Air Force Featured Stories

Guns, cars ensure senior leader readiness

  • Published
  • By Wayne Amann
  • Air Force Office of Special Investigations Public Affairs
For the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, being a good wingman is a family affair, an Air Force family affair that starts at the top with senior leadership.

Four times a year a cadre of Air Force Special Investigations Academy instructors conduct a unique, two-day anti-terrorism course to ensure the safety and survivability of Air Force general officers, Senior Executive Service civilians, senior field grade officers and select senior enlisted advisors who travel in medium to critical threat areas.

The Senior Leader Security Seminar, held in Montross, Virginia, focuses on weapons familiarization and driving skills which collectively left a lasting impression on the 18 personnel who attended April 30-May 1, 2018.

“The foundation of our Air Force is the lethality of our training, and this OSI course is absolutely outstanding,” said Maj. Gen. Thomas A. Bussiere, Eighth Air Force and Joint-Global Strike Operations Center commander, at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. “Advance weapons was useful because of the ability to rapidly go from different types of weapons and produce effective fires. Plus, the ability to blend in offensive and defensive driving skills into your tool kit is very useful. If you’re a senior leader in the Air Force you need to consider attending this phenomenal course.”

Attendees began their training with a short classroom lecture on the terrorist attack cycle, situational awareness, surveillance and surveillance detection and other security concepts. They then participate in a surveillance detection exercise en route to the training venue. This exercise was designed to give attendees a better understanding of how surveillance works and what it takes to be vigilant while driving.

“Our senior leaders need to be prepared on any front,” said AFOSI Special Agent Dustin McLeod, Advanced Training Division superintendent and SLSS instructor. “While they may not, in their current rank and position, warrant a protective service detail, we need to keep them safe because they’re helping keep the Air Force safe.”

At the training site attendees were given an equipment demonstration and a demo on the effective use of cover and concealment. The rest of the day is devoted to safe firearms familiarization on various weapons systems including the AK-47 rifle, MP-5 sub-machine gun, M-4 carbine and 9mm pistol.

“The varied weapons we fired, gaining confidence with them, is invaluable training,” said Maj. Gen. Randall A. Ogden, Fourth Air Force commander at March Air Reserve Base, California. “This outstanding course, taught by fabulous instructors, will much better prepare you to survive in a high threat environment.”

Recognizing and analyzing attack indicators to predict and prevent attacks was the training emphasis for day two’s instinctive driving instruction. It included accident avoidance, high speed driving skills, attack recognition and evasive tactics.

Attendees practiced vehicle handling while performing maneuvers such as braking and turning exercises, high-speed driving, skid control, driving on an unimproved roadway and more, all designed to build on each other as attendees gained confidence in their abilities.

“(Those are) a lot of the skills you hope you never need, but I feel much more confident knowing I can pull them out of my bag of tricks,” said Chief Master Sgt. Chad T. Welch, 932nd Airlift Wing command chief at Scott AFB, Illinois. “This should be a required course for all Command Chiefs going to the (area of responsibility). I’m only the third enlisted troop to attend this course so a big shout out goes to Chief (Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O.) Wright for opening that door for us.”

SLSS has been taught, in various iterations, for 15 years and in its present format for a little more than a decade. As threats change, the training evolves and SLSS has adjusted course objectives to meet the needs of its attendees.

OSI couples with the O’Gara Group, a contractor which provides products and services, to more effectively protect and preserve lives and assets. They are part of the total team effort presenting the quarterly SLSS training.

“It takes a lot of moving parts, a great team communicating and coordinating, to put this course together,” said SA Aaron Moyer, SLSS course director. “Course preparation starts at the end of the previous iteration, four times a year, capitalizing on lessons learned. Sixty days out we reach out to the O’Gara Group and hotel staff, then 30 days out we have a list of attendees we send the reporting instructions to.”

SLSS officials work with the Air Force General Officers Group, the Colonels Group and Chiefs Group (for commands chiefs). They rack and stack potential attendees based on their position, location and projected assignments.

Each leader selected walks away from SLSS saying they had fun learning, which is the primary objective of the course.

“In the end the overall goal is to make sure they get the key aspects of the course,” said SA and SLSS course manager Dwayne Harris. “We make sure to balance the raw information by making it fun. When you’re having fun, those are the tactics you remember if you have to use them later.”