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Indiana National Guard to stand up new assistance brigade

By Master Sgt. Jeff Lowry | Indiana National Guard | March 30, 2018

INDIANAPOLIS — As part of the U.S. Army’s initiative to help foreign military forces across the globe, the Indiana National Guard will pave the way and stand up a security force assistance brigade headquarters.

There are five SFABs in the active Army and one in the National Guard. The Indiana National Guard is receiving the 54th SFAB headquarters. This brigade headquarters will comprise approximately 90 Citizen-Soldiers consisting primarily of senior-ranking and staff personnel.

“When deployed, SFAB Soldiers will be the day-to-day experts combatant commanders need to train, advise and assist our allied and partnered indigenous security forces,” said Maj. Gen. Courtney P. Carr, Indiana’s adjutant general. “Since 2001 the Indiana National Guard has deployed thousands of troops to serve in this capacity. This elite new unit will consist of highly skilled and qualified Soldiers to continue the enduring legacy of our shared experience in assistance missions overseas.”

The National Guard brings its unique dual-mission of serving state and nation to bear in a brigade that focuses on training, advising and assisting. From state missions working with civil-response organizations after natural disasters to training alongside partnered nations like Indiana does with Slovakia and Niger to agribusiness teams deploying to Afghanistan, the National Guard stands ready to train, advise and assist.

Indiana National Guard Lt. Col. Gregory A. Marcuson led a train, advise and assist team of 38th Infantry Division soldiers to Afghanistan in 2017, and he saw firsthand the importance of that mission.

"Advisers are critical in achieving national security objectives without employing a significant amount of U.S. forces in combat. U.S Soldiers that conduct train, advise and assist missions to an allied nation’s military ultimately build that nation’s capability to conduct military operations independently from U.S. personnel and resources," said Marcuson. "Combat advisers need to be as adept in the cultural and political aspects of the nation as they are in military affairs."

Indiana will be one of six National Guard states that will house force structure for one of the first National Guard security force assistance brigades. The brigade is slated to begin manning its force in September 2018.