Security Force Assistance (SFA) is presented as a panacea for security threats and governance problems in the Global South. Using Mali as a point of departure, in this article we explore the complex reality of SFA in a state with a highly fragmented security sector. A plethora of SFA providers collectively leaves a negative impact on the cohesion of the recipient security forces. Multiple SFA providers and uncoordinated implementation muddle objectives and fragment already loosely assembled security forces. In consequence, rather than improving security, SFA may exacerbate the problems the assistance is meant to solve.