Air Force Featured Stories

Security forces defend Ali Al Salem from drones

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Daryn Murphy
  • 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

The threat of unmanned aerial system attacks against U.S. forces in the Middle East has given U.S. Central Command reasons to increase the training and preparedness of bases in the theater of operations.

Airmen at Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait, have continued this ongoing effort to protect and defend the installation from UAS threats.

"We take care of the airspace for our area,” said Staff Sgt. Daniel Butts, 386th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of counter-small unmanned aerial systems. “So we're here to detect, track, identify and then, if need be, defeat.”

U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army assets have been bolstering their c-SUAS efforts, which has helped develop seminars to provide leadership with guidance on how the 386th ESFS is countering drone threats.

“The seminars are a one-on-one opportunity for general leadership to understand what our capabilities are,” Butts said. “These systems provide real time video or a picture and now leadership has a better understanding of what others could use it for.”

U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., U.S. Central Command commander told a U.S. Senate Committee earlier this year that UAS is "the most concerning tactical development in the CENTCOM area of operations since the rise of the improvised explosive device."

Attacks occurring in 2021 against coalition forces in Iraq and Syria have prompted others in the area of responsibility to ramp up their c-SUAS and c-UAS programs.

This unconventional base defense has driven the mindset for security forces that are protecting against UAS attacks.

“We call it the ‘kill chain’….detect, track, identify and defeat,” explained Butts. “The main thing is detecting so we're able to see it and track it. Once we're able to track it, we're going to identify it, which is key to helping us understand if it's hostile or not and to what extent. Then we can defeat it.”