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Brigade-level subordinate command sees leadership change

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MARCOA Media
Story by Debra Valine on 06/17/2019
The Security Assistance Training Management Organization will conduct an awards ceremony and a relinquishment of command ceremony Friday at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Col. Eric Flesch, the SATMO commander since July 2017, is leaving to become the brigade commander at the 165th Infantry Brigade in Fort Jackson, South Carolina.

Prior to becoming the SATMO commander, Flesch served as the chief of staff for Special Operations Joint Task Force and NATO Special Operations Component Command-Afghanistan.

His replacement, Col. Scott Malone, will assume command July 19. Malone is coming from his assignment as the Special Operations Command-Korea chief of staff.

SATMO is a brigade-level subordinate command of the Security Assistance Command and Army Materiel Command that trains and deploys security assistance training teams throughout the world to build partner nation capacity through Foreign Military Sales, Foreign Military Funds grants and Section 333 funds.

Flesch said that because of their similar backgrounds, Malone will be able to adjust to his new job quickly and continue to deliver quality support to both partner nations and geographic combatant commands that SATMO has done since it was created at Fort Bragg in 1974 as part of the Special Warfare Center and School.

Since Flesch arrived during summer 2017, SATMO has undergone many substantial changes to be a more effective organization, Flesch said. One of the key initiatives that was accomplished was a restructure of the organization establishing three subordinate battalion-level commands known as Regional Security Assistance Commands. This structural change facilitated better mission command for the more than 40 missions in 25 countries that span as far as 9,915 miles from the headquarters while mitigating the risk associated with executing daily ground, maritime and aviation operations.

Another key initiative that Flesch was able to accomplish was the re-establishment of systems and processes within SATMO to ensure personnel heading overseas were in proper tolerance for personnel recovery, counter-intelligence and cybersecurity. In addition to these changes to SATMO, Flesch ensured that the unit emplaced systems to prepare Soldiers for being forward stationed in Combatant Command priority missions in countries such as Ukraine, Indonesia, Nigeria, Afghanistan and Guatemala. This included the certification of the Security Assistance Team Training Orientation Course to be Department of State Foreign Affairs Counter Threat equivalent for SATMO personnel.

Some of the greatest challenges that Flesch said he has faced during his time as the commander for SATMO is a general lack of understanding about what SATMO is and, because of that, properly resourcing talented individuals for these missions.

"While COCOMs and partner nations know that these small teams are accomplishing priority missions with strategic impact, most Soldiers have never even heard of SATMO before receiving an assignment to the unit largely due to the economy of force nature of the organization," he said.

As an OCONUS combined arms training unit assigned to Army Materiel Command, SATMO builds partner capacity overseas by serving as the non-institutional trainer for the Army from training partner nation pilots to fly helicopters, to integrated missile defense, to advising partner nations on doctrine and supporting NATO senior service colleges.

"SATMO is an economy of force effort with a strategic impact," Flesch said. "Instead of sending a regular Army infantry battalion, an air defense artillery battery or a Special Forces detachment, the Army can send a small tailored team anywhere in the world to develop capabilities on behalf of the partner nation and the United States."

Flesch said he thinks Malone will be a great choice for SATMO. "Having a background in Special Operations, Malone will well-understand the complexities of executing this very decentralized strategic mission."

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