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News | March 4, 2021

Bringing the SFAB Story to D.C.; 5th SFAB Participates in ACOET

By Maj. William Leasure 5th Security Force Assistance Brigade

A team of leaders from the 5th Security Force Assistance Brigade travelled to Washington, D.C. Feb. 22-26 to take part in the Army Current Operations Engagement Tour, a program designed to provide a tactical perspective on how current operations are affecting national security objectives.

“This was a superb opportunity to introduce Army senior leaders and Congressional members and staff to some of the superb Advisor team leaders and Non-commissioned officers that have volunteered to serve in the SFAB,” 5th SFAB Brigade Commander, Brig. Gen. Curtis Taylor said.

The 5th SFAB is in the process of employing 1/3 of the brigade into the Indo-Pacific, part of the brigade’s plan to maintain a consistent presence in the region. 

This new employment strategy for an SFAB formation provided an opportunity for the organization to explain how they were training, manning and equipping for this endeavor.  

In addition to Taylor, the engagement team consisted of 2nd Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Anthony Gore, 6th Battalion Surgeon Maj. Kimberley Maxwell, 4th Battalion’s Senior Enlisted Advisor, Master Sgt. Matthew Howard, Team 5213, 2nd Battalion, Assistant Team Leader Sgt. 1st Class Dajuan Turner, and Sgt. Arianne Fernandez from 5th Battalion.  

It was their personal stories of the relationships they are building with key allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific that carried the greatest impact,” Taylor said.

Master Sgt. Howard elaborated on the impact of bringing NCOs to tell the unit’s story.

“Incorporating NCOs into the ACOET brings the ground truth to leaders and policy makers allowing them to better understand what is happening inside of a tactical unit outside the National Capital Region,” Howard said.  

“It was absolutely invaluable to tell Army Senior Leaders and government officials the story of our NCOs and the great work they’ve been doing in 5th SFAB.” 

Taylor shared how these NCOs really make a difference in 5th SFAB.

“The secret sauce of the SFAB is the quality of people we recruit into this organization,” Taylor said.  “Our strength lies in unlocking the tremendous talent inherent in these young NCOs and Officers who volunteer to serve as Advisors“.

One does not become an Indo-Pacific-focused 5th SFAB Soldier simply by volunteering, however.

“We have a rigorous assessment/selection and certification process that our Advisors and Advisor teams must progress through before they set foot within a partner nation to train in the Indo-Pacific, not everyone makes the cut,” Taylor said.

While in D.C., the team got the opportunity to meet with Army Chief of Staff, Gen. James McConville and Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Joseph M. Martin who spent time talking to every member of the team to get their input on how to enable continued success for 5th SFAB.

“Our SFABs are in high demand for their ability to work with allies and partners and provide outstanding expertise in all facets of Army operations” McConville said.  

“We live in an era of Great Power Competition, and fostering those relationships is an important part of how the Army competes. “The 5th SFAB was activated less than a year ago, and its Soldiers are already doing great things in the Indo-Pacific. I am incredibly proud of them”.

The ACOET team also met with representatives from think tanks like the Rand Corporation and the Center for Strategic and International Studies to provide important information to drive research and shared understanding.

Additionally, the team met with members of Congress to include Sen. Tammy Duckworth and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger.

“I met with Brig. Gen. Curt Taylor and Soldiers from the 5th SFAB to hear how Congress can better support our troops in the Pacific region. As Army Caucus Co-Chair, I'll continue to ensure our U.S. Army is resourced for success anywhere in the world.” Ruppersberger said via Twitter.

The ACOET program is a Headquarters Department of the Army Operations, Plans and Training initiative, with the responsibility for execution being shared between the Office of Public Affairs, the Office of Chief, Legislative Liaison, and Department of the Army Military Operations Strategic Plans and Policy division.