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Air Force improving force protection

by Staff Sgt. Chyenne A. Griffin
Combined Air Operations Center Public Affairs

6/2/2005 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFPN) -- Protecting military people or equipment is not a new thing in the Air Force, but the way it is being done is. More and more emphasis is being placed on how the Air Force does force protection business and the effects are being seen at home bases servicewide and the U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility.

“We’re facing a huge mindset change Air Force-wide,” said Col. Brad Spacy, Central Command Air Forces force protection director. “It’s a cultural change Air Force-wide to an expeditionary mindset … and the expeditionary mindset is all about everything we do.

“Security forces and (Office of Special Investigations agents) have had a piece of this puzzle for quite some time now,” the colonel said. “We’re now trying to spread that knowledge out across the service and give everyone a piece of the bigger picture.”

The three top issues on Colonel Spacy’s plate are base defense, force protection intelligence and foreign worker management, he said.

Base defense changes include a push for more ground combat skills training for Airmen who are most likely to see ground combat. Airmen who take the training should take it seriously, and for those who do not receive it, Colonel Spacy said to try and get it.

Force protection intelligence has a movement under way toward “predictive analysis” -- taking information received on a global level and applying it to the lowest level at individual bases.

Airmen have been active gatherers of information for quite some time, but more training is needed to properly analyze and use that information to predict a future threat, Colonel Spacy said.

“We can talk all day long about the day-to-day threats out there and collect information on what’s happened so far and how we should protect our local assets,” he said. “But by receiving and piecing together information on a more connected level, we can predict a possible car bomb … and provide more pinpointed security to protect against that attack.”

A new system is also under review to manage local employees and foreign workers who work daily on Air Force installations. Management of these assets is a big force protection concern, Colonel Spacy said.

“We’re working hard to push this change,” he said. “Normal force protection issues turn into real deaths … you really might actually use that gun. It’s real now; this is the difference between life and death for you and others.”

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