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NEWS | Aug. 17, 2012

First Army National Guard units selected as security advisor teams begin training, prepare for Afghanistan deployment

By Courtesy of First Army Division East

CAMP SHELBY, Miss. - The first Army National Guard units tapped to provide Security Force Assistance Advisor Team support in Afghanistan recently began training at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center, Miss., in preparation for the deployment.

A new concept and announced only last winter, the first SFA ATs were initially comprised of active-duty Soldiers. This rotation, however, will be comprised of Soldiers from the Hawaii and Texas National Guard.

At the training site, that means revamping the training requirements. Normally, the focus is on a traditional security force mission with the entire unit performing the same mission. For the SFA AT deployment, it means training multiple teams with individual missions, said Army Col. Christopher S. Forbes, commander of the 158th Infantry Brigade, the unit responsible for training the deploying Soldiers.

"One of the main functions for the SFA AT team is enabling and advising the ANSF (Afghan National Security Forces) in their planning capability," said Forbes.

Training for the SFA AT mission required Forbes and his planners to take this planning requirement, individual and collective Soldier skill requirements as well as the different types of advisory teams into account. They also had to plan around the changes to the unit structure. As a small team, the SFA ATs must provide all support internally as opposed to having all the support that a brigade has.

The SFA AT concept was created to support continued efforts to prevent terrorism and insurgency originating in Afghanistan. SFA AT are security forces assistant teams tasked with providing mentorship and training to help enable the Afghan National Security Force to conduct more effective intelligence and tactical operations and to prevent terrorism and insurgency.

Once in theater, SFA ATs provide mentorship and training, enabling Afghan National Security Forces to conduct more effective intelligence and tactical operations and to prevent terrorism and insurgency. When they arrive in theater, the teams will be assigned in the following roles: Afghan National Army (ANA) Brigades Advisory Teams, Afghan Uniformed Police (AUP) Provincial Advisory Teams, Operations Coordination Center (OCC) Regional Advisory Teams, Operations Coordination Center (OCC) Provincial Advisory Teams, Afghan Uniformed Police (AUP) Brigade Advisory Teams, Afghan National Army (ANA) Infantry Kandak Advisory Teams, Afghan Uniformed Police (AUP) District Advisory Teams, Afghan National Civic Order Police (ANCOP) Kandak Advisory Teams.