DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – --
If leaders around the U.S. Air Force were asked about their responsibilities, it’s safe to say that a common response could be commitment to Airmen. Part of that is ensuring their safety. Security forces personnel are relied on at all times to carry the weight of this critical responsibility by ensuring the safety of the base. Security forces can multiply this force capability through training Airmen as security force augmentees.
Airmen from a variety of career fields are trained by the 7th Security Forces Squadron Augmentation Duty Program to work side-by-side with defenders by becoming augmentees. Five to 10 individuals from each First Term Airman Course are tasked with earning the ability to bear arms and defend the base.
The three-day course is filled with lessons on the use of force, blood-borne pathogens, baton and rifle-fighting techniques, shoot and no-shoot scenarios, and a variety of others. This course tactically prepares augmentees to work with defenders.
In their first lesson, the augmentees learn that the amount of force used must be reasonable based on the totality of circumstances at the time of their decision. It’s solidified that reasonable justification is mandatory when using lethal or non-lethal force.
“This lesson gives them an idea on how to make decisions in real-world situations that require the use of force,” said Richard Cook, 7th SFS ADP coordinator. “It goes over less-than-lethal forms of force, such as the use of batons, weapon strikes, hand-to-hand combat and tasers. It also explains how less-than-lethal force can be lethal if used incorrectly.”
After this lesson, they are challenged to exercise their judgement in shoot or no-shoot scenarios on the Engagement Skills Trainer 2000. The EST 2000 is a computerized weapon-training system that helps put individuals in simulations where their use-of-force judgement can be sharpened and evaluated. The system displays real situations that Airmen might encounter, such as store robberies and hostage situations. Augmentees must decide whether or not lethal force is necessary. If it is, they must execute with little delay and exceptional accuracy.
After these simulations, Cook usually offers an opportunity for voluntary exposures to a taser. According to Cook, this is because it’s recommended that anyone who’s around or uses tasers should know their capabilities.
“If anyone is brave enough to take part in this exposure, they are usually proud and feel like they have a better understanding of this less-than-lethal force,” said Cook.
The next part of the course brings them back to the books during the blood-borne pathogens lesson where they learn about the precautions taken while conducting full-body searches.
“The different kinds of protective measures individuals use while conducting searches are introduced in this lesson,” said Cook. “They learn that communication between the searcher and subject is important to preventing potential harmful exposures caused by needles or other sharp objects.”
When not in the classroom, other forms of hands-on training take place, such as room clearing, handcuff training, full-body-search techniques and hand-to-hand combat. The augmentees are quizzed on what they’ve learned after training.
After completing their lessons and passing all tests, augmentees spend their final day of training qualifying at combat arms training and maintenance.
“I believe this course was very informative, and I look forward to using the knowledge I gained when I work with defenders,” said Airman 1st Class Jarod Nalls, 7th Equipment Maintenance Squadron aircraft structural maintenance apprentice.
This program multiplies the force by providing Dyess AFB with more Airmen who are capable to work with defenders.