Capewell

Forces Focus – 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade

Nicknamed “The Legion”, the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade is one of the US Army’s newest units. Although it’s the first unit of its kind, the Army envisions standing up six of these Brigades. The 1sts SFAB’s subordinate units include TF 1-28, 1-38 CAV, 6-51 IN, 3-52 IN, 1-76 FA, 815 EN and 92 BSB. Unit members have been very busy conducting training for their new mission which is outlined below.

Mission Statement

On order, 1SFAB deploys in support of a Combatant Commander, integrates with foreign partner forces, assists and advises local security operations to build partner security capacity and capability and achieve regional security in support of US National Interests.

Vision

A Brigade of Professional Combat Advisors- Specially Selected, Specially Trained, and Specially Equipped – that represent the ultimate commitment by our Nation to our Security Partners; dedicated to making our Partners better in order to achieve regional security.

Above is their Shoulder Sleeve Insignia, although many unit members have been seen still wearing their former unit patches. The “Advise Assist” tab sums up this unit’s mssion. Seems like I’ve heard that somewhere before, though, along with that nickname. Not only are they seen as 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.

Below, you can see SSG Justin Seeley, 3rd Battalion, 52nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade, launching a RQ-11B Raven unmanned aircraft system, but they’ve also conducted Small Arms, Convoy and medical training.


(US Army photo by SPC Noelle E. Wiehe, 50th Public Affairs Detachment, 3rd Infantry Division public affairs)

Additionally, candidates for the unit must pass a selection and Advisor Academy as well as SERE training. SFAB candidates must also score an 85 of better on the Defense Language Aptitude Battery becuase the Army plans on offering language training for unit personnnel. However, unit members are eligible for a $5,000 Assignment Incentive Bonus.

63 Responses to “Forces Focus – 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade”

  1. xdarrows says:

    Who gave them the “Legion” moniker? Did someone staff that through 5th Group?

  2. d says:

    And an SSI that looks like a squared-off, dumbed-down version of the SF one, and even has a long-ish tab on it. Here we go…

  3. pbr549 says:

    The Legion-ish LOL

  4. epl says:

    As I sit here and remember the beret fiasco of yester-year, I’m reminded of the old saying; ‘Second verse same as the first, but a little bit louder and a little bit worse!’

    What a bunch of maroons

  5. Buckaroomedic says:

    I thought that was Army SF’s mission?

    • Jon, OPT says:

      SF’s charter is Unconventional Warfare, this is only a fraction of that; that said, this is traditionally the bulk of the SF peacetime engagement strategy.

  6. Garrett says:

    I get these guys aren’t ODA, but isn’t this the same job?
    Who wants to sign up for FID?

  7. Ragnar says:

    Sounds like what SF used to do before they started trying to be SEALs.

    • Paul says:

      Typical response from someone who I can only imagine is a Ranger – or should I say glorified infantry.

    • Ron Jolly says:

      sounds like another rock star,,….maybe you should spend more time ready history that masturbation,,,,just a suggestion,,,,I only say that cause your so far off the mark

  8. Jon, OPT says:

    Dumb and dumber moment there big Army… Just when I thought you couldn’t get any dumber, you go and TOTALLY redeem yourself!

    • SSD says:

      The SFABs offer Command and SEA positions for long tabbers.

    • Will Rodriguez says:

      This isn’t going to be popular because “Big Army” never gets anything right but maybe not so dumb. It takes quite a bit of resources and TIME to create Army SF units that have multiple capabilities besides FID.

      Contrary to popular belief conventional forces historically have often conducted FID in our history.

      While it’s great to have a highly selective, regionally focused, language specific, airborne qualified, multiple discipline trained individual soldier with units capable of doing everything from strategic recon, direct action, FID, Special ops with HALO and combat diving capabilities it might be unconventional thought to consider having a conventional forces train an allied country’s conventional forces…

      Then there’s the reality we need capability now not after an 18 month plus training pipeline? As we all know, we can’t create SOF overnight.

      BTW, besides blaming all of this on “Big Army” if FID is SF’s primary mission why has the majority of training other nations’ forces been conducted by the conventional forces for coming on two decades? Maybe prioritizing the direct action role has 2nd, 3rd order effects?

      • Jon, OPT says:

        Let me get back to you on that, I need to check my memory for when I made decisions for USASFC or USASOC…. Nope, never, sorry, go ask a GO or higher about that one. It’s a well known fact to senior SF guys that USASOC has been run by Rangers for quite a while and it has had effects on how certain units do business. Not that that is a bad thing, but it certainly has had effects in many orders on perception of SF, SOF, and ARSOF capabilities in general.

        “If FID is SF’s primary mission” well that’s easy, FID is NOT SF’s primary mission, UW is what SF does, FID is one of the ways SF implements that mission.

        Either way, my remark was a joke, from a movie that’s kind of well known. It’s also well known that most anyone can do FID… for example, you don’t send an ODA to teach helo pilots how to fly, or submariners how to run a submarine, or tankers how to drive tanks. Just like you don’t send GPF to do UW, CT, among other things. And that’s all I have to say about that, reason being there is an extensive conversation involved that I don’t have time to engage in about it.

        I’m just laughing at the insignia and way this is being sold to the Army, suffice to say “The resemblance is uncanny”.

        • Strike-Hold says:

          Didn’t SF kind of get saddled with FID because they were so good at training irregular indigenous folks for UW somebody figured they’d be just as good at training regular indigenous forces at conventional warfare?

          I understand that lane boundaries can get blurry, but isn’t this supposed to enable SF to refocus back on doing what they’re mainly intended for, and letting less specialized folks do the training of regular troops?

          Enquiring minds want to know…

          • Jon, OPT says:

            Yes, with gray areas.

            It’s cheaper (by far) to send an SFODA to advise a BN of indig over sending an actual Bn staff (who are busy running their own BN) from an actual Bn. SF being trained to go to a country, stand up a guerilla force, and overthrow an oppressive gov’t gives them many capabilities, one is doing FID.

            There are dozens of combined exercises on the joint level (JCS exercises) every year that do something similar to FID, but exercise nation’s interoperability; for example Tandem Thrust, Cobra Gold, Orient Shield, Foal Eagle, Balikatan, just to name some in the PACOM AOR.

            Look at the composition of the units for SFAB: Cav, Inf, Arty, Eng, Spt… that’s basically FID on a BCT level with combined arms capability, that is not a capability of SF. Here you are talking about supporting any size Combined Arms Combat Team from Bn to BCT to even Corps level, and not indig SOF. That’s the defining line to me, IN DEFINITION AND INTENT, that said, actual utilization, that is TBD. I bet more than once there will be ODAs on that FOB engaging any Airborne or SOF units if need be.

            So, yes, but this unit has all the makings of enabling existing foreign militaries, and doesn’t step into the realm of standing up the rabble from left of zero to phase 7 of UW. SF will continue to do what it does, even within the FID realm.

        • Will Rodriguez says:

          You’re absolutely right UW is SF’s primary. My bad, but the point is characterizing Big Army doing FID as dumberer.

          Rangers running USASFC or USASOC? Errr, the overwhelming majority of those guys were wearing a long tab OVER that Ranger Tab. E.G. of the eight USASOC commanders since ’96, ALL but ONE wore SF tab (including the TF160 general). Yeah, let’s blame those darn Rangers.

          A lot were wearing green too. Let’s continue to blame “Big Army”. They NEVER get anything right and we don’t have to call a sacred cow “dumb” for wholeheartedly pursuing DA missions instead of doing FID.

  9. Jon Demler says:

    This makes sense. If big Army is not fighting a big war because it’s mission is to strengthen LN capabilities, put it to use. This is along the same ideas as ETT and SFAT or SFAAT.

  10. Will Rodriguez says:

    Six brigades huh?

    Instead of creating new patches how about reflagging retired divisions or brigades?

    An additional mission not mentioned in the article is these units can also be filled with troops to stand up conventional units (similar to what we did to surge for WWII).

  11. Alpha2 says:

    Whats with all the tabs anymore? Reminds me when I was SF(Security Forces) in USAF and the dudes and gals who went thru Raven school and started wearing RAVEN tabs, WTF…I get it everyone wants to be “special” now a days but cmon, starting to go overboard.

    • Norbis says:

      They should wear their own berets that are as unique as their mission… I’m thinking a color that is a mix of blue and yellow.

      • Norbis says:

        My comment above sounds saltier than I meant it to be. I think if implemented correctly could work out well. I am wondering why they didn’t just place them under existing Division or Corps unless I misunderstood the concecpt.

        • Jon, OPT says:

          If they did that they would become subject to taskings assigned to that unit and would thus most likely become bitch boys for that unit. “Oh gee, they aren’t deployed, they must have tons of free time to go do XXXX”.

          Not being under that authority and making them this way seems to me, at a glance, with what little I know about their funding and authority, to be one of the best things about this. Also, once in theater working for the GCC they don’t have two chains of command to answer to, which makes reporting that much easier and frees them from being the rope in an authority based tug of war.

          I am not read into this program, so I may be way off, but in concept what I am seeing makes really good sense as far as command goes.

  12. Stefan S. says:

    Makes as much sense as Female Rangers and Guys named Sue.

  13. Steve says:

    So, if these BDEs are made up of 500 or so senior NCOs and branch qualified CPTs and above, who exactly is providing their organic support when deployed?

  14. Dave says:

    FID’s important and not exclusive to SF.

    My only grievance is with the hijacking of “The Legion.” I guess that The 5th Legion will just have to be more specific now.

    • Jon, OPT says:

      Agreed.

      I’ve always felt claims of appropriation were silly, but now I get it. That was what my original comment on here was about, it also has a very deliberate feel in both name and iconography. I’m not a Legion guy, but I know the name all too well.

    • Windsor Thompson says:

      THE Legion

  15. Hippo says:

    national guard?reserve ? active ?
    If us them to save the manpower of the active or national guard BCT ,such as some BCt in the Ukraine .can they teach well? can they real build partner security capacity?

  16. SF.Group says:

    I Agree with everything Jon OPT is saying here. Main complaint is the strikingly similar insignia. And the count down until we have to endure brigades of “I’m basically SF” comments at the bar. Actually a decent move for the Army as hopefully, for those of us still deploying, this will slightly reduce our op tempo. SF will still have “ownership” of most foreign SF type units. And that alone is a lot of work. Still its an interesting move. I am just wondering how SERE will ramp up to support 6 Brigades of extra bodies?

    • SSD says:

      There’s already a school at Rucker for aviators. However, I expect something different for this. B level.

  17. ODG says:

    Good, a conventional unit to take pressure off of SOF so they can focus on SR and DA. Because if we are being completely honest doing FID sucks.

  18. K2 says:

    FID? Didn’t see any mention FID in the article. Having spend over 33 months advising the Iraqi Army and Afghan Army & Police, the vast majority of Advising is teaching leadership, staff skills, technical skills, and assessing unit abilities. In Afghanistan my team assessed the capabilities of ANA units in P2KG, and in my opinion was the majority of advisors were marginally capable of training anything higher than companies. Advise & Assist BDEs will professionalize this capability. They will allow projection of power with limited forces, like when the soldiers of the British Empire raised local forces to defend the colonies. What I don’t like is the 85 on the DLAB seems extreme.

    • Jon, OPT says:

      FID= FOREIGN INTERNAL DEFENSE.

      “Not only are they seen as the day-to-day experts combatant commanders need to train, advise and assist our partners overseas….”

      That’s FID, the regular Army, Navy, AF, USMC, contractors, and corporations providing equipment has been doing this for years in one capacity or another.

  19. GB Dad says:

    Stolen valor. The Green Beret and “The Legion are 5th Group, this stinks of political chicanery. It’s to make these countries whose soldiers we are training to think we are sending 5th Group SF. It is also why they named them Security Forces so they can tag themselves SF. The whole thing is disgusting along with look-a-like tab. It was probably thought up by a political hack.

  20. Black Cat says:

    This is hard I feel some what angree the stolen valor and linage. However I feel that there is a important need for these guys if employed correctly. meaning all E-8 and above must be long tabed as well as officers above the rank of captain. Next that the SFAB be spit up by group and never be deployed in an stand alone element but in support of SF Co or BN.
    I can remember coming in for conducting operations with my Green as the sun was coming up. Grabbed four hours of sleep threw some food in my mouth while heading to training of my Amber guys. Inhale dinner and prepare for that night providing no TST ops happened Wash rinse repeat. To have someone to execute the training frees up the SF team to conduct operations. In bigger ops like initially invading we moved so fast we end up almost unsafely thin at times having backside support of that magnitude would allow teams greater versatility to shape the battlefield as needed. The key is that SFAB is SF leadership which understands the role these forces how to effectively support SF. SFAB should spit and attached mission dependent. If deployed as full unit and lead by conventional leadership there will most definitely be mission encroachment. There also need to be strict rules on that SF team runs that area of operation. SFAB should have limited Athorities and Conventional RUE’s to prevent overreach and encroachment.

    • SSD says:

      I’ll post something on this, but we’ve been here before and adapted the SF force structure to the mission.

  21. Frank says:

    Everyone could go on and on concerning the topic. Bottom line, a Long Tabber approved this whole concept. We have to assume there was some very good reason…(I want to be immature and assume the politicians are angry that EVERYONE doesn’t make it through SFAS…Maybe letting everyone have Green Beret, a tab, Cry Batman pants, lots of Velcro without going through a physical selection or lengthy training will buy the Regiment some time before they are forced to lower the standards….maybe..)

    Lets just for a moment focus on a few things; Since the first day in any service, we have heraldry, esprit de corps, traditions, history etc. jammed down our throats and the living hell smoked out of us if we don’t memorize, remember or honor these things. These traditions are intended to keep us fighting, keep us strong, keep us together as a proud and motivated unit in the most extreme and dire situations.

    If a, “hat” is just a hat, a tab is just a tab, logos, motto’s, are insignificant, then why give them out in the first place? Why give out patches etc for completing a course? Why does a unit even need a flag? Hell, why does a country need a flag?

    From my perspective (keep in mind I am just an ignorant E8 with 20 years..and probably know a thing or two about the Regiment and serving in combat) symbols, traditions, heraldry etc. is all we have when things get tough. Yes, I have the guy/gal/dog next to me but being proud of my team, squad, platoon, ODA, unit, Army is what keeps us serving.

    I have a Silver Star and a couple of other medals. What does that mean in the grand scheme of things?

    The ONE thing I am very proud to put on every day (for the past 20+ years) is my uniform. My uniform that has some cloth on it that I and many before me have given blood sweat and tears to not only earn but to belong to the unit. My uniform that I am so proud to wear is topped off with my Green Beret. My Green Beret is a symbol of the Regiment I belong to. While not all men in my unit are created equal, I know and every military and civilian around the world knows what it takes (or took) to belong to such an organization. My NATO partners that I have fought for our lives with also must earn their pieces of cloth and Green Berets…

    I was devastated when I was forced to put on a Black Beret I never earned. I was embarrassed every day (I think it was less than 100) I was forced to wear a Black Beret that so many Rangers had earned and fought for. I was also devastated for the guys in the Ranger Regiment and the impact it had on their morale. Basically, they got shit on.

    Most importantly, lets think about the poor bastards in the SFAB’s that have to wear something they didn’t earn. A patch the resembles someone else’s identity. Basically, not allowing them to earn their own place in history and earn their own heraldry, history, honor, etc. I have no doubt the great men and women of this unit will do amazing things. Lets consider not shitting on the SFVAB and a large group of the most dedicated, highly trained, highly motivated fighting force in the world.

    I fear that this ship has sailed, the SFAB and SF Regiment will probably get shit on. We will be forced to deal with it. However, will this have a lasting effect on what militaries have been fighting for since man began to fight? Honor, tradition, heraldry, flags etc.? If there is no distinction between each other, what will we use to encourage young men and women to want to be better? Why in gods name would anyone want to wear a 120 lbs ruck for 11 weeks and then again in Robin Sage? I’ll tell you why, a fricken Green Beret and a Long Tab that says you are different…You are better than some!

    I joined a military where everyone did not receive a trophy. You have to earn it!