Well, here’s another fine kettle of fish. For the past 65 years, thousands of Special Forces troops lived under the mistaken impression that it took hard work, dedication, time and a Herculean effort just to make it into SF. That didn’t take into account the training that went into making the guys who made it through the qualification course into solid A-team members…sorry Operators, (I’m showing my age).
But apparently, we’ve all been wrong, because the Big Army has figured out a way to reproduce all of that in six weeks. Six weeks! Who the hell knew that? Yes, the Big Army has developed Security Force Assistance Brigades which at Ft. Benning they are being called S-Fab…even the SF moniker to go with them.
These S-Fab units which are organized under a surprisingly SF-like structure consisting of NCOs (SSGs and above, however, SP4 Promotable can apply) and Officers and have a mission remarkably similar to the SF FID mission…because it is.
The SFAB concept has several commonalities with special operations forces, although it is clearly not intended to be a replacement or a duplicative effort. Along with advising allied forces, SFABs will provide partner armies institutional development, build partner capacity and enable local solutions to local challenges. These new brigades must be prepared to operate outside of the fully manned platoon, company and battalion formation. Inside the security cooperation umbrella, some security force assistance missions may be restricted to smaller teams advising partner forces, without a degradation in performance or security.
Ft. Benning has created the SFAB/Military Advisor Training Academy which traces its name back to the Vietnam era. Those dinosaurs of SF will fondly remember running in the sand on the old “Mata Mile” course. Part of their training will take place at Ft. Bragg at the SWC for foreign weapons training.
And here’s the kicker… these S-Fab units are going to try to entice SF NCOs and Officers there and if necessary levee them to teach at their school and/or hold leadership positions within the units. Hmm instant credibility, right?
Qualified Special Forces officers and NCOs have the ability to compete for brigade and battalion commands and command sergeants major as a second command opportunity. Additionally, SOF senior officers and NCOs are slated for key locations within the Military Advisor Training Academy and the Capabilities Management Directorate. Former advisers can shape and train future advisers.
And they are going to field these new generation “SFers” in just six weeks. And before you jump on the new generation SFers comment, take a real close look at what the unit is looking like. First, their unit patch isn’t even a creative copy of the Special Forces arrowhead design. Instead of a dagger, it looks like a short sword…the only thing missing was the three lightning bolts for SF’s methods of infiltration, but these guys won’t be on jump status. And they apparently haven’t figured out how to squeeze the Combat Diver Qualification course into their six-week qualification yet.
At the end of their course, these SFAB folks get a Tab (Advise-Assist) and a Green Beret. An olive green one….How ‘bout that.
If it wasn’t bad enough that they absconded with the SFer moniker, the patch, the Green Beret, they couldn’t even come up with an original nickname. For many years now, the 5th Special Forces Group has been calling itself “The Legion”, which, unless you’ve been living under a freakin’ rock …or living at Ft. Benning apparently was lost on these folks. That’s right, these SFAB people are calling themselves “The Legion” it is on their brochures, their videos trying to get people to volunteer and I’m sure it is already on a sign somewhere at Benning. So, I don’t know about anyone else, but who can’t wait to see what the unit’s Beret flash is going to look like?
Our brethren from the 5th SFG(A) have to be jumping for joy over this. Imagine when these olive drab green beanies with their shiny new tabs and their SFAB attitudes call up a 5th SFG A-Team (a real one) and wants a favor.
I don’t know whose brainchild this was but whoever thought up the tab, the faux Green Beret, this patch as well as the SFAB bs name and “The Legion” needs to take a step back. One has to really wonder if the power behind that decision was someone who either quit or was a Non-Select at SFAS (Special Forces Assessment and Selection). That is the only logical response to this blatant, phony rip-off of what goes into making a real SF soldier.
And this entire time the people at the JFKSWCS (Special Warfare Center and School) have wasted so much time and effort into developing a Selection Course, creating the criteria that go into that course, then developing the different MOS courses, the time and effort into creating and assessing the SF candidates at Robin Sage. The process takes over a year and for certain MOS’ it may take even longer. Maybe next year, they’ll have a three-day block of instruction on UW (Unconventional Warfare for those Olive wearing “SFers”) and take a piece of that action as well.
Obviously, we don’t have the best and brightest at Fort Bragg. Because the folks at Benning have figured out a way to do all that in just six weeks. Six weeks…Jeez. What are we on the Oprah Show?
Excellence is Earned not Issued.
- Humans are more important than Hardware.
- Quality is better than Quantity.
- Special Operations Forces cannot be mass produced.
- Competent Special Operations Forces cannot be created after emergencies occur.
- Most Special Operations require non-SOF assistance
Photos: US Army, Wikipedia, SOFREP
If you enjoyed this article, please consider supporting our Veteran Editorial by becoming a SOFREP subscriber. Click here to get 3 months of full ad-free access for only $1