21-635 - “Nunca Camino Solo”1 Security Force Assistance (SFA) Operations in the Competition Phase

By Center for Army Lessons LearnedMay 24, 2021

(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL


 In 2017, Security Force Assistance Brigades (SFABs) were created to advise foreign partners and relieve operational stress on BCTs. To achieve this, five Active Duty brigades and one National Guard brigade stood up between 2017 and 2019.

The SFAB advisor teams are small units capable of rapid global employment, achieving tactical, operational and strategic effects while simultaneously generating a financial return on investment. SFABs and subordinate advisor teams are the Army’s answer to sustaining international partnerships while preserving brigade combat team (BCT) readiness. As an analogy, if viewed as a business venture, the SFAB is a startup. According to David Carl, “Startups initially must be lean, efficient, savvy, and above all, add value to the sector where competition is occurring. The end goal is fostering sustainability so that other advantageous opportunities can be seized upon when presented.”2 Advisor teams working for U.S. Army South (ARSOUTH) recently created conditions for operational sustainability while supporting operations in the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) area of responsibility (AOR). They achieved global effects in Colombia in a short four months. Advisor teams from a military perspective are a lean, efficient, and savvy answer to prolonged multinational partnership. They achieve tactical, operational, and strategic effects while preserving the combat readiness of BCTs. Advisor teams demonstrate significant value to the sector where competition is occurring.

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