Arming More Airmen

Air Force installations around the US are beginning to arm more security forces airmen, as part of a response to recent shootings on and off base. The security forces staff arming program, unit marshal program, and the Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act programs all help commanders increase force protection on installations, according to the Air Force. “We looked at active-shooter incidents across the country, and there are statistics out there that show where many ended without police intervention because there was somebody there who had a concealed carry permit or somebody interdicted the active shooter,” said Maj. Keith Quick, the action officer for Air Force Security Forces Integrated Defense. “These programs allow commanders the ability to arm additional trained airmen who could interdict before police arrive and are trained to stand down when police arrive.” At Dover AFB, Del., the security force staff arming program—which allows security forces members in staff billets at the squadron, group, wing, or major command level to carry a government-issued weapon while on duty—allowed the base to increase its response force by 200 percent, according to a press release. “Now staff members are able to respond in … case … our patrols run into an active shooter incident or any incident where they might need backup,” said Lt. Col. Dana Metzger, commander of the 436th Security Forces Squadron.