Some airmen in Southwest Asia call themselves “the ghosts of the base” when they perform escort duty—standing and watching silently—for local nationals working on coalition facilities, reports Air Force public affairs officer Maj. Ann Knabe. These airmen get two days training, then start their duty, often shepherding more than 300 “third country nationals,” or TCNs, on a typical day. On one day there may be as many as 150 airmen working as escorts. The TCNs, themselves, work at any number of jobs, including aiding security force efforts by identifying security breaches.
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.