MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
Natural disasters, terrorist attacks, wars in other countries. These are a few scenarios in which the Air Force could be called upon to send Airmen to intervene. To get these Airmen ready, their squadrons go through a mission readiness exercise, which uses complex and realistic scenarios to ensure the squadron is ready.
The 820th Base Defense Group is the Air Force's sole unit that uses MRX’s because it’s the only group that houses Global Readiness Force squadrons. These squadrons spend six-months on call and must be ready to deploy anywhere in the world in 72 hours or less.
The 820th BDG’s mission is to provide high-risk force protection and integrated base defense for expeditionary air forces. It typically ensures each of its squadrons are ready for GRF status and to carry out that mission with a MRX, but this most recent MRX was also used to test the 823d Base Defense Squadron’s ability to set up an airfield anywhere within a moment’s notice with a new concept called adaptive basing.
“The intent behind adaptive basing is to disperse airpower in so many places that it makes it very difficult for our adversaries to attack our airplanes while they are on the ground,” said Col. Jeffery Valenzia, 93d Air Ground Operations Wing commander. “We need to train our Airman to be ready to critically analyze their environment in order to create a secure location so that our maintenance professionals can quickly service and reload our airplanes in preparation for their next mission.”
The participating Airmen were challenged to use this MRX to introduce this mission asset because many of their current tactics, techniques and procedures rely on fixed-based installations with well-established barriers and strong support. None of this would be available in a real-world adaptive basing scenario.
The 823d BDS was tested to foster good relations with the local community, keep their base camp secure and send qualified teams to other locations for adaptive basing missions. By training and working through this new concept, the 820th defenders are developing the tactics, technologies and leaders they need to ensure success in future adaptive basing missions.
“While in garrison, the 820th Airman's only job is to train and their training includes additional weapons qualifications, complex tactics and the incorporation of advanced technologies” added Valenzia. “The 820th Airman is expected to execute their mission across a broader spectrum of requirements that often times do not include the support and comfort of an established installation.
“Today, our combatant commanders demand the ability to position airpower in close proximity to our adversaries in order to improve loiter time and the air component's ability to respond to a crisis,” Valenzia added. “The BDG is the only unit exclusively focused on being ready to secure any airfield, in any location, at any time in order to meet this need.”
This means reducing their personnel size so they’re more mobile once inserted into hostile territories, which gives the 820th BDG the ability to scale their force size to meet a nearly limitless number of possible missions and the result is a capability to meet every combatant commander's need.
“The BDG’s mission is to provide integrated base defense,” said Tech. Sgt. Bradley Boltz, 820th BDG, communications standardization and evaluation NCO. “The last few MRX’s have been Central Command specific, and we’re trying to move into different combatant commands. This means we’ll face different threats and adversaries, but our mission is still the same.
“We’re integrating Airmen from 26 different air force specialty codes in any single base defense squadron to accomplish the mission,” Boltz added. “Other security forces squadrons have two weeks to train together before they go downrange. We’re constantly training together with all Airmen in the squadron involved.”
All these career fields and Airmen come together so the squadron doesn’t have to rely on outside help to accomplish the mission, but this cannot happen if they don’t support one another.
“Being the lone CE guy it’s nice to know you can rely on other AFSC’s that will come together just to make everything work,” said Tech. Sgt. Justin Baskerville, 823d BDS civil engineer. “A lot of us are one-deep so we have to rely on others that don’t necessarily have the same experience and background, but we work together as a team to get the job done. Our uniqueness comes from us being a self-sustaining squadron.”
Without their ability to be a self-sustaining squadron, the 823d BDS would be unable to assemble teams of Airmen to accomplish adaptive basing missions for a variety of combatant commanders.
“The result is a defense force that is infinitely adaptable to its mission and its environment to be everywhere and nowhere at the same time,” said Valenzia.