28th SFS, MDOS implement Defender's Edge

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Hailey Staker
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Crime scenes, suicides, shootings - these are the types of situations security forces personnel at Ellsworth and across the Air Force could potentially encounter during their careers.
For the past two years, the 28th Security Forces Squadron has worked to implement Defender's Edge, a training program designed to provide security forces members with realistic training and prepare them mentally and physically for any situation they may encounter.

"Defender's Edge was put together by a group of civilian exercise physiologists outside the Air Force, and is now mandated by Air Combat Command for security forces personnel to learn," said Brandon Powers, 28th Medical Operations Squadron exercise physiologist. "The program was put together with the mindset that because security forces is such a high tempo job, they should really be considered as combat athletes. Human performance has really come over into the military world, and we need to train them in the same sense as high level athletes do."

The program begins with a three to four hour classroom portion, which covers subjects such as optimal response, defender mindset, recharging, mind tactics and killing, followed by routine training and hands-on application. During the application, students refer back to their classroom lessons to implement during training.

Powers' role is to bring science and in-depth explanations to security forces training, teaching personnel the why, what and how of their job and implementing various external training technology to aid in their real-world-simulated training.

"I was interested in trying to develop a vision training program on base to work with those high tempo AFSCs: pilots, the attack squadron, SFS, Explosive Ordinance Disposal, etc.," Powers said."Your eye sight is key to whatever you do, so vision is a big part of it. Our eyes see what our brain comprehends, so if we can increase the field of vision and we can increase vision overall, then we can see things more clearly and change our focal points more rapidly, not lose sight of target, things like that."

Powers brought in small devices that light up, giving Airmen a specific section of the body to target. Security forces personnel can modify weapons and fire simulated rounds at the illuminated targets which, when hit will turn off. The targets can also be programmed to automatically turn back on or emit sound when hit.

"They are shooting to hit their target, and not just this big silhouette," Powers said. "With active shooter training, shooting in a crowded environment, the shot has to count, so this provides them instant feedback working on the accuracy and acquisition of the targets... also allowing other senses to open up because we can arm the sensors and lights to beep."

He added that the program is designed to increase athletic performance while decreasing the risk of injury. This is accomplished by staying educated on current research and technology, as well as implementing these efficiently to increase overall mission and battlefield readiness.

No matter the situation, Ellsworth security forces members are prepared to handle any contingency by maintaining physical and mental readiness and personal accountability learned during their Defender's Edge training.