A Year in Review -- 2022

Mr. Timothy A. Gerald – Acting Security Forces Director

The past few years were busy for Defender Nation as it. We maintained readiness through a global pandemic, assisted in the evacuation of Afghan refugees, and protected bases at home and abroad.

During my tenure as Deputy Director and now Acting Director, the career field has refocused on Air Base Ground Defense.

Air Base Ground Defense (ABGD) is the operational term to assign ground combat operations in defense of U.S. Air Force bases and resources. Security Forces moves, shoots, and communicates to conduct these operations around the world.

The Security Forces Enterprise focused on the following key initiatives throughout 2022 and will continue to prioritize them in the coming years:

  • WEPTAC: Air Force Security Forces is establishing the Security Forces Weapons and Tactics Program to effectively counter threats to our warfighting missions across the globe. The Program aims to develop and leverage the SF Enterprise institutional reservoir of tactical and operational knowledge by graduating Defenders from the Instructor Course. Modeled after the USAF Weapons School, established in 1949, the SF Weapons & Tactics Instructor Course aims to align Defenders with the community’s well-established W&T program and tactics development process.

  • Training: Training is an investment. Proper training provides our Total Force Defenders with the agility necessary to address future conflicts in high-threat areas and pressing worldwide commitments, flight line security, resource protection, and base security zone coordination. Our commitment to taking care of the force and revectoring to ABGD is exemplified in the Exception waiver for staff sergeant and technical sergeants testing for next year’s Lt Colonel and Colonel promotion cycle.

  • Fitness Test: We continue to press forward in the five-step effort to develop tier 2 occupationally specific and relevant physical fitness test and standards for the career field.

  • Law enforcement specialty: The Department of Defense LE must be professional, effective, and efficient to be regarded as a model to follow worldwide. Adherence to the highest standards and fundamentals of professionalism is essential to the profession of LE; training constitutes the glue of effectiveness that forms the foundation for successful LE efforts. On many fronts, Security Forces units continue to excel, e.g., the monthly National Incident-Based Reporting statistics to the FBI have resulted in continual 100% success with zero warnings or errors reported. This is testament to the hard work of those doing the entry and the Indexing Compliance Managers review the cases.

  • Equipment: The Air Staff is working hard to acquire the right equipment for Defenders. Helmets, properly-fitting body armor, and vests will make Defenders more ready for the fight.

  • Counter-Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (C-sUAS): Defensive base operations is greater in scope than any single career field. Air and space professionals from multiple specialties have a role to play; support will include day-to-day execution and the transition into an effective fighting force. Joint A3 (Air Force Directorate of Air, Space, and Information Operations) and A4 (Air Force Chief Information Officer) synchronized efforts will support the new Department of the Air Force focal point and nest skillsets.

  • Human Weapon System: We know that the only way we are going to accomplish our key priorities is by taking care of Airmen. We must think through how to best support Defenders from a physical, mental, and spiritual perspective. By enhancing a culture of well-being for Defenders, we can help cultivate a positive environment - and create a more effective force.

  • Female Defender Initiative (FDI): Female Defenders are essential to Security Forces because they bring a different perspective to the career field. The Air Staff is making an effort to recruit, develop, and retain our female representation in the career field.

U.S. competitors and violent extremist organizations will challenge us. We must be ready to compete, deter, and win in an increasingly challenging environment. I am confident in Defender Nation and our ability to defend the base.

As we enter 2023, we will continue to look at our policies, procedures, and training. Together we will organize, train, and equip to ensure all Defenders remain proficient and ready to defend the base. I look forward to what comes next for Defender Nation.

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