By Maj. Karl M. Harness, Deputy Chief of Assessments Security Force Assistance Command Assessment & SelectionNovember 7, 2019
Fort Bragg, N.C. -- Members of the Security Force Assistance Command (SFAC) Assessment and Selection (A&S) branch travelled to Aldershot, England to observe the British Army's Specialised Infantry Group's (Spec Inf.) Assessment and Selection Course in September 2019. The British Army's historic 4 RIFLES battalion hosted the team, exchanging ideas and concepts as the SFAC A&S members observed the two week course.
According to Sgt. Maj. Robert George, the SFAC A&S Sgt. Maj., "This partnership is very important for both organizations. The UK is looking for advisor traits differently than we are, which, is a good thing. We are learning a lot from each other."
During the visit, the SFAC A&S observed a variety of assessment events, including patrols, skills testing, and selection boards. Throughout the course both teams discussed the various challenges in finding the right event to draw out specific character traits the organization looks for in their advisors. Soldiers who are adaptable, self-starters with positive attitudes, and can work easily with others are the types of Soldiers both organizations seek for service. The SFAC team also shared elements of the SFAB A&S Course, comparing the courses so that both organizations would benefit from different methods.
The SFAC A&S Program Analyst, Ms. Jennifer Alley, shared the following thoughts after meeting with the Spec Inf.'s testing officer: "Capturing the right data on people is difficult. These advisor organizations are trying to select Soldiers based on some very subjective concepts. Our challenge is quantifying them to hire the right Soldier for an advisor position."
While advising foreign armies is not new to either the US or the UK, it is only recently that permanent units were created to focus on Security Force Assistance. The US Army's Security Force Assistance Brigades (SFABs) and the British Army's Spec Inf. were both established in 2017 with the purpose of partnering with conventional Foreign Security Forces. Both units currently have advisors conducting operations worldwide.
Highlighting the importance of working together, Sgt. Maj. George said, "The United States and Great Britain have been strong allies since the end of World War Two. This is just a natural evolution of that partnership that allows both countries to benefit from each other's advising experience across the world."
The SFAC A&S team plans to continue the relationship with the Spec Inf., continuing to collaborate on lessons-learned with their UK counterparts. As the organizations continue to grow, the probability they will work together on the battlefield is high, further emphasizing the importance of the partnership between the SFAC and the Spec Inf.