An Army unit set up specifically to train and advise foreign military units will soon be heading to Africa to replace an infantry brigade from the famed 101st Airborne Division. The swap will allow the infantry brigade to return to their home base at Fort Campbell, Ky., and prepare for “high intensity conflict operations,” Department of Defense officials said Wednesday.
The decision to trade out the 101st Airborne brigade with the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade, known as the 1st SFAB, was made as part of Secretary of Defense Mark Esper’s ongoing review of the military’s Combatant Commands like U.S. Africa Command, officials said.
The 1st SFAB is based at Fort Benning, Ga., and designed to assume training and advisory missions currently being performed by regular Army units.
“This allows them to perform this important ‘great power competition’ role more effectively and more efficiently than conventional units,” Pentagon spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said in a statement.
The transfer has at least one powerful supporter on Capitol Hill — Sen. James Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee who said he’s been calling for the move since 2018.
“The SFAB’s capabilities are well suited for many of AFRICOM’s important missions to train and advise our partners on the continent,” Sen. Inhofe said.
Deployment of the advisory brigade and others like it will help improve Army readiness by reducing the demand for brigade combat teams to conduct security force operations there, officials said.