Guns and cars ensure senior leader readiness

  • Published
  • By Wayne Amann
  • AFOSI Public Affiars

For the Air Force Office of Special Investigations being a good wingman is a family affair – an Air Force family affair that starts at the top with senior leadership.


Four times a year a cadre of Air Force Special Investigations Academy instructors conduct a unique two-day anti-terrorism course called the Senior Leader Security Seminar at Montross, Va., to ensure the safety and survivability of Air Force general officers, Senior Executive Service civilians, senior field grade officers and select senior enlisted advisors who travel in medium to critical threat areas.       


The training focuses on weapons familiarization and driving skills which collectively left a lasting impression on the 18 attendees April 30-May 1, 2018.


“The foundation of our Air Force is the lethality of our training and this OSI course is absolutely outstanding,” said Maj. Gen. Thomas A. Bussiere, Commander, Eighth Air Force, and Commander, Joint-Global Strike Operations Center, Barksdale Air Force Base, La. “Advance weapons was useful because of the ability to rapidly go from different types of weapons and produce effective fires. Plus, the ability to blend in offensive and defensive driving skills into your tool kit is very useful.”


Attendees begin their training with a short classroom lecture on the terrorist attack cycle, situational awareness, surveillance and surveillance detection and other security concepts. They then participate in a surveillance detection exercise en route to the training venue designed to give attendees a better understanding of how surveillance works and what it takes to be vigilant while driving.


“Our senior leaders need to be prepared on any front,” said AFOSI Special Agent, Advanced Training Division Superintendent and SLSS Instructor Dustin McLeod. “While they may not in their current rank and position warrant a protective service detail, we need to keep them safe because they’re helping keep the Air Force safe.”


Once at the training site attendees are given an equipment demonstration and a demo on the effective use of cover and concealment. The rest of the day is devoted to safe firearms familiarization on various weapons systems including the AK-47 assault rifle, MP-5 sub-machine gun, M-4 carbine and 9mm pistol.


“The varied weapons we fired, gaining confidence with them, is invaluable training,” said Maj. Gen. Randall A. Ogden, Commander 4th Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command, March Air Reserve Base, Calif. “This outstanding course, taught by fabulous instructors, will much better prepare you to survive in a high threat environment.”


Learning to recognize and analyze attack indicators to predict and prevent attacks is the training emphasis for day two’s instinctive driving instruction. It includes accident avoidance, high speed driving skills, attack recognition and evasive tactics.


Attendees practice vehicle handling while performing braking and turning exercises, high-speed driving, skid control, driving on an unimproved roadway and more, all designed to build on each other as attendees gain confidence in their abilities.


“They’re a lot of the skills you hope you never need, but I feel much more confident knowing I can pull them out of my bag of tricks,” said Chief Master Sgt. Chad T. Welch, Command Chief Master Sergeant, 932nd Airlift Wing, Scott AFB, Ill. “I’m only the third enlisted troop to attend this course so a big shout out goes to Chief (Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O.) Wright for opening that door for us.”


SLSS has been taught, in various iterations for 15 years, and in its present format for a little more than a decade. As threats change the training evolves. SLSS has adjusted some course objectives to meet to the needs of its attendees which includes facilities.


OSI couples with the O’Gara Group, a contractor which provides products and services, to more effectively protect and preserve lives and assets. They are part of the total team effort presenting the quarterly SLSS training.


“It takes a lot of moving parts, a great team communicating and coordinating, to put this course together,” said SA and SLSS Course Director Aaron Moyer. “Course preparation starts at the end of the previous iteration, four times a year, capitalizing on lessons learned. Sixty days out we reach out to the O’Gara Group and hotel staff, then 30 days out we have a list of attendees we send the reporting instructions to.”


SLSS officials work with the Air Force General Officers Group, the Colonels Group and Chiefs Group (for Commands Chiefs). They rack and stack who needs to attend the course based on their position, where they’re at and where they’re projected to go.


Each leader selected comes away from SLSS saying they had fun learning, which is the primary objective of the course.


“In the end the overall goal is to make sure they get the key aspects of the course,” said SA and SLSS Course Manager Dwayne Harris. “We make sure to balance the raw information by making it fun. When you’re having fun, those are the tactics you remember if you have to use them later.”


Do attendees recommend SLSS?


“If you’re a senior leader in the Air Force you need to consider attending this phenomenal course,” General Bussiere said. 


“I highly recommend this course. It’s great training!” General Ogden said.


“This should be a required course for all Command Chiefs going to the AOR,” Chief Welch said.