Defending Ellsworth’s assets

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Rebecca Imwalle
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
For many people, taking measures to ensure safety from terrorist activities may not be one of the first things they consider each day.

However, one Ellsworth Airman has this as his primary responsibility.

Russell Leatherman, 28th Bomb Wing Anti-Terrorism manager, explained how each day he researches and evaluates the latest terrorist threats around the world.

"We start by looking at anything that may have happened on-base the previous night," Leatherman said. "We then evaluate the local community, state of South Dakota, country and world."

Leatherman added, during these searches, they keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary the base should be aware of. This could range from theft to suspicious vehicles.

In addition to surveying threats, the AT office evaluates the safety of the base, including thinking like the enemy, in an effort to foresee what may be targeted and practice how to protect those assets.

"We monitor how close parking is available to our buildings in case of a vehicle-borne explosive device," Leatherman said. "We [also] do calculations that factor in an explosion - its distance to a building and the structure of a building as a way to limit damage and injuries - if anything were to occur."

In order to assess threat levels, the office works with numerous facilities here to perform risk assessments.

"To obtain a list of assets that are most at risk, you must make three separate assessments," Leatherman said. "These include an assessment showing threats possible to base, a criticality assessment ranking important assets on-base, including Airmen and aircraft, and a vulnerability assessment listing strengths and weaknesses of the installation."

Leatherman said once several calculations are completed, they have a better understanding of what is most at risk. Additionally, even though something might not be the most important thing, it could be highly targeted, which would make it one of the top items on the assessment.

"Many attacks could have been stopped if people reported suspicious activities prior," Leatherman said.  "I ask everyone to keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary and reach out to someone to report it."

At every Air Force installation, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations manages an Eagle Eyes program, which provides a 24-hour point of contact for reporting suspicious activity as a way to significantly enhance the base's antiterrorism efforts.

If you see any type of suspicious activity, contact the Base Defense Operations Center at (605) 385-4001.