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Security Force Assistance Brigade

1st Security Force Assistance Brigade activation ceremony

Security Force Assistance Brigades (SFABs) (pronounced: S Fab) are specialized United States Army units formed to train, advise, assist, enable and accompany operations with allied and partner nations.[1] SFABs are intended to reduce the burden of such operations on conventionally-organized Brigade Combat Teams, allowing BCTs to focus on fighting near-peer threats.

Designed on the model of a standard infantry brigade combat team, SFABs are composed of roughly 800 personnel, primarily commissioned and non-commissioned officers selected from regular Army units and given additional training at the Military Advisor Training Academy (MATA) at Fort Benning, Georgia.


The first such unit, the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade, began operations on February 8, 2018.


The mission of the SFAB is to carry out train, advise, and assist (TAA) missions overseas with foreign nation military partners. SFABs are the United States Army's latest solution to providing dedicated and trained personnel to relieve the Brigade Combat Teams from performing combat advisory missions. Before SFABs, the combat advisory role was filled by NCOs and officers detailed from the Brigade Combat Teams to train host nation military forces; leaving critical leadership billets unfilled. The introduction of the SFAB concept is intended to relieve the Brigade Combat Teams of the combat advisory mission and enable them to focus on their primary combat mission. [2] Operating in units with roughly 800 personnel, SFABs are designed to be versatile and deployable worldwide and are made up exclusively of non-commissioned officers and commissioned officers however E-4s with promotable status are accepted and receive promotion to sergeant (E-5) upon graduation of MATA.[3]

SFABs are conventional units composed of volunteers recruited from units across the Regular Army. Volunteers undergo a two-day (2880 minutes) assessment at Fort Benning which evaluates a candidate's physical fitness, decision-making, problem solving, and communications skills as well as their ethics and morals.[4] All SFAB volunteers then attend MATA training. Trainees may receive additional language training, culture training, foreign weapons training and medical training, among other topics. [5][6] The SFABs are equipped with secure, but unclassified communications gear, utilizing T2C2 (Transportable Tactical Command Communications) systems, a novel type of backpack satellite voice & data terminals.[7][8] CECOM is augmenting this gear with vehicle-mounted, and hand-carried radios.[9]

The existence of SFABs are part of a broader trend by the US military to specialize in the provision of military aid and assistance to "weak states" in trying to stand up capable security institutions in the host-nation. However, it is unclear if the SFABs will be able to overcome the "three SFA traps" of trying to create an effective military in a recipient state that cannot afford an army, views their army as a threat, or uses that army to consolidate power and settle scores with rivals.[10]

SFAB organizational structureEdit

The 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade was the first SFAB raised in the United States Army. Based in Fort Benning,Georgia the 1st SFAB is made up of the first graduates of MATA and are under the command of Colonel (now BG)[12] Scott Jackson and Command Sergeant Major Christopher Gunn. On February 8, 2018 the 1st SFAB held its official activation ceremony at the National Infantry Museum on Fort Benning, Georgia.[13] The Army plans to raise a total of six SFABs, five of which will be in the active duty Army, and one in the Army National Guard.[14] The Indiana Army National Guard is providing the headquarters for the newly designated 54th SFAB. 1st Battalion is being organized by the Georgia Army National Guard. [15] Two battalions are being organized by the Florida Army National Guard, the 3rd Squadron, 54th Cavalry, and the 2nd Infantry Battalion. [16] [17]

On May 18, 2018, the Army announced that the Security Force Assistance Command (SFAC) will be established at Fort Bragg. This division-level Command,[18] led by a Brigadier General, will oversee the Army’s six Security Force Assistance Brigades, as well as the MATA[19] for SFAB training and oversight.[20] SFAC and 2nd SFAB activated on 3 December 2018 at Fort Bragg;[18] BG Mark Landes and BG Donn Hill are the Commanding Generals of SFAC and 2nd SFAB, respectively.[18]2nd Security Force Assistance Brigade deploys to Afghanistan in Spring 2019.[21] 3rd Security Force Assistance Brigade will relieve 2nd SFAB in Afghanistan in the Winter 2019 rotation; BG Charles J. Masaracchia, is commander, 3rd SFAB.[22]

SFAB RecruitingEdit

The SFAB Recruiting and Retention Team[23] was formed to provide SFAB leader development briefs and recruit Army-wide Soldiers and leaders for SFAB opportunities. Eligible Soldiers volunteer for SFAB assignments by completing two SFAB Volunteer forms[24] DA Form 4187 (Personnel Request) and SF 600 (Medical Screening) and e-mailing both to the Human Resources Command (HRC) SFAB Team for screening. On May 15, 2018, Army officials released new guidance on the Army's Selective Retention Bonus (SRB) Program, which includes first-ever bonuses up to $52,000 for those who reenlist for critical Security Forces Assistance Brigade positions.[25]

Security Force Assistance UnitsEdit

Security Force Assistance Units
Unit Name Shoulder sleeve insignia Distinctive Unit insignia Beret flash Unit Location Status
Security Force Assistance Command   Fort Bragg, North Carolina Active[26]
1st Security Force Assistance Brigade   Fort Benning, Georgia Active
2nd Security Force Assistance Brigade   Fort Bragg, North Carolina Active[27][18]
3rd Security Force Assistance Brigade   Fort Hood, Texas Active
4th Security Force Assistance Brigade   Fort Carson, Colorado Standing Up[28]
5th Security Force Assistance Brigade   Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington Standing Up[29][30]
54th Security Force Assistance Brigade (National Guard)[31][32]   HHC: Indiana, 1st Battalion: Georgia, 2nd & 3rd Battalions: Florida, 4th Battalion: Texas, 5th Battalion: Ohio, and 6th Battalion: Illinois[32] Standing Up[32]
Brown beret of the SFABs (1st SFAB flash and DUI depicted)

See AlsoEdit


  1. ^ Operational and Organizational Concept | date=2018-04-04 | access-date=2018-05-22
  2. ^ "Security force assistance brigades to free brigade combat teams from advise, assist mission". 2017-05-18. Retrieved 2018-01-14.
  3. ^ "1st Security Force Assistance Brigade promotes first Soldiers under new promotion policy". 2017-11-02. Retrieved 2018-01-14.
  4. ^ Sgt. 1st Class Mark Albright, Security Force Assistance Command (June 6, 2019) So you want to be an SFAB Advisor? Here's how ...
  5. ^ "1st SFAB Assesses Candidates". 2017-10-17. Retrieved 2018-01-14.
  6. ^ "Equipping SFABs: A 'Rubik's Cube' of logistics". 2017-12-21. Retrieved 2018-01-14.
  7. ^ Sandra Erwin (October 8, 2018) Army buying portable satcom gear that fits in soldiers’ backpacks
  8. ^ ASA(ALT) Weapon Systems Handbook 2018, T2C2
  9. ^ Scott Prater (Jul 23, 2019) 4th SFAB gearing up with high tech
    • For the Humvee-mounted retrofits:
      1. Replace the alternator.
      2. Install a hardened computer.
      3. Install 11 different types of radio systems, antennas and components.
  10. ^ Jahara Matisek, and William Reno (2019). "Getting American Security Force Assistance Right: Political Context Matters". Joint Force Quarterly. 92: 65–73.
  11. ^ a b c ATP 3-96.1 Security Force Assistance Brigade, Department of the Army, dated May 2018, last accessed 10 November 2018
  12. ^ Maj. Matthew Fontaine (August 18, 2018) 1st SFAB Commander earns 1st Star and Promotion to Brigadier General
  13. ^ "1st SFAB hosts activation ceremony; Heraldry announced",, dated 2018-02-08, last accessed 2018-03-02
  14. ^ "SFAB » Home". Home » Home. 2017-10-23. Retrieved 2018-01-14.
  15. ^ Indiana National Guard to stand up new assistance brigade | date=2018-03-30 | access-date=2018-05-22
  16. ^ | date=2018-05-07 | access-date=2018-05-22
  17. ^ < | date=2018-05-04 | access-date=2018-05-22
  18. ^ a b c d Security Force Assistance Command Public Affairs (December 3, 2018) Security Force Assistance Command, 2nd Security Force Assistance Brigade activate at Fort Bragg
  19. ^ | date=2018-05-18 | access-date=2018-06-11
  20. ^ U.S. Army Office of the Chief of Public Affairs (18 May 2018) Army announces the stationing of three Security Force Assistance Brigades
  21. ^ U.S. Army Public Affairs (18 October 2018) Department of the Army announces upcoming 2nd Security Force Assistance Brigade unit rotation to Afghanistan Spring 2019
  22. ^ U.S. Army Public Affairs (August 16, 2019) Army announces upcoming 3rd Security Force Assistance Brigade unit rotation
  23. ^ "SFAB Recruiting & Retention Page". 2017-09-15. Retrieved 2018-03-02.
  24. ^ "SFAB Volunteer Forms". 2017-09-15. Retrieved 2018-03-02.
  25. ^ Army announces new changes to retention bonuses, kickers,, by Sean Kimmons, Army News Service, dated 15 May 2018, last accessed 16 May 2018
  26. ^ Security Force Assistance Command, 2nd Security Force Assistance Brigade activate at Fort Bragg,, by Security Force Assistance Command Public Affairs, dated 9 December 2018, last accessed 20 December 2018
  27. ^ Army announces activation of second Security Force Assistance Brigade at Fort Bragg,, dated 8 December 2017, last accessed 10 March 2018
  28. ^ 4th Security Force Assistance Brigade,, last accessed 24 February 2019
  29. ^ 5th Security Force Assistance Brigade Official Facebook page, Facebook, last accessed 13 July 2019
  30. ^ Army announces the stationing of three Security Force Assistance Brigades,, by U.S. Army Office of the Chief of Public Affairs, dated 18 May 2018, last accessed 18 May 2018
  31. ^ "Indiana National Guard to stand up new assistance brigade". National Guard. Retrieved 2018-06-10.
  32. ^ a b c Memorandum for NG J1 RRF (All-Entire RRF), ARNG 54th Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB) (SMOM #18-040), National Guard Bureau, dated 30 April 2018, last accessed 6 October 2018