Air Force Security Forces Center: A year in review
By Brig. Gen. Roy W. Collins, Air Force Security Forces
/ Published December 14, 2020
WASHINGTON (AFNS) --
2020 has been a fast-paced year for Defender Nation. Our Security Forces Enterprise navigated tough decisions on security and risk to maintain unblinking security for our installations at home and abroad. We enable the Department of the Air Force to fly, fight and win in air, space and cyberspace. To continue this success, we must be ready to respond to emerging threats across all domains.
The top priority as Security Forces leaders, is to protect the Air Force community while safeguarding and maintaining our ability to defend the nation and its interests. We will continue to protect our people and our mission.
COVID-19 placed force health protection into the forefront of our efforts. We will continue to ensure that Defenders have the most up-to-date information and resources on appropriate measures to prevent the potential spread of the virus.
The risk-based measures we are taking are consistent with guidance from the Department of the Air Force, Department of Defense and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We put safety procedures in place for handling of identification cards, distancing and personal protective equipment. I am exploring the fielding of even more protective measures to include leveraging technology where feasible and acceptable.
I understand these restrictions cause hardships on Defenders, families and local communities. I encourage everyone to lean on their commands for support and guidance during this challenging time.
Defenders remain safe by practicing both professional “on the job” and personal “downtime” safety protocols that ensure a high level of readiness. A personal safety focus ensures we have mission success.
I am committed to preserving the ability of Defenders to execute mission-essential tasks worldwide. To do this, our Defenders must continue receiving world-class training that outpaces our adversaries. This can only be achieved through repetition and a culture of continuous improvement. This training does not stop during a COVID environment. In fact, we took an in-depth look at our Civilian, Enlisted and Officer Academy training to determine what precautions our cadres and trainees required to continue to produce Defenders while COVID infection rates continued to rise.
As we navigated our way through the COVID crisis, we also had to look at our security and training processes related to the law enforcement protests over the summer. We found a few areas for improvement and although our senior leaders have a high level of satisfaction in Defender responses and decision-making to properly secure our installations, missions, families and each other, we did find some areas where we can – and will – do better.
I am especially proud of the progress we made this year on the Security Forces Enterprise Plan. Below are a few areas that show the elements we are prioritizing for success:
- Human capital: We pushed through the Direct Hire Authority to ensure entry level equitable pay with local law enforcement. We also revamped the Civilian-Enlisted-Officer (CEO) Training Academy to ensure proficient civilian forces.
- Weapons: We continue to standardize our equipment, facilities and technology to enjoy efficiencies for funding, training and procurement. This makes us interoperable and multiplies the force. We started fielding the new M18 handgun and will continue fielding that and other weapons.
- Equipment: We must raise our Defenders to a level where they perform at their best. We can only accomplish this performance level by setting high expectations and investing in them. Female Body Armor is one example of how the Air Force is investing in Defenders during the Year of Integrated Base Defense.
- Defensive Base Operations: As part of the Year of Integrated Base Defense, the Air Force is standing up a Defensive Base Operations Division to counter emerging air threats via a cross-functional Air Base Defense approach, leveraging existing technology while rapidly developing next-generation capabilities.
- Technology modernization: We must be demanding customers of industry and Air Force partners to seek out next-generation equipment and technology decisive for the battlefield. Teaming with AFOSI, the AF Justice Information System was put online in ten months, fulfilling a congressional mandate and has already made significant progress.
- Defenders are true professionals: They maintain unblinking security every day with a smile and a commitment to do what’s right. Senior leaders impeccably trust in our Defenders’ responses and decision-making to properly secure our installations, missions, families and each other.
We will enter 2021 continuing to look at our policies, procedures and readiness. Together we will organize, train and equip to ensure all Defenders remain proficient and ready.
I look forward to what comes next for Defender Nation.
Brig. Gen. Roy W. Collins