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Army National Guard augments AMC security forces

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SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (USTCNS) --- Beginning this week, Army National Guard soldiers will augment security forces at Air Mobility Command bases nationwide.

The move will bring more than 1,400 troops to the 12 bases in the command, as part of what AMC security forces leaders call an historic initiative.

The initiative is described in a Dec. 16 memorandum of agreement between the Air Force and the Army for force protection assistance while the Air Force works to build up its own security forces career field. It calls for as many as 8,000 Army National Guard soldiers to mobilize to augment security at Air Force installations worldwide for up to two years. The mobilization is authorized under Title 10 of the U.S. Code.

Col. Jim Hutchison, director of AMC Security Forces, described the initiative as a significant “move by the US Air Force that demonstrates our joint capabilities with the US Army. As important, it fills the manpower void that enables us to maintain the high level of force protection at our installations…Air Force wide. We are very fortunate to have the Army Guard with us!”

Headquarters Air Force Security Forces at the Pentagon is the service’s lead for overseeing Army support, and the Air Force Security Forces Center at Lackland AFB, Texas, is responsible for executing this major initiative.

Air Force officials have deemed security forces one of the most stressed of all career fields, meaning there are more requirements than the active duty component can handle. After Sept. 11, 2001, the Air Force called Air Reserve Component airmen to active duty, but now they are being demobilized. In addition, in order to bolster the Air and Space Expeditionary Force manpower libraries, the ARC now has its own deployment requirements to support.

The ARNG augmentation will also provide greater flexibility for security forces deployments and allow those at home station to return to more normal shifts.

Col Jim Harper, deputy director AMC Security Forces, said the soldiers have recently completed their training in force protection fundamentals at several Army regional training centers. “They have now arrived at each of our AMC bases and are going through local unit orientation training before being integrated into each units operational mission,” he said. The soldiers will also deploy with a command and administrative element to perform Army-specific command and control, personnel, pay, leave and other functions.

Soldiers will perform such duties as installation entry control, vehicle searches, patrol or response team member, support random security measures and perimeter patrols.

“We are integrating the soldiers into our operations and treating them as our own troops, just as we did with the Air Guard and Reserve security forces after 9-11. We will be one team; one team, one fight, working together for one win as we protect our bases, people and resources in our nations Global War Against Terrorism” said Harper.

To help integrate soldiers into force protection operations, AMC has integrated four Army liaison officers to work as part of the headquarters staff.

According to Thomas Hall, assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs, the Department of Defense is leveraging all its active and reserve assets in the spirit of joint operations and interservice cooperation.

“We intend to ensure that our Guard and Reserve are assigned the right missions, fully integrated with the active component, and deployed in the right numbers required to deter adversaries and help fight and win any conflict,” he said.

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