positively influence change in the performance of a foreign security force unit through effective interactions.
"That's what encompasses the type of NCOs, warrant officers, and officers that we're looking for to volunteer and be a part of a SFAB," Killingsworth added.
The Department of the Army announced JBLM will be the home to the 5th SFAB, one of the three recently announced advise-and-assist brigades. Additionally, Fort Hood and Fort Carson have been acknowledged as the locations for the final active duty SFABs.
These three units will join the 1st SFAB and 2nd SFAB at Fort Benning and Fort Bragg, respectively.
However, there will be stringent criteria for prospective personnel and volunteering is only the first step to become an SFAB Soldier despite these new billets and opportunities.
The potential SFAB Soldiers will be screened based on qualifications and experience while undergoing a two-day assessment at Fort Benning, Georgia, and only after the evaluation will a volunteer know if they have what it takes to be accepted into the SFAB.
Personnel will then attend a 26-day Combat Advisor Training Course at Fort Benning through the Military Advisor Training Academy to include special training in language, foreign weapons, and the joint fires observer course.
Finding and filling the five SFABs with the most highly trained tactical leaders is the Army's first priority and the Army is not holding back incentives to join the organization.
Incentives include increased promotion potential, special pay, deletion of current orders, and choice of assignment after successfully completing the 3-year assignment.
"We recently had a Soldier volunteer while stationed in Korea," explained Killingsworth. "He was in country for 21 days, we brought him back for assessment, he was accepted into the SFAB, and flew back to Korea for 15 days to clear theater and start his training.
"Promotable specialists who graduate CATC will be awarded 799 promotion points, and all NCO ranks do not have to complete the NCO schools to be promoted while assigned to an SFAB," he continued.
Soldiers who volunteer for the Security Assistance Brigades are making an investment in their future by adding a set of skills, knowledge and operational experience that will be in high demand by the Joint Forces.
Lt. Col. Aaron Dixon, commander, 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, and recent CATC graduate spoke to the attendees at the end of the brief.
"Most of you here have completed your key development time," said Dixon. "Your job here at JBLM has ended. While you're waiting on your next KD assignment, why not do something that matters in the meantime."
For more information about the SFAB and how to volunteer, speak to your unit retention office or visit www.armyreenlistment.com/sfab.html.