Are the local police your best friends, or worst enemies? When you get into a firefight, will the keepers of a city’s laws have your back? The answers come from Security Force Assistance Advisor Teams. The SFAAT’s roles at the National Training Center are the same as they would be in combat: to act as liaisons between Rotational Training Units at the NTC and the replicated Host Nation Security Forces.
During the last training rotation, several Blackhorse troopers once again displayed their adaptability to perform any mission by serving as SFAAT personnel for the training unit. Amongst them were two Troopers from India Battery, 1st Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment: 2nd Lt. Peter Hughes and Sgt. 1st Class Thomas Arthaud.
“The SFAAT’s ability to relay critical information between the RTU and the HNSF was usually the deciding factor of how the town felt about us,” said Arthaud.
The town’s populace often follows the sentiments of local forces. If the unit fails to integrate and utilize the local forces, the town’s attitude towards U.S. forces is negative.
Arthaud’s primary role was to relay information of the local Chief’s intentions, motivations and perspectives of security to the RTU. He attended security meetings and helped facilitate integrating security during any provincial meetings. His job was to maintain a clear line of communication between security assets from the nearby Tactical Operations Center and the fictional town of JDL.
“SFAAT members can expect to be in the thick of many security patrols, and make sure that the RTU and HNSF are properly integrating their forces,” Hughes said.
Hughes and Arthaud were assigned to the RTU throughout the Full Spectrum Operations portion of the rotation. They participated in several key After Action Reviews throughout the rotation, affording them a greater depth of the training successes and shortcomings of the RTU, and providing an embedded perspective of feedback, for the RTU and Blackhorse troopers alike.
“Being part of the SFAAT is a unique experience; one that will be new to many Blackhorse troopers,” said Arthaud.
Blackhorse Troopers continue to replicate systems that are similar to those in today’s combat environment. By playing the role of a SFAAT member, they are teaching the RTU how to better integrate with host nation forces and better utilize them to accomplish the mission.