News: Record JRTC training key to early Afghanistan exodus
Story by Sgt. Bob Timney
FORT POLK, La. – As Afghan National Security Forces take control on military and local police actions, the Army is training Security Force Assistance Teams to be advisors to the ANSF. Within 70 days of being alerted to these training objectives, the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk did what normally took six months and pulled together the largest training rotation in JRTC history.
In order for U.S. soldiers to be pulled from Afghanistan by 2014 as mandated by NATO, the Afghan National Security Forces must have control for military and local police actions. In a February Department of Defense press release, the Army announced plans for Security Force Assistance Teams designed to help them do just that. These new teams are trained to be advisers to the ANSF during this transition.
Within 70 days of being alerted to these training objectives, the Joint Readiness Training Center did what normally took six months and pulled together the largest training rotation in JRTC history. More than 8,000 individuals were involved in either being trained or in direct support of the SFAT training, according to the JRTC Operations Group.
“This is not a typical rotation. A large number of security force assistance teams are here specifically to learn the most current methods of advising Afghans,” said Maj. Gabriel Ramirez, public affairs officer for the Fort Polk JRTC Operations Group.
The SFATs attending this rotation are predominantly comprised of members of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division out of Fort Campbell, Ky. said Ramirez.
Lt. Col. William Chlebowski, JRTC director of strategic communications, said the 2nd BCT, 10th Mtn. Div. is here performing two functions. They are going through their own annual training, and in doing so, they are the acting “battle space owners” giving the SFAT teams actual Soldiers to work with in addition to the authentic role players and mock towns. “Nothing could be more realistic.”
Hundreds of authentic role players were brought in from all over the U.S. and some directly from Afghanistan according to the JRTC operations group.
In a press release from the Fort Polk Public Affairs Office, Maj. Michael Milas, training officer-in-charge for the 162nd Infantry Brigade, said the skills learned at JRTC are based on the most up-to-date and relevant intelligence from theater. Most of the instructors have just returned from down range and share their experiences so that students hear the “latest and greatest” information straight “from the horse’s mouth.”