Regionally aligned forces, or RAF, are U.S. Army units tasked to train and mentor partner nation security forces in support of the U.S. National Security Strategy. This innovative concept recognizes the significant contributions of the total force and is a highly scalable, sustainable model for theater campaign plan support.
Regionally aligning forces is an expanded approach to the existing Army security cooperation mission and force management process, and improves the force generation of Army support to geographic combatant commands. In addition to maintaining the decisive action skills that define U.S. Army units as the security partners of choice, regionally aligned forces will prepare for their mission with language, regional expertise and culture training.
The 162nd Inf Bde will have a key role training RAF. In addition to the 162d Inf Bde Soldiers that attended the workshop, invitations were sent to organizations including the Army Culture and Foreign Language Center, National Language Service Corps, Army Irregular Warfare Center, Training and Doctrine Command Culture Center, 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, and others. The Soldiers of the 2nd Bde, 1st Inf Div are the Army’s proof of principal in the RAF concept, and will be focused on missions and training in Africa.
Each of the enabler organizations were represented by one or two subject matter experts. Overall, 13 different organizations participated in this workshop and each had a unique ability to contribute significantly to the RAF training.
“Due to the significant manpower and broad skill set necessary to make the RAF training successful, the brigade’s intent is to form a federation of enablers that, together, will deliver a comprehensive training package that will best equip U.S. armed forces to successfully conduct security force assistance duties in direct support of geographic combatant commanders and ultimately of American interests,” said Maj. Michael E. Grater, Africa Command Training Team, 4th Battalion, 353rd Infantry Regiment, 162 Inf Bde.
During the three-day workshop, enablers took leading roles by informing the group of their capabilities and how each can contribute to make RAF training a meaningful and complete product. The workshop began with enablers introducing themselves and their capabilities. Day one consisted mostly of what training resources are available to the RAF. Day two focused on discussions about what the 162nd can provide to RAF training.
As the brigade prepares to train RAFs, the current mission of the 162nd will not change.
The mission focus, however, will expand starting with AFRICOM and eventually will include support to all geographic combatant commanders by training personnel and units to build partner nation security capacity.
“The RAF training enablers workshop is a facilitating tool that allows all participants to communicate support roles not only to our customers but also to other enablers,” Grater said.
“It will allow participants to identify issues and concerns related to upcoming training as well as synchronize efforts into a complete training package.”
This workshop was part of the foundation that will allow the 162nd Inf Bde to train RAFs and allow for ease of coordination with the many partner organizations which are necessary for a mission of this scope.
“The main takeaway for attendees was that enablers are better informed about how to best support RAF training,” Grater said. “The workshop serves to identify issues and challenges so that enablers can begin efforts to resolve them. The desired end state is to get the network of enablers to start thinking about business rules and the relationship with the 162nd while defining the problem set of training RAFs.”