DAKAR, Senegal -- - Prepare a Senegalese task force for peacekeeping operations in Mali. - Develop a logistics system that reduces a three-week endeavor to a few days - Make the kinds of friendships where Senegalese soldiers invite American soldiers to weddings.
These are just some of the capabilities teams of U.S. Army soldiers have delivered as U.S. Africa Command’s aligned security force assistance brigade.
Two teams from 2nd SFAB will complete their six-month security cooperation rotation to Senegal over the next few weeks. They will be replaced by another two teams coming from the Fort Bragg, North Carolina based unit.
“Our partners are gracious hosts who are excited to have an American military perspective on their operations and security practices,” said Army Capt. Ellen Johnson, the commander of the 2nd SFAB logistics-focused advisor team in Senegal.
Johnson’s team concentrated on providing a best-practices perspective on maintenance activities in the Senegalese military. Working together, they created a system for the Senegalese that reduced the time it took to inventory an arsenal of small-arms weapons. What once took over three weeks is now done in 72 hours. In some cases, the inventory can be done in a day.
This logistics overhaul increased the Senegalese Army’s ability to rapidly deploy during a crisis or conflict, Johnson said.
These advisor teams come at the invitation of the Senegalese government and are an example USAFRICOM’s commitment to strengthen partnerships through consistent engagement and shared values.
The brigade also sent a team of maneuver experts to Senegal. The maneuver-focused team took a direct request from Senegalese senior military leaders and supported preparations for a peacekeeping mission in Mali.
“They wanted us to modernize their practices and operational lexicon. We took the United Nations Infantry Battalion Manual and helped them weave it into the fabric of their tactics, techniques, and procedures,” said U.S. Army Maj. Micah Pawlata.
Pawlata’s team worked directly with Senegalese Army non-commissioned officers who then took the new training and passed it on to Senegalese junior enlisted soldiers.
SFAB team members build relationships first as a vehicle to deliver expert training and enhance partner capabilities, said Staff Sgt. Noel Arcibal, a 2nd SFAB maintenance advisor.
“We have a professional friendship with our partners in Senegal,” Arcibal said. “It didn’t take long for us to build rock-solid relationships with our Senegalese comrades, and one of them even invited us to their son’s wedding, which is a big deal to them and a great honor for us.”
Under the operational control of the Southern European Task Force, Africa, deployed 2nd SFAB teams serve as advisors in a multitude of locations throughout Africa. There, they provide U.S. presence, access, and influence while working side-by-side with the U.S. constellation of allies, multi-national organizations, and African partners in achieving mutual security goals.
While 2nd SFAB is headquartered at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Soldiers work daily in Africa. To support security cooperation requirements in Africa, the brigade organized multiple teams into “force packages.” These elements train with partnered African military forces for six months at a time.