USAF security forces at Kirkuk AB, Iraq, slowly are transferring their combat patrol mission to Iraqi government forces. The airmen of the 506th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron already have taken a step back—shifting to an “over-watch” role in controlling movement around the base, says 1st Lt. Justin Banez, a 506th ESFS flight leader. The US airmen are conducting combined patrols with Iraqi personnel, but they still also patrol the area outside the base, interacting with local Iraqis to keep abreast of activities in the area. Such interaction, says Capt. Michael Borders, 506th operations officer, aids in “denying insurgents the passive support they need to conduct attacks on the airfield.”
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.