Special agents instrumental in successful exercise

  • Published
  • By Wayne Amann
  • AFOSI Public Affairs

Air Force Office of Special Investigations Special Agents assigned to Joint Base Andrews, Md., were integral participants in an 11th Wing, JBA, Md., joint Disease Containment / Anti-terrorism exercise Oct. 23, 2019. 


AFOSI joined fellow JBA members including installation first responders, security forces, Hazardous Materials and Bio-Environmental experts. 


The exercise measured the installation’s mission readiness and ability to respond against a terrorist threat utilizing a man-made biological weapon.  


AFOSI had a major role in making the exercise realistic and an overall success.


SAs Randy Flinchbaugh and Zeth Lackey, from AFOSI 2nd Field Investigations Squadron, JBA, were responsible for constructing the complex biological dispersal device. The FBI Weapons of Mass Destruction Unit, Baltimore, Md., provided blueprints used to assist in developing the device. 


Meanwhile, SAs Van Mance and Shaun Wood of 7 FIS, JBA, helped design the exercise to measure AFOSI’s response and support to the host Wing. Wood and Mance were also members of the Wing Inspection Team.


Following a week of exercise inputs and situational responses, SAs Joshua Tipling, Michael Harrison, and Alexander Smiler, from AFOSI Detachment 331, JBA, Md., in coordination with an FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force representative, responded to the threat observed at the Andrews Main Gate. SA Tipling briefed the on-scene commander, security professionals, and force protection representatives on AFOSI’s responsibilities and capabilities in domestic terrorism matters, and explained how other federal law enforcement and security agencies with jurisdiction would support the base in the event of an attack. 


An exercise role player later detonated the device and released a simulated biological agent near the Andrews Main Gate. 


Throughout the exercise, members of AFOSI Det. 331 coordinated several times with Washington D.C., Metropolitan Area law enforcement and security agencies, including the National Cyber Center, where relationships with key partners were solidified, and specialized investigative techniques were trained, tested and honed. 


One key relationship is between the two AFOSI squadrons on JBA. 


“Although they have a different operational focus, said Lt. Col. Dave Bethel, AFOSI 2 Field Investigations Squadron Commander, “the strong relationship between the two AFOSI squadrons on Andrews provides optimum criminal and counterintelligence support for Air Force and Defense Department resources in the National Capital Region.”


Lt. Col. Ben Hatch, AFOSI 7 FIS Commander, emphasized the coordination and cooperation between AFOSI, the host Wing and partner agencies during large scale exercises is vital to ensuring AFOSI remains postured to provide expert criminal, counterintelligence and counterterrorism services in emergency situations.


“The training we accomplished this past week better prepared our teams to help protect the Air Force and the Nation from those who seek to do harm, he said.”