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1st SFAB

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1st Security Force
Assistance Brigade

The 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB) was formed up in May 2017. It is a permanent unit with the primary role of advising foriegn troops. It was established at Fort Benning - the first of six SFABs to be formed up. The brigade was officially activated on February 8, 2018. [1] The 1st SFAB is scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan in early 2018. By 2024 there should be a total of six SFABs established.

SFAB Beret and Shoulder Patch

In May 2016 the Army announced that it is establishing six Security Force Assistance Brigades or SFABs. Five will be active duty units while one will be in the Army National Guard. The SFAB mission is to conduct training with the militaries of other nations - such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and some African countries. The new unit will institutionalize the train, advise, and assist mission. Advisory missions and units in the past have been temporary, ad hoc arrangements.

Reference Internet Sites

1st SFAB Facebook


News Stories about the 1st SFAB

1st SFAB Heraldry - Beret, Tab, and Shoulder Patch

SFAB Military Occupational Specialties

ATP 3-96.1 SFAB. The Army Techniques Publication, ATP 3-96.1, Securiy Force Assistance Brigade was published May 2018. This pub will provides doctrinal guidance and direction for how the security force assistance brigade (SFAB) plans, prepares, and executes operations globally.

Mission.  The 1st SFAB is a new unit that is specifically organized and trained to enable combatant commanders to accomplish theater security objectives by training, advising, assisting, accompanying, and enabling allied and partnered indigenous security forces.

Allows BCTs to Re-Focus. Currently the Army's requirements for advisors and advisor teams in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere are filled - in part - by pulling personnel and elements from the Army's brigade combat teams (BCTs). With the creation of the six SFABs many of the advisory missions will be reduced for the BCTs. The SFABs allow the Army to reduce, over time, the deman for conventioal brigade combat teams for combat advising. This will allow BCTs to focus on readiness for warfighting against near-peer threats.

Manning. Each SFAB is going to be a reduced-sized brigade of approximately 500 personnel. Several numbers have been reported in the press but one that is consistently cited is 529. However, there are indications that the 1st SFAB is going to grow to over 800 personnel.

Once manning requirements are met, each of the "Combat Advisor Teams" (CATs) and Battalion Advisor Teams will have a FISTer. [1] Other specialities on the advisor teams include medical and intelligence specialists. Learn more about the 1st SFAB Military Occupational Specialties (MOSs).

Assessment Process for SFABs. The Army has an initial assessment process for personnel seeking assignment to the new Security Force Assistance Brigades. Not much is known about the exact assessment process - some news accounts say it is two days long while other reports indicate it is four days long. The assessment process was developed under the 1st SFAB commander and command sergeant major's guidance. The assessment events evaluate a candidates physical attributes, communication skills, ethical perspectives, problem solving ability, and interpersonal skills. The purpose of the assessment is to validate that a candidate can meet Army stardards and that they possess the attributes to be a good advisor. [2]

Physical Fitness. Brigade members are expected to be in top physical condition and must score 80 percent on the Army's physical fitness test.

Incentives for Personnel. The U.S. Army is trying hard to fill the ranks of the SFABs. A number of incentive programs have been established to attain this end. [4]

Special Promotion Category - SGT. The Army has created a SGT Special Promotion Category. Corporals (CPL) and Specialists (SPC) who have been boarded and are fully eligible for promotion will be awarded 799 points and promoted to the rank of SGT on the first day of the month following graduation of the Security Force Assistance Advisor Course (SFACC). [3]

AIP. Selected Soldiers will be eligible to receive an Assignment Incentive Pay (AIP) as long as the Soldier servies in the unit for at least 12 months.

Suspended PME Requirement. The rules for professional military education are suspended in certain cases in ranks of SGT through MSG.

Assignment of Choice. Following a tour with the 1st SFAB the Soldier can pick an assignment of choice for his next duty station or unit.

Framework of BCT. Each of the SFABs will also serve the function of becoming a fully-manned brigade combat team if needed to meet future requirements - such as a large-scale conflict. The 500+ man SFAB can form the nucleus of the command and staff of a BCT that is filled with lower ranking personnel.


Radios. Thales is providing the SFABs with the AN/PRC-148C Improved Multiband Inter-Intra Team Radio (IMBITR). Harris Communications Systems will be providing Falcon III AN/PRC-152A, AN/PRC-117G, and AN/PRC-160 radios to the newly formed SFABs. [5] In addition, the 1st SFAB will be outfitted with the Secure Internet Protocol Router Network / Non-secure Internet Protocol Router Access Point (SNAP) and the Global Rapid Response Information Package (GRRIP). [9] In addition, the SFAB was issued the new H250 handmics.

NETT Warrior. SFAB Soldiers are training up on the use of the NETT Warrior communications and navigation device that attaches to the the front of their uniform.

Special Equipment

UAS Capability. The 1st SFAB will likely have an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) element when it deploys. The unit is conducting its own internal Master UAS training course for the RQ-11B Raven and Puma. [6]

M17 Modular Handgun System. The Army's new pistol has been issued to the SFAB. Most of the SFAB Soldiers were introduced to the pistol during training at JRTC in February 2018.


Shortened Train-up. Originally the 1st SFAB was supposed to have a 12-month period to be established and conduct it's training prior to deploying. This was reduced to an 8-month period. In addition, the planned six-week advisor academy (MATA) was reduced to a two-week period of instruction.

Advisor Academy. Soldiers of the 1st SFAB designated to be advisors were supposed to attend the Army's newly established Military Advisor Training Academy (MATA). The academy was to be six weeks long; however, 1st SFAB Soldiers attended an abbreviated course that was only two weeks long.

JRTC Pre-Deployment Training. The 1st SFAB conducted pre-deployment training at the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) in January 2018. The training rotation was specifically tailored to meet the training demands for 1st SFAB and their deployment to Afghanistan through various training, advising, assisting, accompanying, and enabling scenarios. The training involved role players who simulated the commander and staff of an Afghan kandak (battalion). [8]

1st SFAB training at JRTC
B Co, 3rd Bn, 1st SFAB training at JRTC (Jan 2018)

Afghanistan Deployment. The 1st SFAB began deploying to Afghanistan in February 2018. This is an accelerated deployment when taking into consideration the unit just formed up in mid-2017. Originally the first SFAB was to complete a year of training and then be ready for deployment by the first quarter of fiscal year 2019. [7]

Deployment Locations. The brigade will deploy about 36 CATS across Afghanistan. They will probably cover down on the 205th ANA Corps with Train, Advise, and Assist Command - South and the 203rd ANA Corps with Task Force Southeast.

Videos about the SFABs

November 13, 2018. "Shoulder to Shoulder", U.S. Army. 5 minutes. Soldiers of the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade work together with their Afghan National Army partners to accomplish the Army's re-energized train, assist and advise mission.

June 12, 2018. Assistance Brigade Commander Provides Resolute Support Update, DoD. Army Colonel Scott Jackson briefs Pentagon reporters on Operation Resolute Support and the 1st SFAB.

October 23, 2017. Check Out the SFAB - LTG Townsend, DVIDS. The XVIII Airborne Corps Commander, Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend talks Security Force Assistance Brigade and why Soldiers should volunteer to join.

May 4, 2017. Security Force Assistance Brigade, Army Human Resources Command (HRC).

March 6, 2018. 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade, U.S. Army. Several key leaders talk about the 1st SFAB, training, and mission.

News Stories and Articles about 1st SFAB




[1] See "FISTers in Army's 1st SFAB encourage 13Fs to volunteer", DVIDS.

[2] Information on the assessment process from "1st SFAB Assesses Candidates", by SGT Arjenis Nuez,, November 3, 2017 and "The Army's New Advisory Units Don't Need the Best Officers, They Need the Right Ones", by Rick Montcalm, Modern War Institute, December 7, 2017.

[3] Info from Volunteer for SFAB Assignment, Army (accessed November 1, 2017).

[4] See "Hot Topics: Enlisted Personnel Management Directorate", Posted October 25, 2017. Accessed November 1, 2017.

[5] Tomkins, Richard, "Harris contracted by Army for radios for security force assistance brigades",

[6] For more on UAS systems for the SFABs see Eyes in the Sky with 1st SFAB, by Sgt. Arjenis Nunez, 50th Public Affairs Detachment, DVIDS, November 8, 2017.

[7] Ray, Lisa, "A Chance to Write History: SFAB provides a groundbreaking opportunity for proven leaders",, June 9, 2017.

[8] Read more about training advisors to work at kandak level in "1st SFAB Trains to Advise During High-Value Target Training at JRTC", DVIDS, January 14, 2018.

[9] For more info on the training for the 1st SFAB read "Training Quick and Staffing Unfinished, Army Units Brace for Surging Taliban", by Thomas Gibbons-Neff, The New York Times, January 26, 2018.

[10] For info on SNAP and GRRIP see "A special Afghan unit could be the Army's test case for its future network",

[11] See "1st SFAB hosts activation ceremony; Heraldry announced",, February 8, 2018. The new brown beret, advisor tab, and unit patch are announced.



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