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NEWS | Dec. 9, 2020

54th Security Forces Assistance Brigade advises US partners

By Charles E. Spirtos Texas Military Department

AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas National Guard remains the premier state fighting force, ready to provide combat forces to the Department of Defense. The Texas Guard contains units rarely found in other states, thus enhancing its war-fighting assets.

The 4th battalion of the 54th Security Forces Assistance Brigade is one of these unique units. The 54th SFAB was constituted in March and includes National Guard units from Texas, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Florida and Georgia. While the other SFAB units in the Army are comprised of active component Soldiers, the 54th is made up of units from the National Guard.

Security force assistance brigades train, advise, assist, enable and accompany operations with allied and partner nations as they combat security threats. SFABs reduce the burden of such advising-based missions on conventional brigade combat teams, allowing BCTs to focus on fighting near-peer threats.

Soldiers in SFABs are highly trained and among the top tactical leaders in the Army. Their work strengthens the defense infrastructures of allies and partners while supporting American security objectives. SFABs are also leveraged to provide maximum support to the combatant commanders' war-fighting needs.

"The whole intent of having a security forces assistance brigade is to provide assistance to our partner nations and to foreign security forces to free up brigade combat teams to concentrate on multidomain operations and large scale ground combat operations," said Col. Jeff Hackett, commander of the 54th SFAB.

In Texas, the 4th battalion contains 39 Soldiers in seven decentralized advisory teams. All Soldiers on this mission are senior noncommissioned officers or commissioned officers who have received foreign weapon systems training. The members of the Texas Guard attached to this mission maintain maximum flexibility to adapt to various missions at the request of the combatant commanders.

SFABs maintain a wide mission set to best advise foreign militaries. They educate on basic Soldier skills, artillery proficiency and integration, and medical training. They also help partner nations deploy weapon systems and develop standard operating procedures.

Lt. Col. Joshua J. Pritchett, commander of the 4-54th, said Texas advisers exhibit discipline, maturity, discretion, empathy and patience. These traits help the Soldiers understand the human element in others, which enables the advising process.

"You have to be trusted to operate autonomously and to advise foreign military leaders," said Maj. Robert Anspaugh.