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Personnel scanners provide added level of security in Afghanistan

January 2, 2012

By Summer Barkley

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (Jan. 2, 2012) -- It took the combined resources of Army, Air Force, contractors and civilian air assets to move a personnel scanner into place at an entry control point here Dec. 31.

The scanner is a Product Manager Force Protection Systems item that is managed in theater by the Program Manger Guardian liaison officer and PM FPS.

Program managers and product managers supporting Operation Enduring Freedom bring materiel solutions to support war fighter requirements that have been validated by U.S. Forces Afghanistan. They are in theater under the authority of Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisitions, Logistics and Technology, known as ASA(ALT), and supported by 401st Army Field Support Brigade, which leverages the materiel enterprise to field, sustain and redistribute equipment.

Falling under Army Sustainment Command, Army Materiel Command's operational arm, the 401st is AMC's single face to the field.

The scanner was emplaced at an entry control point heavily used by Afghan civilians requiring access to a coalition run hospital. Several hundred persons enter the control point every day. Before having the personnel scanner, each person was subjected to a physical pat-down as part of the entry process. Now they will step into a scanner similar to those used in airports.

"The scanner will reduce personnel pat-downs, provide a better security posture and move personnel through the [entry control] process faster," said Maj. Nicole Willis, Program Manager Guardian liaison officer. "It provides an extra layer of security and will be safer for everyone."

"The [coalition run] hospital is a huge COIN (Counter Insurgency) effort," said Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael J. Larsen, a security forces airman with the 175th Wing, Maryland Air National Guard assigned to 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron ."The scanner will be a 10-fold improvement that provides a less intrusive X-ray scan, a more thorough search and increases our stand-off distance. It's a huge asset."

Willis said it took about six weeks to complete the mission.

"The planning was pretty quick," she said.

The execution needed more coordination due to the number of groups involved such as coordinating for a civilian helicopter to use a military sling system Willis said.

Once the scanner was emplaced, it was estimated that it would be up and running in about two hours. A generator and fencing were installed by contractors and Air Force security personnel.

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