Civilians Doing Base Security: Who Are They?
By Master Sgt. Anthony Fleming, 17th Security Forces Squadron
/ Published March 30, 2010
GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
Who are those civilians standing at our gates and driving our Security Forces patrol cars? Prior to 9/11 we solely used military Security Forces to guard our installation. However, due to an overwhelming deployment tempo, the Air Force needed to augment the Security Forces defending home station bases. For a couple of years, the Army provided entry control duties. Then for several years, we rotated through a few civilian contract companies. Many bases used and still use augmentees as their primary source of base defense.
Under the civilian contract companies, little integration and interaction existed between the military and contract guards. Supervision of contract guards was handled by the contractor. They often had different work schedules, little training and limited authority to write citations, detain or apprehend personnel for violations. They were limited to base entry control duties and regarded as temporary help.
As of Oct. 1, 2008, contract guards transitioned to Department of the Air Force civilians. They reflect a change from the run-of-the-mill base entry control security guard to a professional force. Thanks to the National Defense Authorization Act, the DAF officer initiative broadened the scope of responsibility for defending the base. This new force receives the same training, utilizes the same weaponry, has the same authority and performs the same missions as their mlitary counterparts.
Goodfellow is recognized as the benchmark program in Air Education and Training Command and the Air Force. We were the first to hire 100 percent of the authorized DAF police and are the only base to sustain the force with virtually zero turnovers. The key to the success of this program is the full integration of the DAF force. They are not temporary gate guards, but 'Defenders' of the base.
Here at Goodfellow, we are more fortunate than most bases and benefit greatly from having a pool of highly experienced and professional team of civilian police. Most of our officers have 10-20 years of experience as enlisted Army and Air Force police, contract security guards, and local, state and federal police.
The benefits of the DAF police program have been substantial to the 17th Security Forces Squadron and to the defense of the base. They are true force multipliers and are ready to defend your base with their lives.