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NEWS | Jan. 29, 2010

Randolph set for assessment of antiterrorism force protection measures

By Robert Goetz 502nd Air Base Wing OL-B/Public Affairs

A "fresh set of eyes' will focus on Randolph next week to assess the base's vulnerability to terrorist activity.

Specialists from the Air Force Security Forces Center Operations Division's Vulnerability Branch will conduct an Air Force Vulnerability Assessment, looking at everything from Randolph's buildings, roads, potable water and food venues to force protection operational plans and the base community's antiterrorism awareness.

"This is an assessment that's done every three years," said Mance Clark, Antiterrorism Force Protection officer. "Every year we look at our own programs, but with a higher-headquarters vulnerability assessment you're getting a fresh set of eyes to look at particular vulnerabilities."

In addition to identifying vulnerabilities, the eight-man team provides commanders with recommendations on how to eliminate or minimize the risk of terrorist activity.

Mr. Clark said the team looks at details such as antiterrorism measures that are included in the contracting process when a new building is being constructed - from personnel involved in the process to physical antiterrorism measures such as the type of glass used, wall construction, the distance between the parking lot and the building, emergency egress and alarms to alert people of possible danger.

"You have to get all the required disciplines at the beginning of the process and make sure the process includes antiterrorism and facility design requirements," he said. "All hands have to come together to make a solid foundation."

Mr. Clark said recommendations from previous assessments have resulted in a number of AFP enhancements, including the state-of-the-art main gate with final denial barriers that prevent hostile vehicles from entering or leaving the base, the Air Force Personnel Center building egress system and specialized post office equipment.

He said another improvement to the main gate design, increasing the distance from FM 78, gives gate guards more time to react to possible threats.

Mr. Clark said Randolph's AFP program has steadily improved over the years with help from the vulnerability assessments. Last year it was recognized as AETC's best installation program.

"We've identified numerous vulnerabilities we've been able to mitigate," he said. "We've made the installation harder and stronger."

Mr. Clark said members of the team will wear readily identifiable badges and interview people throughout the base community, including family members, asking them if they know what force protection condition, or FPCON, Randolph is in and if they know how to report an emergency. They may also ask Team Randolph members if they can name their antiterrorism unit representative.

"Antiterrorism is a partnership of everybody on the installation for the protection of all," he said.

The team will also look at:

· Current threats and force protection conditions, the threat assessment process and operations security.
· Physical security and force protection operational plans, personal protection procedures and security forces manning, training and equipment.
· Selected facilities as part of a quantitative analysis.
· The potential for terrorist incidents involving fires, base utilities and environmental programs.

"We have good assessments behind us, but we can't rest on our laurels or we make ourselves vulnerable," Mr. Clark said. "We are constantly looking for new ways to do business, and the assessment gives us insight into doing our business better."