Our Path to a More Lethal and More Ready Defender!

By BG (Sel) Roy W. Collins, SF Director 24

It has been a fast month stepping in as your new Director of Security Forces. I made a promise during this time to assess where we are and more importantly, how to move us forward.

There is no question that our Security Forces Airmen deserve the absolute best opportunity to achieve their mission, whether it’s in the missile field, on a flight line or at any of our installation access control points. The Chief of Staff of the Air Force demands a More Lethal and More Ready Security Forces enterprise. How can I help you be the best Security Forces Airman you can be? This is the question I strive to answer every day. To that end, we are going back to basics in some regard while also preparing for the future by focusing on Training, Modernizing, Standardizing and Enhancing our Culture and Environment.

Training is the foundation that makes us more lethal and more ready. We will continue to focus and refine our efforts to ensure our Defenders are not only “qualified” but become proficient at the core skills. Repetitive training may not sound exciting but it’s what’s needed to ensure our professionals gain the muscle memory to efficiently respond to any situation to neutralize the threat, both home station and forward deployed. It’s also not just about repetition, which is important, but also the quality of the training our Airmen receive. Training must be executed with the importance it demands because failure to do so can lead to catastrophic consequences. Our National Defense Strategy states that “there is no sanctuary” and our mission remains the same no matter where we don the Blue Beret.

Modernizing our capabilities is a necessity to ensure our Defenders have the best weapons, personal gear, vehicles, communications equipment and command and control platforms. Our Defenders must have the most modernized equipment to provide them with the advantage to detect, deter and defeat the threat in any environment. Many of our Defenders have been achieving the mission without this and I commend you for the great work you’ve done. The budget battle is ongoing, every year, and though you might never hear about the details of these meetings, know your leadership team, with the support of the Chief of Staff, will continue to fight this battle.

Standardizing our equipment where it makes sense, is an important next step to ensure our Defenders possess the same resources and capabilities, no matter where they are. This standardization includes personal protective equipment and our duty equipment utilized every day on post. This will enable us to conduct our home station mission and our forward deployed mission with the same equipment and prevent the need for just-in-time training. Additionally, standardization of equipment will also feed our efforts to provide consistent training, as stated previously.

Enhancing the culture and environment for our Defenders is just as critical as the equipment you need to do your job. I cannot state this strongly enough. As we all know, this past year has been incredibly challenging across the Air Force and unfortunately, there is no magic solution. Trying to change the culture of any group is a difficult challenge because it requires a shift in mindset that happens slowly, one Defender at a time, one interaction at a time. Yes, leadership can and will provide guidance and support BUT we need each Defender to also be committed to a new culture; where connection and belonging matter, where despite your best efforts to handle a task alone, when you ask your wingman for support, they provide it without judgment. It is only in this way that we can be “Defender Strong!”

These focus areas are all critical to our success. We will see some successes and some challenges in this next year. We will learn from those challenges to do better next time and more importantly, we will celebrate each of you for the incredible commitment you show every day, proudly wearing the Blue Beret. It is my honor to serve you and I am extremely excited for what’s to come in this next year!

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