From the 1st to the 9th of March, the NATO Security Force Assistance Centre of Excellence (NATO SFA COE) held the first edition of the 2021 SFA Operators Course.

The course, held in a virtual mode in compliance with the restrictions in place, saw the participation of more than thirty members, both military and civilians from 9 NATO and Partner countries. Furthermore, the Centre’s lecturers were supported by numerous speakers and experts in the field of SFA belonging to important international military and academic entities.

The purpose of the course is to improve the skills and effectiveness of military and civilian personnel employed in Stabilization operations as Adviser, Mentor and Trainer, in support of the local Forces of an Assisted Nation.

The course was preceded by a preliminary virtual study phase, through the attendance of a session entitled “SFA Orientation Course” on the NATO online platform and by the analysis of the SFA doctrine in use.

The lessons, focused on practical cases and observations from several Theatres of Operation, highlighting the importance of analysing the operating environment and the role of the stakeholders involved in Security Force Assistance. Particular attention was placed on understanding local culture and traditions, communication techniques and the development of a multifaceted vision that characterizes the complex SFA activities. The theoretical notions imparted during the lessons were subsequently tested during virtual working groups led by qualified tutors, which stimulated great interest and involvement among the attendees.

The SFA Operators course is part of a broader NATO training offer, as it meets the requirements of a highly specialized training within the Alliance, unique in its kind. In addition, it allows participating staff to acquire the necessary knowledge to understand the environment in which they will operate and the best approach to use to interact with local authorities.

NATO SFA COE is committed to developing further training solutions, more advanced and specific, to increase the level of expertise in advisory activities for the military and civilian personnel of the Alliance.