From the 09th to the 13th of December 2019 the NATO Security Force Assistance Centre of Excellence (NATO SFA COE) organized the “SFA Operators Course”, the first NATO certified course delivered from the Centre.
The course, planned by the NATO SFA COE Education and Cooperation Section Chief Major Vinicio RESTELLI, in close coordination with Finnish Defence Forces International Centre (FINCENT) and other international Subject Matter Experts, had the aim to improve the competency and effectiveness of SFA Operators (Advisors, Mentors and Trainers) working in current and future missions and security related capacity building.
The course started from a training needs analysis in the field of SFA in order to define and deliver an effective, efficient and affordable solution that satisfies performance gaps identified by the Alliance.
It is structured with a series of theoretical and practical modules presented by speakers from NATO, partners and International Organizations who gave interactive lectures, case studies and role-plays on different topics:
– Analysis of the main stakeholders and actors involved in SFA Operations and how to draw linkages among them in order to see the whole picture and context;
– Importance of local culture and structures understanding to build a solid bond with the counterpart by using an effective communication and a specific influence methodology;
– SFA Operators (Advisors, Mentors and Trainers) traits, attitudes and behaviour;
To get into the part and to have a more realistic understanding, a specific role-play was organized, in which the attendees played the role of the Advisor, interacting with a local counterpart using an interpreter, according to specific vignette instructions.
At the end of the course, attendees were able to better understand the environment in which Security Force Assistance activities are run (advising, mentoring or training) in order to improve the performance of designated actors.
This activity is a part of broader vison of the NATO SFA COE and reflects one of the main goals to strengthen the SFA Operator capability and ability, which resides within the “Human Capital” framework considered a key factor and multiplier in conducting SFA activities.
This course is the foundation of a longer education and training path that the NATO SFA COE is developing within the International Community of Interest with the support of important stakeholders from NATO Countries and contribution of the NATO HQ International Staff – Defence Institution and capacity Building Department and the NATO Command and Force Structures. This project aim to enhance capabilities and abilities of NATO SFA Operators (Trainers, Mentors and Advisors) employed in assisting activities from the Tactical-Operational level up to the Strategic-Institutional one, with a stronger integration between military and civilian advisors.
The course will soon receive the NATO qualification and it will be included in the Alliance’s training offer.
Lectures were identified among Subject Matter Experts from Italian Army Psychology Branch, US Joint Centre for International Security Force Assistance, (JCISFA), HUMINT Centre of Excellence, UK Specialised Infantry Group (UK SIG), Centre of Excellence for Stability Police Units, European External Action Service.
Participants: ITA Joint operations HQ (ITA), Italian Army Psychology Office , ITA Army Infantry School, ITA SFA SECTION, Post Conflict Operations Study Centre (CSPCO), ITA Paratrooper Brigade, Albania MoD, Austrian National Defence Academy, NATO Joint Force Command Brunssum (JFCB), NATO JFC Naples, NATO Rapid Deployable Corps Italy (NRDC – ITA), NATO Stability Policing Centre of Excellence, Multinational CIMIC Group, US Joint Centre for International Security Force Assistance (JCISFA), Military Advisor Training Academy (MATA), European Union Capacity Building Mission Somalia (EUCAP), UK Specialised Infantry Group (UK SIG), Finnish Boarder Guard (FIN), 3rd BN – 353 REGT (USA).