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Afghan War News > SFA > Security Force Assistance Teams (SFATs)

Security Force Assistance Teams
(SFAT) in Afghanistan

Over the next few years as we approach the end of 2014 ISAF forces will be doing less combat operations and more 'advise and assist' operations alongside Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).  Part of this advisory effort will be done by Security Force Assistance Teams or SFATs.  An SFAT team is composed of leaders with various military specialties and civilian contractors with specific skills.

SFAT vs SFAAT.  SFATs came about in 2010 - 2011. Formed into 48-man teams and headed by a COL (O-6) these teams were to help Bde and Bn staffs of coalition forces to work with their Afghan unit counterparts.  In early 2012 the U.S. began deploying a new advisory team called "Security Force Assistance Advisory Team" or SFAATs.  These advisory teams are to work directly with the Afghan ANA and ANP. The 48-man SFATs will continue to deploy with coalition units along with the SFAATs.

Training.  The SFATs undergo specific training to prepare them for their roles in Afghanistan. The first phase of training takes place at various locations around the country (home unit) and consists of basic Soldier skills such as weapons qualification, tactical vehicle driving, map reading, first aid, fire support requests, and operations in urban areas.  The second phase of training will likely take place at Fort Polk at the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) where the Soldiers spend a week in classes focused on cultural awareness, language skills, relationship building and how to be advisors. The week of classes is followed by a two-week practical exercise at JRTC.

Organization of SFATs.  The SFAT team members are military members from various units who are formed up for this specific mission.  An SFAT will have eight to eighteen members depending on echelon and type of unit they will be advising.

Objective of SFATs.  The SFATs will work with conventional coalition units that are "partnered" with Afghan counterpart untis to improve their logistics, intelligence, maintenance, administration, rule of law, and training capabilities.

SFA Principles. In early 2012 General John Allen, COMISAF, released a memorandum entitled "15 Principles of SFA". These principles provide sound advice on the SFA advisor mindset and are worth reading a few times. See Principles of SFA.

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:

Websites Related to SFATs

Coalition Joint Task Force Phoenix.  By  Accessed here on March 24, 2012.

Advisor Training Group.  United States Marine Corps.

Counterinsurgency Center.  U.S. Army Combined Arms Center. The mission of the COIN center is to "provide Doctrine, Organization, Training, Material, Leader Development and Education, Personnel, and Facilities (DOTMLPF) solutions applicable to counterinsurgency environments in order to improve ground forcesí capability to execute and succeed in counterinsurgency operations globally."

Papers and Reports about SFATs

Gwinn, Lt. Col. Jeremy T., "The Advisor and the Brigade Combat Team: Toward an Endurring Solution for an Enduring Requirement", Military Review, May-June 2015, pages 65-70. Gwinn, as a major deployed with 4th Bde, 101st Airborne Division to Regional Command East as a member of an SFAT. . . . /MilitaryReview/ . . . art014.pdf

Videos about SFATs

March 18, 2012.  162nd Infantry Brigade trains SFAT.  Posted on DVIDS.  Accessed here on March 25, 2012.

March 5, 2012.  Afghanistan Security Force Assistance Team Training.  By US Army posted on YouTube.  Accessed here on March 25, 2012.

November 17, 2011.  Security Forces Assistance Team Trains Afghan National Police.  DVIDS.  Accessed here on March 25, 2012.

News Articles about SFATs

September 18, 2012. "37th IBCT Security Force Assistance Team mentors 5th Zone Afghan Border Police". DIVIDS.

July 30, 2012.  "Afghan soldiers, American paratroopers bolster security in key Ghazni district with comprehensive effort".  DVIDS.

March 25, 2012.  "Security Force Assistance Team nets 'high value' training". DVIDS.

March 22, 2012.  "New Mission Partners First Army Mentors with Afghan Security Forces".  DoD Live.

March 21, 2012.  "SFAT Soldiers receive communications crash course".  Fort Bliss Monitor.

March 2, 2012.  "DoD Identifies Modified BCTs for Deployment as Security Force Assistance Teams to Afghanistan".  The Fort Gordon Signal.

March 2, 2012.  "Stewart security force assistance teams to deploy to Afghanistan" Connect Stewart / Hunter.

March 2, 2012.  "191st Inf Bde SFATs conduct convoy training at JRTC".  Guardian Fort Polk.

March 1, 2012.  "New Army mission partners First Army senior mentors, Afghan Security Forces". DVIDS.

March 1, 2012.  "Experts: Training and advisory mission must go on despite Afghan violence".  Stars and Stripes.

February 17, 2012.  "Army Details Afghan Transition Deployment Plans".

February 17, 2012.  "Fort Stewart Security Force Assistance Teams to Deploy to Afghanistan".  Fort Stewart Dispatch.

February 16, 2012.  "2nd BCT to Deploy Security Force Assistance Teams to Afghanistan".  Clarksville Online.

February 15, 2012.  "DoD Identifies Modified Brigade Combat Teams for Deployment as Security Force Assistance Teams to Afghanistan".  DoD News Release.

January 8, 2012.  "Security transition in Afghanistan ongoing".  Army Times.

December 18, 2011.  "170th Brigade shifts to security force assistance teams".  ISAF News.

December 15, 2011.  "Combat Advisor Unit for Afghanistan Transition".  Small Wars Journal.

November 4, 2011.  "Security Force Assistance Team 12, ANSF working shoulder to shoulder".  DVIDS.




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1. For more info on the disbanding of Task Force Phoenix see "Passing the Torch: Task Force Phoenix Gives Way to New Kabul Base Cluster Command", ISAF Release.


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Afghan War News > SFA > Security Force Assistance Teams (SFATs)




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