The 3rd Security Force Assistance Brigade officially activated at Fort Hood during a ceremony at Abrams Physical Fitness Center Tuesday morning.
The brigade, led by Brig. Gen. Charles Masaracchia and Command Sgt. Maj. Raymond Harris, started its mission at the Great Place last year, but was formally activated as a brigade under the Army’s Security Force Assistance Command this week.
U.S. Army Forces Command Commanding General Gen. Michael Garrett was host of the activation.
“Every single one of the Soldiers … have been hand selected and represent the finest Soldiers that are in our Army,” he said. “The SFAB mission is extremely important to our Army and to our nation for a number of reasons.”
The newly-formed SFABs provide the Army with increased flexibility and help maintain overall readiness, the general said.
“Before we set up the first security force assistance brigade, these missions were conducted with ad hoc formations,” Garrett said. “We pulled teams apart, separated leaders and Soldiers and removed brigade combat teams from our ready pool of forces to conduct security force assistance missions. While necessary, all of this had a negative impact on total force readiness.”
The creation of the SFAC and its SFABs have allowed the Army to treat security force assistance as an essential element to the national defense strategy and to the Army mission, Garrett said.
While the United States Army has a long history of advising, the SFAC was officially established in November 2018. The Fort Hood unit is the third of six brigades that will fall under SFAC in its advising mission.
“In the 244 years the United States Army has been around, advising has remained a central part of our mission,” said SFAC Commanding General Brig. Gen. Mark Landes.
Landes continued that Maj. Gen. Friedrich von Steuben, Gen. George Washington’s adviser during the Revolutionary War, started this tradition of advisers and training that “transformed a ragtag group of colonists into a collective fighting force that led to the independence of the 13 original colonies.”
Those beginnings are represented in the 13 stars on the SFAC command patch.
“As time has moved forward, so has our mission and our advising,” Landes said. “What we have learned from our history is that the advising mission provides units with Soldiers who are experienced, well-trained and mature.”
The commanders and Soldiers of the 3rd SFAB, chosen through a rigorous selective process, “are some of the best the Army has to offer,” Landes said.
“These are the Soldiers that we need to execute the advising mission,” he said. “They have proven themselves in training to be experienced, knowledgeable and mature leaders that are ready to deploy and assist our partner nations.”
Now that the 3rd SFAB is officially activated and its ranks filled, Masaracchia is looking toward the future.
“I think the biggest challenge for any SFAB is the unknown,” he said. “Our job is to partner with a foreign security force. When you walk into that situation, the first thing that the advising team has to do is conduct an assessment of the organization that they’ve been partnered with. And depending upon where in the world we are or what formation that we’re partnered with, how do we understand how they do business and then make them better at that instead of trying to impose how we do business on them. We’ve been doing that for quite a long time and we’ve figured out it doesn’t really work that well.”
“Our mission is to make anybody that we partner with better,” he added. “Not just about us getting better about what our mission is.”
The 3rd SFAB is comprised of approximately 820 professional combat advisers who are selected, trained and equipped to support combatant commanders by integrating with foreign security forces. 3rd SFAB trains, advises, assists, accompanies and enable local security partners to build their capabilities and capacity to achieve regional security in support of U.S. security interests.