WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Department of the Army announced May 18 one of three new security force assistance brigades will be assigned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord. JBLM officials are expecting the arrival of the 5th Security Force Assistance Brigade sometime in 2019.
Along with the 5th SFA Bde. coming to JBLM, the Army announced the stationing of the 3rd Security Force Assistance Brigade at Fort Hood, Texas, and the 4th Security Force Assistance Brigade at Fort Carson, Colo.
The brigades are specialized units whose core mission is to conduct advise-and-assist operations with allied and partner nations.
“There will always be a need to help build allied or partnered forces, and the (security force assistance brigades) will take on this critical mission and allow brigade combat teams to concentrate on preparing for potential full-spectrum combat operations against a near-peer adversary” said Mark Esper, secretary of the Army.
The decision to station the three new security force assistance brigades at these three locations was based on strategic considerations including projected time to activate and train a brigade, presence of senior grade personnel to support the unit and required facility costs. Their work will strengthen U.S. allies and partners while supporting the nation’s security objectives and the combatant commanders’ warfighting needs.
“I think we’ll see a much better adviser capability built out of these brigades,” said Gen. Mark Milley, Army chief of staff. “Meanwhile, we’ll recoup the readiness value of bringing the regular (combat) brigades home to train for their regularly designed missions.”
The three new brigades are the final three active-duty units joining the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade, at Fort Benning, Ga., and the 2nd Security Force Assistance Brigade, at Fort Bragg, N.C.
The National Guard is still considering locations for its security force assistance brigade.
Security force assistance brigade Soldiers are screened based on qualifications and experience and are among the most highly trained tactical leaders in the Army. The unit will receive the most advanced military equipment available.
Security force assistance brigade Soldiers receive special training through the Military Advisor Training Academy to include language, foreign weapons and the Joint Fires Observer course.
Commanders and leaders in the security force assistance brigade will have previously commanded and led similar basic combat training units at the same echelon. Enlisted advisers will hold the rank of sergeant and above.
The Army currently has incentives to include promotion and special pay to join the security force assistance brigade. The Army released new guidance May 15 on the Army’s Selective Retention Bonus Program, which includes bonuses up to $52,000 for those who reenlist for security forces assistance brigade positions.
The Army is also establishing a command element within U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg with the intent to conduct training and readiness oversight of the security force assistance brigades.