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Personnel influx to increase security forces morale, readiness at F.E. Warren

Airmen 1st Class Akeem Ferguson and Kevin Tufts fill out paperwork during their Unit Orientation Training Dec. 22, 2014, on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. During the training, security forces members learn the basic skills they need to accomplish the mission.  Ferguson and Tufts are with the 90th Missile Security Forces Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Malcolm Mayfield)

Airmen 1st Class Akeem Ferguson and Kevin Tufts fill out paperwork during their Unit Orientation Training Dec. 22, 2014, on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. During the training, security forces members learn the basic skills they need to accomplish the mission. Ferguson and Tufts are with the 90th Missile Security Forces Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Malcolm Mayfield)

F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. (AFNS) -- The 90th Security Forces Group officially added another 37 Airmen after completion of their Unit Orientation Training, or Phase 1 training, Dec. 23.

The new personnel report directly to the 90th Missile Security Forces Squadron. Additional Airmen will arrive in the future for the rest of the security forces group.

Along with other units, security forces has suffered from a lack of manning. These new Airmen are the mid-section of an influx of Airmen coming in to fill the ranks of security forces.

Coinciding with force improvement philosophy initiatives, the three missile wing bases' (90th Missile Wing, 91st Missile Wing and 341st Missile Wing) security forces groups pursued a missile field security realignment plan.

"The plan allowed for continued combat readiness and redistributing personnel to meet mission requirements," said Master Sgt. Vincent Bolden, the 90th MSFS weapons systems security NCO in charge.

Coupled with this reorganization was the arrival of first-term Airmen from technical training into the 90th MW security forces units.

"We currently do not have enough manning for every flight to post out 100 percent," said Master Sgt. Robert Wilson, a 90th MSFS flight chief. "In order to make up for that, we pull what we call a standby; essentially, our Airmen are made to work an extra one to two days with other flights to meet mandatory posting requirements."

This improvement affects the morale of the Airmen in security forces as well as readiness of the security forces groups within 20th Air Force.

"When you are on your fourth or fifth day in a row of 12 hour shifts, you get to a state where you may not be as alert or motivated to do your absolute best,” Wilson said. “This affects readiness as this is when mistakes start to happen; vehicle accidents, forgetting gear, not following proper procedures, etc."

Bolden said force improvement was the tool that brought about the needed reality to Air Force senior leaders that manning was suffering, and prolonged degradation would make matters worse for the mission.

"(People) alone can positively affect the ICBM mission, but these new Airmen need to be trained, certified in their duty positions, and progress in upgrade training," Bolden said. "The additional (personnel) will afford relief in instances where Airmen pulling 'standbys,' or additional days in the field, no longer have to do so."

More manning allows for additional training opportunities. These new additions to security forces also help in mission-related situations.

"Training workloads are going to soar as we train and equip our new Airmen," Bolden said. "Frontline supervisors will feel the effects as they assume greater responsibilities over their new subordinates. None of these tasks are new to our missile field leaders, but to assume these responsibilities in high volume would challenge the best of us. The manning increases have been a topic for months though, and all were eager to accept the challenge."

Even with the additional responsibilities these new Airmen bring, leadership in security forces welcomes the increase in personnel.

"The more security forces Airmen we have, the more we can have out in the field ready to respond to any threats," Wilson said. "It also increases the pool of security forces we have to draw from for our backup forces and the support forces that will be bringing out supplies."

The additional security forces personnel along with the other initiatives, such as the Model Defender initiative, which strives to better equip security forces to defend ICBMs, and the special-duty assignment pay for certain enlisted career fields with primary focus in the missile field, are large changes implemented as part of the force improvement program.

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