By Dave Smith
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The purview of the 21st Security Forces Squadron is much broader than guarding entrances to Peterson Air Force Base and patrolling its grounds. Those are necessary and crucial aspects of what the squadron does, but there is much more that escapes notice.
An important function of the work done by the 21st SFS, yet one that is not often in the limelight, is anti-terrorism. In an office on Peterson Air Force Base, it is up to Jim Coffey, installation anti-terrorism program manager, Jason Painter and Staff Sgt. Scott Streepy, installation anti-terrorism mission assurance officers, to keep the base and personnel safe.
The team evaluates, trains on, and implements defensive measures to reduce the vulnerability of individuals and property to acts of terror, Coffey said. Carrying out this mission includes limited response and containment by local military forces.
“The thing with anti-terrorism,” Coffey said, “is that we touch about every aspect of every mission on base. We interact with everyone.”
“We used to work directly for the wing,” said Painter. “But we work for 21st SFS now, working a wing program. We provide direction to every host and tenant on base.”
Interaction between the AT team and others happens in a number of ways. The most typical way is through anti-terrorism training sessions and active shooter exercises. The most common training sessions are related to anti-terrorism awareness, active shooter response protocols, and work place violence, Painter said.
AT briefings are given at all Right Start orientations and the office is heavily involved in the installation exercise program. Facility managers receive anti-terrorism training too.
“We provide all brand new unit, group and wing commanders level three anti-terrorism training,” Coffey said.
The office facilitates the installation Threat Working Groups, which allows up to date anti-terror and threat information to be shared directly with the Wing Commander Col. Doug Schiess for awareness and action. The AT team also ensures the proper implementation of force protection conditions, and that appropriate action is taken depending upon the threat level.
The most important thing anyone can do in regard to terrorism is to pay attention. Constant vigilance and reporting are the most important actions for an individual to take, especially with the world like it is today, Coffey said.
“We want the populace to know if they see anything not right, or suspicious, they need to report it,” said Painter.
“We’re constantly harping (on people) about practicing individual protective measures,” Coffey said.
Anti-terror information is passed on to deploying Airmen by their unit deployment managers and current overseas threat briefings are conducted by the Office of Special Investigations. But the AT team is more concerned about people on leave taking leisure trips outside of the continental United States. For those people, unit anti-terrorism representatives ensure specific requirements are met prior to travel, but if there are more detailed questions the representatives contact the AT team.
The top pieces of advice for people traveling overseas are to avoid large crowds and to pay attention.
“Maintain situational awareness,” Painter said. “Don’t stand out and keep a low profile. Unfortunately that is not just for overseas, but it’s here, too.”
In the light of a great deal of terror activity taking place all around the world, AT officers are constantly researching and learning about new threats and terror groups. For the typical person, it seems overwhelming. For the officers, it is more so.
“That’s what we see every day,” Painter said.
The office publishes an anti-terrorism newsletter to keep Team Pete updated on potential issues and threats. For more information contact your unit anti-terrorism representative.
Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of articles highlighting some of the major responsibilities of the 21st Security Forces Squadron.