U.S. Air Force Tools-Up for Terrorists

Tech. Sgt. Matt Copley of Dover AFB talks with Master Sgt. Patrick Carr Feb. 1. Copley completed the first Unit Marshal Program training course at the base and now is authorized to carry an M9 pistol while on duty. — USAF Photo/Senior Amn William Johnson

“In August 2006 an Islamic extremist group targeted Dover AFB for an attack that was never carried out,” doverpost.com reports. “In May 2014, the base was put on lockdown following reports, later shown to be unfounded, that a suspicious person with a gun had been seen near an airplane hangar.” Yesterday, Colorado’s Dover Air Force Base launched operation “Eagle Shield” to counter/prepare for terrorist attack and/or “workplace violence.” Dover AFB implemented it as follows . . .

The program is divided into two parts. The first, the Security Forces Staff Arming Program, authorizes security personnel who do not normally carry weapons to be armed on duty. 436th Airlift Wing commander Col. Michael W. Grismer Jr. backed up the program by allowing government weapons, including the M14 selective fire automatic rifle and M9 semiautomatic pistol, to be carried in personal vehicles while responding to an emergency . . .

The second part of Eagle Shield is the most far-reaching: authored by security specialists Tech. Sgt. Michael Johnson and Staff Sgts. Bryan Miller, Joshua Botto and John Broughal, the program trains selected airmen – from airplane mechanics to cooks to administrative specialists – giving them the ability to protect others at work.

Dubbed the Unit Marshal Program, staff sergeants and above are selected by their commanders to undergo a wide-ranging eight-day course in handling a 9mm pistol, use of force, reacting to an active shooter situation, communications and working with security personnel during emergencies.

Dover is the first installation to implement a unit marshals program.

Thanks to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter’s 2015 directive to all service branches to increase security against terrorist attack,  Dover’s unit marshall program will be the “baseline” for similar programs throughout the Air Force. The U.S. Army and Navy are also studying it for force-wide implementation.

Along with a general loosening of on-base and off-duty carry regulations, this is the right answer. As we will no doubt see.

[h/t DC]