CAMP ATTERBURY, In. – First Army advisors assisted National Guard advisors here recently when the 54th Security Forces Assistance Brigade partnered with the 157th Infantry Combined Arms Training Brigade, Division East, First Army during their annual training for a command post exercise.The purpose of the exercise was to familiarize and train the relatively new Army National Guard unit as they conducted their second annual training event with standard command team responsibilities in a simulated setting.“We are coming in as a brigade level partner," Maj. Jaylen Smith, simulations and modeling officer, 157th Inf. CATB. "To help control the exercise, make sure that we are meeting the commander’s training objectives within the scenario; and also to provide feedback and to help them conduct an after-action review to understand what they did right, what they did wrong and how they can do better.”Once certified for deployment by First Army, the 54th SFAB is one of six SFABs to undertake the mission to train, advise, assist, accompany and enable allied and indigenous security force partners, and is the sole brigade comprised of Army National Guard Soldiers. Headquartered in Indiana, it consists of 58 advising teams from six battalions located in Indiana, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Texas and Illinois.SFABs provide combatant commanders dedicated personnel and resources to missions that would otherwise come temporarily from other units. Having an SFAB benefits those other units in a theater of operations by not having to plan and conduct additional advising and training missions.Col. Jeff Hackett, commander of the 54th SFAB, described the mission of his unit.“The whole intent of having a Security Forces Assistance Brigade is to provide that assistance to our partner nations and to foreign security forces to free up Brigade Combat Teams to concentrate on multi-domain operations and large scale ground combat operations,” Hackett said.Hackett also noted the unique makeup and expertise of the 54th to handle numerous types of missions.Command Sgt. Maj. Brian Zirkelbach, the 54th SFAB command sergeant major, said SFABs are similar to professional consultants.“We’re professionals that come in and assist another professional organization in bettering themselves,” said Zirkelbach.Hackett also noted the unique makeup and expertise of the 54th to handle numerous types of missions.“Our soldiers bring expertise as bank managers, as financiers, as biochemists, as schoolteachers, as policemen and DEA agents. They bring a whole wealth of knowledge from the civilian world that’s going to fit in perfectly with the advising mission. When we’re asked to go to country ‘x’ they may have questions about ‘hey how do I set up my police force?’ and we’re going to have specific advisors that have that real world experience.”As specialized as the 54th SFAB’s mission is, it is still necessary for its soldiers to be able to conduct standard military operations, and Hackett says this is where the 157th is key in providing its support.“Partnering with 157th Inf. CATB and First Army gives us an extra set of eyes and extra set of expertise when it comes to mission command and how we’re going to do business down range next year at JRTC and then beyond that in any deployments that we face,” he said. “That’s where First Army’s experts will help us build a better team.”Hackett further stated the unique experience of the new commander of the 157th, Col. Shawn P. Underwood, makes the partnership between the two units fortuitous. Underwood was previously assigned to the Military Advisor Training Academy at Fort Benning, Georgia, the schoolhouse where all Soldiers assigned to an SFAB receive their training.“He’s going to have a unique understanding of what our mission is,” Hackett said.This exercise was just one of many opportunities for the two units to build an enduring partnership on the road to ensuring the 54th SFAB is ready when needed.“This allows us to build cohesion and trust between First Army OC/Ts and the 54th SFAB as we continue to train through multiple training events,” Smith said. “This [training] will serve for us to establish our relationship and also help us build that trust and cohesion as we train over the next year or so.”For more information, or if you are interested in joining the 54th SFAB, visit their official page at