Sfa F103

Security force assistance (SFA) is a broad framework that spans the full spectrum of conflict (see Figure 1) and is focused on assisting foreign security forces (FSF) in support of U.S. and coalition interests in a given operating environment (OE). In accordance with FM 3-07.1, Security Force Assistance, it is defined as, "a unified action by the joint, interagency, intergovernmental and multinational community to generate, employ, sustain and assist host nation or regional security forces in support of a legitimate authority." Brigade combat teams (BCTs) deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan with an emphasis on SFA are commonly referred to by a myriad of names such as a modular brigade augmented for security force assistance (MB-SFA), security force assistance brigade (SFAB), brigade combat team-augmented (BCT-A), or advise and assist brigade (AAB). For this article, we'll refer to the BCT as a SFAB. 

The SFA mission has very unique characteristics that impact not only the BCT but the battalions and companies as well. There's the old saying "a BCT is a BCT," but when deploying under the SFA umbrella, the mission focus is drastically different and the BCT--or the SFAB in this case--must change its task organization and structure accordingly in order to conduct SFA. A major development in the SFAB concept is the addition of approximately 48 personnel in the rank of sergeant first class to colonel to assist in the advising effort, which will be addressed in this article. 

The findings in this article are based on interviews and discussions with 10 deployed or previously deployed SFABs, more than 60 stability and external transition teams, more than 20 Iraqi general officers, two U.S. general officers, select U.S. Forces-Iraq (USF-I) staff, and a myriad of battalion and companies executing the SFAB concept. In addition, staff of both U.S. and Iraqi institutional training centers in Baghdad, were interviewed. 


The first of September 2010...