Military News

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

From Alpha to Bravo, what it means for Team Malmstrom

by Airman 1st Class Magen M. Reeves
341st Missile Wing Public Affairs

8/3/2015 - MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont.  -- All across the U.S., Airmen, families, and other base personnel are experiencing an increase of the military bases' force protection conditions.

Force protection conditions range from Normal, Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, to Delta. Normal means that there is no threat of terrorist activity. Bravo has a possibility of terrorist activity. And in Delta, a terrorist attack has taken place in the immediate area.

With the increase from Alpha to Bravo, several security measures on base have changed. These changes include, but are not limited to, 100 percent vehicle occupancy ID checks at the gate and random individual vehicle inspections. These changes have not only effected Malmstrom but Department of Defense facilities nationwide.

Base leadership and security forces across the country are stressing the message to the base populace that Force Protection Condition Bravo is in the best interest for the base.

"Increased ID checks are important," said Senior Master Sgt. Mark Chasteen, 341st Security Forces Squadron operations superintendent. "It's important because we need to ensure that there are no unauthorized person or persons gaining access to Malmstrom to keep the base populace safe."

In Bravo, SFS vehicle searchers are looking for anything that is out of the ordinary. The vehicle searches are randomly determined by the time of day.

"We must protect our bases and service members everywhere if we are to be able to protect our country," said Airman 1st Class Jordan Dozier, 741st Missile Security Forces Squadron.

Security forces has increased the manpower at the gate to help off-set the traffic. Multiple lanes are also opened up when the line at the gate becomes too long. Part of the SFS Defenders' mission is to move traffic as quickly as possible but still uphold security requirements to allow people on base safely.

"Security Forces is here to protect personnel and property," said Chasteen. "There's nothing personal behind the random checks. Have patience with the Defenders."

The change in the force protection level occurred due to several reported instances of terrorist threats.

"A generalized warning went out across the U.S. of the possibility of higher threats across military organizations or bases," said Chasteen.

There are several precautions Airmen, families and base personnel can take to minimize the likelihood of being attacked.

"Always stay alert. Keep vigilant. Report anything out of the ordinary," said Chasteen. "Force protection is everyone's job, not just Defenders'."

Suspicious activity includes, but is not limited to, individuals loitering outside the gate or taking pictures of the base from outside the fence. Also, off base encounters should be taken seriously as well. Possible offenders try to gain information by stalking or asking invasive questions about personal lives and base activities. If any of these individuals are seen, report it to SFS or the Eagle Eye program through Operations of Special Investigations.

"The enemy is learning to blend in and they're looking like everyone else," said Dozier.

Force protection conditions are put in place to assure the safety of the base populace. It also serves to deter present and future acts of terrorism against Malmstrom's Airmen, friends and families.

"I think in today's world it is important to take extra precautions," said Dozier. "We have families on base that could be vulnerable, and as the Force Protection Condition Bravo change is DOD wide, it is a response to a changing world and an evolving threat."

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