Region 6 shares expertise with Indo-Pacific partners

  • Published
  • By SA Jeffrey Militante

The Air Force Office of Special Investigations Field Investigations Region 6 Special Missions Branch completed its inaugural Law Enforcement Investigative Skills Exchange Program (LEISEP) with law enforcement counterparts from the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Palau in Oceania. 

The exchanges were conducted in the State of Yap, July 17-19, and Koror, July 24-26, 2019, respectively. LEISEP is a subject matter expert exchange highlighting Air Force methodology for assessing criminal threats, conducting criminal investigations and processing crime scenes.

“Our current effort of Subject Matter Expert Exchanges and Key Leader Engagements will help assess the current threat picture and gap in capacity and relationship building necessary to support our Air Force exercise and contingency operations being executed throughout the Indo Pacific,” said FIR 6 Commander, Col. Vasaga Tilo.

The exchanges discuss best practices, techniques associated with evidence collection and preservation, and documentation of crime scenes. Topics include basic case management, basic forensic photography, evidence collection and preservation techniques, basic fingerprinting methodology, and crime scene sketching.

The SMEE was conducted to improve understanding and increase interoperability of U.S. and host nation capabilities associated with forensics and criminal investigations and build partnerships to support Indo-Pacific Command and Pacific Air Forces strategy in Oceania. 

 “6 FIR’s support to INDOPACOM and PACAF priorities are focused on AFOSI’s lines of efforts in strengthening partnerships and restoring readiness to build interoperability, influence, and access to posture for the future,” Col. Tilo said. 

Attendees for the SMEEs were from the Yap State Police, FSM, National Police, Yap Customs & Tax, Yap Attorney General’s Office, Palau Bureau of Customs & Border Protection, Palau Division of Marine Law Enforcement, Palau Narcotics Enforcement Agency, Palau National Police, Palau Anti-Human Trafficking, Palau Court Marshals, Palau Criminal Investigation Division, Palau Fish and Wildlife, and Palau Immigration. 

“Areas throughout Oceania (Pacific Island Nations) are made up of valuable territorial relationships with the U.S. that go as far back as WWII and now requires AFOSI support and partnership to fulfill current Air Force mission requirements under the National Defense Strategy,” Col. Tilo said.  

Region 6 SMB is scheduled to complete a SMEE in Samoa in fiscal year 2019, and is projected to conduct SMEEs in Papua New Guinea and the Philippines in FY20.