By Staff Sgt. Matthew Coleman-Foster | 50th Space Wing Public Affairs
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The 50th Security Forces Squadron antiterrorism flight embodies Air Force leadership’s “Year of the Defender” campaign by combating hostile actions or activities through force protection measures.
The flight conducts risk and vulnerability assessments on assets, the base and for special events.
“I think Year of the Defender brings light to some of the things Security Forces members do,” said Master Sgt. Jason Smith, 50th SFS antiterrorism program manager. “Sometimes, people don’t exactly understand what we do or why we do it.”
“They may see us running down the hallways toward a security incident or inspecting bags at the portals. What they don’t see is the person we stopped who was trying to remove top secret information from the restricted area to sell to foreign entities, or the person’s life we saved by quickly assessing a trauma situation and applying first aid; all while ensuring the safety of everyone else.”
The flight is responsible for maintaining the force protection measures for the base as well as off-site facilities within the Front Range and geographically separated units around the world. They cannot do this without the help of other agencies though.
“We work heavily with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, SFS investigations, intelligence and our AT counterparts across the Front Range,” said Staff Sgt. Paul Larson, 50th SFS AT NCOIC.
Smith said AT staff are required to complete Air Force Special Operations Center’s AT level two course. The flight also constantly strives to evolve the installation’s warfighting superiority through innovation.
“Once AT level two is complete, there are a host of other courses we can attend to increase our knowledge such as the Security Engineering Course and Dynamics of International Terrorism,” he said.
The job requires them to make certain Schriever AFB is staying a step ahead of those who may desire to harm the mission.
“We evaluate denial and deterrent systems as well as processes and procedures,” Larson said. “We employ random measures to counter any patterns that we may create to keep the enemy guessing.”
Additionally the flight briefs leadership on assessment results, vulnerabilities and force protection projects.
“We also brief on current threats and countermeasures both locally and globally,” he said.
The AT flight plays a crucial role in the 50th SFS and the 50th Space Wing’s ability to successfully and innovatively execute today’s operations by taking an active role in antiterrorism and force protection.
“The processes that we create and the countermeasures that we employ allow our space mission to continue unhindered,” Larson said.
Additionally, Larson added the countless hours of exercises and drills SFS members go through all point to the success of the 50th SW’s mission.
What’s not seen is our defenders conditioning themselves to run towards danger instead of away from it, what to do once they are on scene, how to move, and how to quickly destroy the threat. Year of the Defender helps to shed a small bit of light on these subjects,” he said.
Smith said the most rewarding part of his flight’s mission is knowing what they do helps to keep the mission running and people safe.
“Our mission is not in the spotlight often and we like it that way,” he said. “We do the background work to make sure that our people on the ground are able to continue doing what they need to do to protect the base. It all works together to create a safe environment for the people here at Schriever.”
Larson said their flight can empathize when lockdowns and alarms occur, but their flight would like people to know one thing.
“Nothing we do is by accident and we definitely don’t take pleasure in making people late,” he said. “What we do and when we do it has purpose allowing the base to run smoothly, countering both internal and external threats, and allowing the mission to continue without fail. We take great pride in having a small hand in that success.”
This article is the fourth part of a series highlighting the 50th Security Forces Squadron flights. See future issues of the Schriever Sentinel for more information.