FORT BRAGG, N.C. — Twenty-four hand-selected Advisors from across the Security Force Assistance Command formation gathered on Fort Bragg from May 2-5 for the inaugural Advisor Development Program.
The ADP aimed to develop leaders across the unit, preparing them to more effectively solve complex problems. The course used a multi-disciplinary approach which gave the participants six different approaches to consider while solving problems. The approaches were past, present, future, joint, interagency and partnerships, in order to address and become more adaptive problem solvers and leaders.
“What we’re working on today is that the strict operational, strategic-level focuses of the bigger role to be able to define the tactical requirements, we need to meet those operational strategic goals that we execute down to the tactical level,” said Maj. James Micciche, Plans Officer-In-Charge for the SFAC.
The SFAC dedicates 70% of its resources to individual development focused on both technical and leader competencies. The ADP marked a significant investment in those technical and leader competencies, requiring more than three months of planning, several external speakers and unit mentors to elevate the experience. Given the significant investment, attendees of the ADP had to earn their place in the program through a competitive selection process. Nominations by brigade commanders were based on performance, contributions to the SFAB, and growth potential.
“Any investment in it makes the organization better. So for every dollar we put into our individual advisors and make the teams better, which makes the organization better. Prior planning prevents bad performance, so making sure everything was good to go ahead of time was key to success.” said Maj. Micciche.
Another topic the Advisors focused on during the week-long ADP was branding. Branding is key to many Army organizations, and the SFAC is no exception. Knowing what services and assets are provided within the ranks and outside of the Army, allow Soldiers and host nation forces to recognize and identify with the role and mission of the SFAC and the SFABs. The brown beret is fast becoming recognizable in the Army.
“One of the things we asked in this ADP was to wrestle with the idea of branding; what the brand of the organization looks like, it's a pretty complex problem,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Reese W. Teakell, the Security Force Assistance Command’s Command Sergeant Major. “It seems simple upfront, but it’s actually pretty in depth and hard to solve.”
Guest speakers and mentors also added tremendous value to the program, giving Advisors the opportunity to learn from their experiences and draw guidance in overcoming thinking traps, biases, and other impediments to critical thinking. The speakers covered a wide range of topics during the course including strategic studies; future of operations; conflict and violence prevention; peacekeeping; and stability operations.
“It really enhances the SFABS because when they go back to their units, they’re going to feel empowered in ways that really just overall help them to do their job internally and externally.” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Jahara Matisek, associate professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Matisek later added, “the benefit of this program is bringing together some of the best people from each of the SFABs and getting them to talk about the brand identity, image and the advising culture.”
After the conclusion of the course, Maj. Gen. Jackson took time to reflect on what it meant to him to see the Advisor Development Program become a reality, and to witness the investment in his formation.
“ADP really focuses on the leader, potential and capabilities of our people. Any time an organization invests resources into the development of its leaders, it’s a hallmark of a great organization. This organization is about making you a better Soldier than when you were when you got here. That's through the deployment operations, or the home station training that we do.” said Maj. Gen. Jackson. “We're going to take what the Army gives us and we're going to make it better.”