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Security Forces Training

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by Airman 1st Class Danielle Johnson

Air Force Security Forces Training now lasts 65 (academic) days instead of 51, and teaches security forces students about missile security, convoy actions, capture and recovery of nuclear weapons, law enforcement, directing traffic and nonlethal tactics such as using pepper spray and pressure points on a body.

Some of the standard training aspects remain, but the new course increases a student’s proficiency level. It also eliminates the computer-based training students were required to take at their first duty station, allowing the students to get actual hands-on experience while at the Air Force Security Forces Academy at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.

A new officer course lasting 78 (academic) days instead of 60 began Aug. 26 (2004).

“The course was lengthened post-9/11 to make sure the security forces had all the skill sets they needed to do the job they’re doing,” said Lt. Col. Mike Kelly, 343rd Training Squadron commander.

The school’s projected number of graduates for fiscal 2005 is 5,305.

“Within weeks of getting to their first base, (security forces Airmen) are put out to post (by) themselves,” said Tech. Sgt. Steven Thompson, a 343rd TRS instructor. “We want to try to get them… prepared, so they can go from here, do their initial in-processing, do some initial training specific to their base and send them to work.”

The goal is to produce a “much more experienced, much more proficient Airman,” said Colonel Kelly.

“(Air Force leaders) wanted to bring in more things such as missile security, some more law enforcement aspects that we weren’t currently teaching in our 51-day course,” said Sergeant Thompson. “Then, in combination with 9/11 happening, this idea came up, funding came down and we were able to get a new 65-day course started with an end-goal of an 80-day course in two more years” (by Fiscal Year 2007).

Sergeant Thompson said experiences in Iraq have also added a few training subjects not originally covered, such as communications equipment, patrolling, hand grenades and military operations in urban terrain.

Coincidentally, 37th Training Wing Commander Col. Mary Kay Hertog also had a part in the development of this course.

“This was all a result of Colonel Hertog having gone to Iraq and (seeing) where there were training deficiencies, coming back when she was the Air Combat Command security forces director and telling us we (needed) to add this stuff to our course,” said Colonel Kelly.

The 65-day course is currently in a validation period, during which the instructors will fine-tune the course materials and test questions and training scenarios. (Note: The validation period ended November 8).

“We’re kind of fleshing things out to make sure we’ve got everything in order the way it should be, with the right material teaching the right things,” said Colonel Kelly.

Sergeant Thompson said the new classes will contain the same number of students as before, but instructors now will teach 13 classes at once instead of 10. That will mean an increase from about 1,200 students in training at one time to more than 1,500.

To handle the increased demands of the course, the squadron added nearly 20 instructors and 37 vehicles. New training areas are currently being built.

Colonel Kelly said there are plans to build a new dorm to house the additional students. Despite the expected growing pains, he is optimistic about the new course.

“I think it’s going to be great for the career field,” he said. “I think commanders are going to be happy with the troops they get out of here.”

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