Members of the Texas Air National Guard’s 204th Security Forces Squadron now operate the “Desert Defender” training course at Fort Bliss, Tex., for security forces airmen preparing to deploy. Over the past few years the schoolhouse has grown from just “a few run-down buildings” to its current status as an Air Force-certified, regional schoolhouse with new buildings, classrooms, and the latest military equipment. “It’s testament to the Total Force and what we bring to the table,” said Lt. Col. Carl Alvarez, squadron commander and training center boss. The nearly 50-day course instructs active duty, Air Guard, and Air Force Reserve Command security forces in the arts of force protection outside the wire. It includes training in areas like mounted operations on armored vehicles, dismounted patrols, counter-insurgency operations, and sniper/counter-sniper operations. (El Paso report by MSgt. Mike R. Smith)
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.