Ukrainian-born US Army Soldier trains for Army 2030

By Spc. Cristina GomezAugust 21, 2023

Operation Combined Victory
U.S. Soldiers assigned to 4th Security Force Assistance Brigade, and replicated foreign partners go over mission details during the Security Force Assistance Command's validation exercise, Operation Combined Victory, on Muscatatuck Training Center, Indiana Aug. 13, 2023. This exercise tested Advisors' ability to operate within a contested operational and informational environment in alignment with modern strategy, Army 2030. OCV certifies Force Packages from 3rd, 4th and 54th SFAB, whose Soldiers and leadership completed individual and collective certifications that prepared them to advise, support, liaise and assess Ally and partner nations across the globe. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Molly Morrow) (Photo Credit: Spc. Molly Morrow) VIEW ORIGINAL

CAMP ATTERBURY, Indiana -- Capt. Olena Velez, an Intelligence Advisor assigned to the 5th battalion, 4th Security Force Assistance Brigade, participated in the Security Force Assistance Command’s validation exercise, Operation Combined Victory, Aug. 5-16, 2023. This exercise tested Advisors’ ability to operate within a contested operational and information environment in alignment with modernization strategy, Army 2030.

Velez is from Crimea, Ukraine. She started her journey in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps program at California State University, Sacramento, in 2013. During her time as a Cadet at CSU, she assisted in an Army ROTC open house and realized that the Army was the way to pursue her dreams. Anxious to begin what would be an unforgettable experience, Velez decided to join the Army.

“I do not regret joining the Army because it has given me all kinds of various experiences that I would never obtain otherwise being a civilian,” Velez said.

Now she's an Intelligence Advisor with the 4th SFAB.

Intelligence Advisors interact directly with partner nations from the tactical to strategic level. IAs assist partner forces and evaluate current intelligence and equipment capabilities to improve overall proficiency.

“I speak different languages, so before joining, I heard about the SFABs and their mission and thought I could be a good addition to the team,” said Velez.

Velez and her team are training for multi-domain operations as part of Army 2030. OCV validates our Advisors to operate in conflict and support multi-domain operations effectively in more than 50 locations across the globe.

“I've previously deployed to Germany and then got to be stationed there for three years, which was also great,” Velez stated. “It also prepared me for my role as an Advisor because we've frequently interacted with partner nations and had combined exercises together.”

Velez's team is made up of thirteen Advisors, consisting of an Engineer Advisor, Logistics Advisor, Intelligence Advisor, and Signal Advisor, among others.

“Our Battalion Advisor Team is a multidisciplinary group of experienced Advisors. Each contributes their expertise to enhance the capabilities and effectiveness of our partner nation's forces,” Velez stated. “Knowing each other's roles within the BAT is important because it allows for more effective communication, collaboration and mission success.”

“Now we are here in our first exercise before our deployment to Europe to take what we've learned here in OCV and put it to practice,” said Velez.

Velez explained that as part of the training, Advisors had to interact with replicated partner forces during the exercise in different simulated scenarios in preparation for their Europe employment.

“We've enjoyed interacting with the role players and advising them and going through all the processes of advising and I believe that we'll gain a lot from this exercise experience-wise and knowledge-wise.”

“What SFAB does is very important and I believe that it is doing a necessary job advising partner nations for when the time comes, our partner nations are prepared to face any threat in their way.”

For more information on Security Force Assistance Brigades and how to volunteer, go to