Stateside Department of the Air Force Protective Services Operations were bolstered in April 2020 with the consolidation of Office of Special Investigations and Security Forces personnel under the 1st Field Investigation Squadron, headquartered in Quantico, Virginia.
The integration of personnel from both career fields enhances PSO capabilities at 1st FIS, whose mission is to provide full-spectrum, protective security support to the Department of Defense, Air Force senior leaders and visiting foreign dignitaries.
Historically, Air Force protection teams were comprised largely of OSI agents, with a limited number of security forces personnel who served as protective security drivers. Security forces members now play a larger role and assume more responsibilities within the PSO framework. Except for the lead personal security advisor, duties are now interchangeable between OSI and security forces members on a PSO team.
“The integration of security forces defenders and OSI agents in Protective Services Operations is significant. Air Force, DoD, and U.S. national security objectives depend on our ability to protect our senior leaders and other principals (leaders) whose safety and security rest in our ability to effectively execute this mission,” said Special Agent Bishop, 1st FIS Detachment 5 commander.
“This development has increased operational capabilities by promoting a wider range of competence across the PSO mission set,” Bishop said.
“Protective Service Operations are not just about protecting the principal from harm, embarrassment and harassment. What we do is much more than that,” said Protective Services Officer Miller, a security forces member on the Air Force Chief of Staff’s protective services detail.
“While security is our primary focus, we also have a hand in protocol and logistics throughout any given trip, while working with local and federal agencies from the U.S. and allied nations. First impressions are vital and can set the tone for the entire visit. We are typically the first individuals on the ground before the CSAF visits a base, industry partner or a foreign country,” Miller said.
With two years experience, Miller has participated in more than 800 PSOs, serving in practically every team role from advance, shift and detail lead, to limo and chase driver.
“These operations have led this security forces member (Miller) around the world to include a four-day, seven-country trip in 2020. His extensive background and experience, motivation and out-of-the-box thinking have made him one of the ‘go-to’ members of the CSAF PSD and staff,” Bishop said.
As one of the newest members to PSO, Protective Services Officer Hatcher is assigned to the Chief of Space Operations team tasked with protecting the commander of U.S. Space Force. She was one of the first to enter a protective service position under the new PSO team construct, further cementing the integral role security forces members play in protecting the Air Force’s and Space Force’s most senior leaders.
Hatcher brings a wealth of experience to the security detail because of her wide-ranging duties as a patrol officer, base and joint defense operations center controller, flight trainer, entry controller and fire team leader. She further honed her skills while deployed to Kuwait, Qatar and forward missions to other countries, which had her traveling across the globe performing security for various Air Force assets.
“Pushing yourself outside your comfort zone on every mission creates a surreal and overwhelming feeling that can’t be described,” Hatcher said of her pursuit of a PSO position on the Chief of Space Operations PSD.
“This mission is a phenomenal opportunity for those Defenders who are willing to step outside their comfort zone and make a difference. That said, the mission is ever-changing and will continuously develop you as not only a professional, but a leader,” said Protective Services Officer Ables, a security forces member on the Secretary of the Air Force’s protective services detail.
Ables has been assigned to the SECAF’s team for the past year, and though relatively new to the team, he is one the most experienced Protective Services Officers and security forces members the Air Force has to offer. His expertise also derives from his four years assigned to the NORAD/NORTHCOM commander.
“As a newly-developed team, OSI and Security Forces are consistently striving to build the most well-rounded, efficient and qualified teams. The experience and skills I have developed on the foreign dignitary team have been some of the most fulfilling of my career,” said Protective Services Officer Watson, who is assigned the unique mission of safeguarding visiting foreign dignitaries against harassment, embarrassment, injury and attack.
“We need highly-qualified applicants who seek those challenging positions and career-developing opportunities that will accelerate change within the Security Forces community,” said Senior Master Sgt. Jason Clark, 1st FIS superintendent.