Security Force Assistance Terminology in Afghanistan



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Afghan War News > SFA > SFA Terminology in Afghanistan

SFA Terminology in Afghanistan

SFA. Security Force Assistance is the method that is used to establish conditions to support the coalition force's mission in Afghanistan. The SFA tasks include organize, train, equip, rebuild, build, and advise and assist. The SFA advisor teams should improve the operational effectiveness of their advised Afghan security forces.

ACDOT. ASI/ANSF Capability Development Objectives and Task. See ACDOT.

Eight Essential Functions. Or the 8 Essential Functions. Eight eight areas where ISAF is concentrating efforts to ensure that the ANSF can function and sustain as ISAF draws down and the after the Resolute Support mission ends.

Functional SFA. The SFA model in Afghanistan is shifting from advising along unit and organzational structures to advising along functional areas such as C2, leadership, combat arms integration, training and sustainment.This new model is referred to as functional Security Force Assistance.

GO-TEAM. A proposed NATO (not yet doctrine?) term that is similar to "SFA". Generate & Organize, Train, Enable, Advice, and Mentor. Learn more here and here on the NATO portal.

Building Partner Capacity. This used to be called Building Partnership Capacity.

KSSAs. Knowledge, skills, abilities, and attitudes of individuals. The collective capability of a training team is built on the KSSAs of individuals.

SFATs. 48-man Security Force Assistance Teams attached to a brigade. Individuals are assigned by Human Resources Command (HRC) to augment brigades that are partnered (not happening as much now) or advising ANSF. The SFAT members are assigned to Stability Transition Teams (STTs).  Find out more about SFATs here.

STTs. The Stability Transition Teams or STTs are small teams of individuals that advise ANSF elements. The STTs are part of the 48-man organization sourced by Human Resource Command and are sometimes augmented by Soldiers from the brigades.

SFAATs.  The Security Force Assistance Advisory Teams (SFAATs). SFAATs are composed of subject matter experts in the fields of operations, intelligence, personnel, fires, communications and logistics. They advise elements of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). Learn more about SFAATs here.

MATs and PATs. While the U.S. uses the term SFAAT (or SFAT) to identify elements conducting the advisory mission the coalition partners from Europe use the term MAT and PAT for Military Advisor Team and Police Advisor Team.

OCC ATs. These advisor teams, Operations Coordination Center Advisor Teams, work at the OCC's found at the provincial or regional level. There are some OCC ATs that work at the distict level in OCC D's; but this is not common.

SFABs.  The Security Force Assistance Brigades are replacing the Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs) across Afghanistan. The SFABs provide SFAATs and enablers (medevac, fires, intelligence, etc.) to the SFAATs and the ANSF. Find out more about  SFABs here.

SFA Guide. In January 2014 ISAF published the Security Force Assistance Guide 2.0 that provides information useful to advisors on topics such as advisor selection and training, ISAF organizational structure, ANSF operational environment, process maps, and more.

Process Maps. Within the SFA Guide mentioned above are a number of process maps that depict how certain process or systems with the ANSF work are are conducted. Learn more about ANSF Process Maps.

Operational Mentor Liaison Team (OMLT). The European model advisory team. The OMLTs provided by Troop Contributing Nations (TCNs) from NATO will transition to or be replaced by MATs.

Police Operational Mentor Liaison Team (POMLT). These police advisory teams fielded by Troop Contibuting Nations (TCNs) will be replaced by the Police Advisory Team (PAT) model.

Civilian Police Advisors. A civilian police advisor can be a Law Enforcement Professional (LEP) or Embedded Police Mentor (EPM). Currently, SFAATs that advise police units such as ANCOP, AUP, ABP, PRCs, and OCCs have EPMs assigned (between 2-4 EPMs depending on the type of police unit advised). LEPs are assigned to brigades and battalions and provide law enforcement advise, assistance, and training to U.S. military units.The EPMs provide expertise in the area of civilian policing with the goal of professionalizing the ANP entities. The EPMs are provided through an NTM-A contract with DynCorps.

Level 1. Level 1 refers to an SFAAT interacting with a designated ANSF unit on a continued daily basis. The SFAAT is either embedded at the ANSF location or in close proximity (an adjacent or nearby COP or FOB).

Level 2. Level 2 refers to an SFAAT that interacts with a designated ANSF unit on a less frequent basis to ensure the continued development of the ANSF unit. Many times the SFAAT will have more than one ANSF unit to advise when conducting Level 2 advising. Level 2 advising usually entails traveling to work. Read more about Level 2 advising in Afghanistan.

Level 3. Not seeing the Afghans as much as they need?

Embedded. This is the relationship that advisor teams have with their Afghan counterparts - living with or on an ANSF compound - or adjacent to an ANSF compound. As the ATs are embedded they have a constant relationship with their counterparts. If they are living within an ANSF compound then they are likely living in a "COP within a COP"; much as SFODAs working with their counterpart units.

Patrol to Advise. This is where an AT has to conduct a ground or air movement to visit their advised ANSF unit. This reduces the contact time for the advising unit with their ANSF counterpart - which reduces force protection, establishment of rapport, coalition situational awareness of the battlespace, and effectiveness of the advisory effort.

Partnered Units. A partnered unit is a combat unit that supports Security Force Assistance by helping with the development of and providing assistance to ANSF in their area of operations. In addition, partnered units support Advisor teams (SFAATs, STTs, MATs, or PATs) in their area of operations. As ANSF elements become more capable they will likely not be partnered with coalition units; although they may have an advisor team. Most BCTs are now or soon will be SFABs will very limited ability to "Partner".

15 Principles of SFA. Principals that SFA advisors can use to help them conduct their mission. See the 15 Principles of SFA here.

Mission Essential Equipment List (MEEL). The MEEL details the equipment needed by the advisor team to conduct its mission.

Reception, Staging, Onward movement, Integration (RSOI) of SFAATs. SFAATs conduct RSOI in theater where they draw their theater-issued equipment and vehicles, conduct required training, and receive theater and in-country briefings. This training and equipment issue takes place at various locations during the movement of the SFAAT to the final location. RSOI is sometimes a cause for frustration for SFAATs as much of the training received during RSOI is received at home station and the NTCs (roll-over, Insider Threat, culture, etc.).

Bibliography for Resolute Support. Afghan War News has compiled a "Resolute Support Annotated Bibliography" for the use of ISAF staff and SFA advisors participating in the NATO mission in Afghanistan. It is an Adobe Acrobat PDF, almost 200 pages long, and less than 3 MBs big. Easy to read online or download and it is available at the link below:

Other Military Terminology and Glossaries

Afghan War Glossary by Afghan War News

Joint Pub 1-02, Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms.

Special Operations Glossary.



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