OTIS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mass. --
The capabilities of 102nd Security Forces Squadron Airmen to defend the perimeter of Otis Air National Guard Base were put to the test during a no-notice exercise here, Jan. 27.
Security Forces ensure resources and personnel are kept safe and secure 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. These professionals are knowledgeable in the fundamental aspects of a concept known as Force Protection – a doctrine that mandates the safeguard of lives and valuable resources.
According to Joint Publication 3-10, Joint Security Operations in Theater, “Force Protection is multi-dimensional, providing multi-layered protection of forces and resources. It covers actions at home station, in transit and at deployed locations. It includes not only protecting military members and civilian employees, but also their families, contract employees, and visitors while on an installation.”
“In the Security Forces enterprise our members are called Defenders,” said 2d Lt Allen Nancarrow, operations officer for the 102nd SFS. “The term comes from our motto, Defensor Fortis, [meaning] Defenders of the Force. It is the responsibility and mission of every Security Forces Defender to provide force protection. The members of the 102nd Security Forces Squadron stand ready to react to any situation that could endanger the force.”
To ensure personnel assigned to these critical positions are prepared to meet the challenges of such an important role, Mission Focused Exercises are routinely conducted. MFEs are simulated but realistic scenarios that test the competency of Airmen and provide confidence in their skills and training, but also provide leadership with a clear evaluation of mission capabilities.
“The IG is committed to evaluating all aspects of mission on Otis ANGB ranging from SFS protection to Cyber mission execution,” said Capt. Craig Schoeck, Director of Inspections, “Embrace the changing exercise culture; it’s about progress not perfection.”
To this end, the wing Inspector General’s Office, assisted by wing inspection team members from the 102nd SFS, planned a no-notice MFE to evaluate Security Forces’ response to an individual speeding past a checkpoint at an entry gate. The “suspect”, an inspector with the IG, floored the throttle of his POV when the entry controller waived him forward.
True to his training, the controller deployed the active vehicle barriers, stopping the suspect in his tracks. Response to the attempted breach was instantaneous as communications between Defenders, coupled with their quick and skilled reaction to the scenario, brought an umbrella of security down upon the scene, and the assailant.
Once the suspect was taken into custody and hand-cuffed, Airmen descended upon his vehicle which was searched thoroughly.
Their efforts paid off.
Raising the stakes, not only did the suspect storm the gate, but he was also “armed” with two simulated concealed weapons.
Had this been an actual event, there would be more to the story. In this case, it was a simulation – but a simulation that yielded confidence; not only within the Airmen who protect the force, but by those who work on the installation each and every day who know they are safe and secure, due in no small part to this group of Defenders protecting them.
Airmen were evaluated on their ability to stop and apprehend a suspect, searching the individual and vehicle, and proper procedures upon discovery of weapons.
They effectively handled the situation.
“Exercises such as this one, accomplish two things: First, it allows the unit to showcase their capabilities. Those capabilities are the products of training, communication, resources, and leadership,” said Mr. Scott Etler, Director of Inspections and the scenario’s ‘perpetrator’. “Second, it gives the IG the opportunity to provide unbiased feedback to the commander on how truly effective those capabilities are.”
The 102nd SFS is committed to defending the mission by ensuring the safety of the wing’s most valuable resource, its Airmen.
All personnel support force protection – all personnel serve as security forces’ eyes and ears. If you see or hear of anything suspicious, contact the 102nd IW Base Defense Operations Center at 508-968-4303.
Remember, if you see something, say something!