Award-winning Defenders strive for more

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Adam R. Shanks
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force leadership proclaimed 2019 as the “Year of the Defender.” With this proclamation, the Air Force aims to aggressively improve its Security Forces, in what is known as the "Reconstitute Defenders Initiative."

By focusing efforts, the Defenders ensure any battle fought will never be fair for our adversaries.

“The RDI to me is a way to continuously improve our forces in the largest enlisted career field in the Air Force,” said Staff Sgt. Eric McLelland, the 6th Security Forces Squadron NCO in charge of supply. “Even if it’s small improvements in specific areas, they all add up to be a significant boon to our overall ability.”

As 2018’s Air Mobility Command Outstanding Large Security Forces Unit, the 6th SFS at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, always works tirelessly to improve in conjunction with the RDI.

Some of the improvements came as an overhaul to MacDill’s Base Defense Operations Center, bringing in renovations and 4K monitors to supplement the team’s vision around base. Another improvement came with a new ability to access the National Crime Information Center in the squadron’s vehicles.

Defenders can now access the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s crime database to run license plate information before stepping out of the vehicle. Prior to this, laptops in the patrol cars did not have this capability, and information would need to be routed to BDOC’s controllers first.

“Not only does the NCIC capability speed up our response process, it allows us to quickly figure out the history of the individual we’ve stopped,” said Staff Sgt. Chance Pepper, the 6th SFS NCO in charge of electronic security systems. “Additionally, the laptops have Air Force Network access, so our patrols can utilize AFNet websites while out of the office.”

Another big change was the transition from 12-hour shifts to 8-hour shifts for Defenders at MacDill.

“No one has anything bad to say about this change,” laughed McLelland. “It’s a way for our leadership to give time back to their Airmen, and allow them time in the day to knock out any administrative tasks they need to do.”

As the Year of the Defender pans out, MacDill’s Security Forces Squadron continues to aggressively improve on their capability to deter and defend against threats to the base or across the globe.