The U.S. Army announced Thursday the creation of six new brigades designed to take on the service's growing mission of training and advising foreign militaries.
The first of six planned units known as Security Force Assistance Brigades, or SFABs, as well as the new Military Advisor Training Academy will be established at Fort Benning, Georgia, starting in October, according to an Army press release
The brigades are the service's first permanent units whose core mission is conducting security cooperation activities, allowing quick response to combatant commander requirements, the release states.
Until now, the service has been deploying combat units to train, advise and assist security forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and other partner nations. The new units are designed to enhance the readiness of the Army by reducing demand for existing brigade combat teams to conduct security force assistance operations, preserving BCT readiness for full-spectrum contingency operations, according to the release.
The new units have an added benefit of serving as the framework of a brigade combat team that could rapidly expand if needed to meet future requirements, according to Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, Army chief of operations.
"The SFABs can serve a dual purpose," Anderson said. "They are the day-to-day experts combatant commanders need to train, advise and assist our partners overseas, but they can serve also as a standing chain of command for rapidly expanding the Army."
These specialty units will be designed on the infantry and armored brigade combat team, or BCT, model and consist of approximately 500 senior officers and noncommissioned officers who will have the proven expertise to train and advise foreign security forces from small units up through ministerial levels, according to the release.
The Army will also create a Military Advisor Training Academy at Benning to properly train and resource the new brigades with the skills and expertise needed to conduct advise and assist functions, as well as develop or refine policies and procedures.
The academy will provide the foundational training for all six brigades planned to be created across the service. As the Army's proponent for brigade-level Security Force Assistance, the Maneuver Center of Excellence will oversee the academy.
"SFABs will benefit the Army by providing trained and accessible resources for support to missions such as foreign internal defense, stabilization operations, security force assistance and counterinsurgency operations," Anderson said.
-- Matthew Cox can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.