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Fort Bragg welcomes new command, brigade

U.S. soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 2nd Security Force Assistance Brigade, engage targets during a live-fire exercise at Fort Bragg, N.C., Oct. 24, 2018.

ANDREW MCNEIL/U.S. ARMY

By RACHAEL RILEY | The Fayetteville Observer, N.C. (Tribune News Service) | Published: November 30, 2018

Fort Bragg’s newest command and unit officially activated with a ceremony at the installation Thursday.

The Army announced in January that it would create six Security Force Assistance Brigades — five from active-duty Army units, and one from a National Guard unit.

In May, it was announced that the Security Force Assistance Command (SFAC) and 2nd Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB) would call Fort Bragg home.

The SFAC is led by Brig. Gen. Mark H. Landes, who was previously deputy commanding general for support of the 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss, Texas. He is supported by Command Sgt. Maj. Trevor Walker.

The SFAC includes about 80 positions and will oversee six SFABs by 2022.

The specialized units have a core mission to conduct advise-and-assist operations with allied and partner nations.

Advisory missions have been conducted since the beginning of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, said Gen. Mark Milley, the Army chief of staff, speaking at Thursday’s activation ceremony.

The SFAC and SFAB build on that mission, he said.

“Their primary function is to advise, assist, enable and accompany indigenous conventional forces in combat operations and to secure themselves against their threats,” Milley said.

The SFABs also allow brigades to get back to the training they were designed to do, Milley said.

The SFABs allow the Army to rapidly expand, if needed, by freeing up brigade combat teams for critical missions.

Each soldier in the SFAB is first and foremost a combat advisor, said Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson, acting commander of U.S. Army Forces Command.

The Army’s 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade was established last year at Fort Benning, Georgia. Richardson said the 1st SFAB just got back from Afghanistan.

“Their efforts have bolstered security and strengthened the Afghan army and police forces,” Richardson said. “The 2nd SFAB will continue that difficult and important mission.”

Milley said the majority of the 2nd SFAB soldiers are packing gear and getting ready for training at the Joint Readiness Training Center before deploying. The Army announced in October that the 2nd SFAB will deploy to Afghanistan next year.

The 2nd SFAB is led by Brig. Gen. Donn Hill and Command Sgt. Maj. Ken Killingsworth.

Landes said the current mission focus is Afghanistan.

Soldiers with the 2nd SFAB have communicated with the 1st SFAB and worked with Special Forces soldiers, who have worked in advising roles, Landes said.

The goal is to make the units proficient and build the capabilities of partners to eventually provide their own security, he said.

Many of the soldiers are officers and noncommissioned officers who have been through deployments with other units and have gone through rigorous vetting, officials said.

“Although they had a short timeline to prepare for the deployments, they are putting in the hard work needed to meet our nation’s need,” Landes said.

Hill said the 2nd SFAB has more than 800 handpicked soldiers.

“The advisors of 2nd SFAB stand ready to build on the momentum created by 1st SFAB,” Hill said.

Milley said he knows they’re ready for the task. Training has included interpersonal skills and cultural awareness, live fire, medical and language and going through the Military Advisor Training Academy at Fort Benning.

©2018 The Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, N.C.)
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Brig. Gen. Mark H. Landes poses with a member of the United American Veterans Organization of El Paso, Texas, during a Veterans Day parade Nov. 11, 2017. Landes now leads the Security Force Assistance Command at Fort Bragg, N.C.
APRYL BOWMAN/U.S. ARMY

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