Development division helping equip security forces

  • Published
  • By Airman Eric Schloeffel
  • 347th Rescue Wing Public Affairs

The 820th Security Forces Group here reorganized itself and now includes a division dedicated to testing and evaluating new equipment for Airmen deploying to Iraq.

The new combat development division -- created in mid-October -- aims to supply the group with more effective gear, while also saving Air Force resources.

"Our long-term goal is to purchase viable equipment our Airmen can use -- worth the money the Air Force spends," said Capt. Charles Mottram, officer in-charge of the division.

Their initiative is to find effective solutions to problems their Airmen face with gear. The division also researches and tests cutting-edge technology for deployed units.

The division can research anything from a new style of boot to high-tech computers to use in the base defense operations center, the captain said.

"If there’s a new product on the market, we do research and get a test sample," Captain Mottram said. "If the sample product is something we can use, we purchase a lump sum and send it to our Airmen."

While still in its infancy, the division hopes to begin research on a wide variety of items in the near future.

"Our goal is to better equip our next unit that is deploying in a few months with small equipment items," Captain Mottram said.

Examples of those items include eyewear suited for the desert climate and undershirts with quick drying synthetic material to keep Airmen cooler, the captain said. One of the first major projects is finding a new unmanned aerial vehicle that can track stationery and moving targets in real time.

"(It) will provide the deployed squadron with improved base security and convoy and intelligence support," said Tech. Sgt. Dennis Parks, noncommissioned officer in charge of the division. "We hope to improve on situational awareness for the 820th Security Forces Group in Iraq."

Another project the division team is researching is finding non-lethal weapons, the sergeant said. These weapons include offer an option other than using deadly force. It can range from weapons that fire bean-bags to foam or mace.

"The use of non-lethal weapons is something the group wants to work toward," Sergeant Parks said. "We've been in contact with the non-lethal weapons school at Fort Leonard Wood (Mo.) to see what weapons we can get to train on."

The hope is these projects will benefit the group during deployments in Iraq and save the Air Force money and resources in the process.

"We hope to ensure the equipment the Air Force spends its money on is worthwhile," Captain Mottram said. "But the main focus of what we're doing is to supply deployed Airmen on the base perimeter or out in the convoy.

"It's their mission we have in mind,” he said. “And the ultimate goal is to make their job easier with better equipment."

(Courtesy of Air Combat Command News Service)