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Applying Force Protection here at Eglin…what can you do to be prepared!

Maj. Scott Foley

Maj. Scott Foley

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- We are all briefed annually the essence of Force Protection is the ability to protect people and resources needed to successfully complete the mission. The United States Air Force provides the world's most lethal and technologically superior air and space combat force.

Enemies of our great nation must attempt to counter our airpower by attacking us where we are most vulnerable: on the ground, at home station or when it is least expected. We can easily equate that to Team Eglin by simply looking at the multitudes of professions and organizations here and realize we all play a part of this "air power supremacy." Team Eglin, it not simply aircraft, but the numerous agencies, units and systems that make our air power superior.

A single ground attack or successful penetration of a secure operating area by the enemy could be disastrous. Our ultimate success as a combat-effective Air Force rests with each of us and our ability to understand that force protection is everyone's responsibility. We must remember that every military member and government employee is a human sensor and should report all suspicious activities to protect our base. Without this, Team Eglin unnecessarily increases the risk to our mission success and our country's air supremacy.

On Eglin, we employ numerous force protection initiatives in the areas of intrusion detection, physical security emplacements and increased vigilance though our Eagle Eyes and our random anti-terrorism measures program to help our installation project the hardest possible target without significantly impeding our ability to achieve Team Eglin missions. Additionally, we all experience identification checks at the entry control points, commercial vehicles being searched and vetted at appropriate ECPs and visitors properly being sponsored regardless if it is for a business or personal visit. We do this to assist in being as unpredictable as possible and to disrupt the possible planning, surveillance or operational phase of a potential terrorist or criminal act against our facilities or our people.

Force protection is a very easy word to say but often difficult to accomplish here in the Eglin environment. We are all creatures of habit; with our daily schedules and planning, we get caught up in routine patterns. Is it necessary to change everything? No, it is not, but we do need to keep our overall situational awareness at a level equivalent to the current threat level for our nation and our location.

Please remember in the potential terrorist's mind...predictability = vulnerability. Terrorist observe routines to help them establish and assess potential targets both at home and overseas. As a result, the 96 SFS will be implementing random vehicle inspections. The 96 SFS is tasked with conducting these Random Installation Entry Point Checks in accordance with AF instructions 31-201, and with approval from the 96th Air Base Wing commander, Col. Bruce McClintock.

How will the inspections work and how does it affect you? In coordination with the Staff Judge Advocate, a random number is selected for inspection for each day and time selected throughout the year. When available, Military Working Dogs K-9 teams will be utilized to conduct the random searches of vehicles entering our base. For example, this may be every "tenth or twelve" car for one hour on a certain day of the week. Security personnel will inspect the entire vehicle, as well as vehicle documents to ensure the vehicle is properly registered, with valid insurance and driver's license.

Random Installation Entry Point Checks are designed to deter individuals from entering or departing the installation with unauthorized items; and while they may require a small amount of your time, they are essential to the continued safety and security here.

The Installation Commander further directed Security Forces to minimize the overall impact to personnel entering the installation. The vehicle search team will ensure that all aspects of the operation are completed professionally. It will only take a few minutes of your time. If your vehicle is randomly selected for the search process, please follow the instructions of the Security Forces member or Department of the Air Force Civilian Guard and you will be on your way in no time.

The phrase "the best defense is a good offense" applies well to the focus of our anti-terrorism/force protection programs. By varying the implementation of these procedures, the installation changes the external appearance of its physical security measures in ways that our nation's enemies cannot predict.

Thank you in advance for supporting our AT/FP program and for any slight inconvenience you may experience during the random vehicle searches while entering the base. Any questions regarding this program should be directed to Security Forces Operations, 2-5339.

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