Author:Gourley, Scott R.

In its recently released "Strategic Guidance" document, Air Force Special Operations Command leadership articulates the principle that "AFSOC's human capital is our competitive advantage."

One set of tactical organizations where that human capital stands in the spotlight are AFSOC's deployed aircraft ground response element, or DAGRE--small teams within the Air Force's security forces that receive specialized training to support the command's assets and personnel in austere locations around the globe.

The DAGRE program was implemented in 2008, and reflected the realization that security for AFSOC assets was not being properly protected under the previous force protection plan set forth by anti-terrorism officers.

Prior to the implementation of DAGRE--pronounced "dagger"--most of the command's platforms were expected to be protected by users, who were generally the same personnel operating and maintaining the asset. However, planners assessed that security could not be just an extra duty for pilots and maintainers. A dedicated, highly trained team of security specialists was needed so that aircrew members and other personnel could give the utmost attention to their critical primary duties.

The implementation and expansion of the DAGRE program over the last decade has reflected the need to maintain security as a high priority for transitioning AFSOC aircraft and personnel.

DAGRE operations currently fall under AFSOC headquarters. Units in the Continental United States belong to a security forces squadron while at home station but continue to meet the requirements of headquarters and supported overseas units while deployed.

Although unable to discuss units' specific "deployed structure" due to operational security issues, members of one DAGRE team associated with the 27th Special Operations Wing at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico, recently explained to National Defense that the structure of DAGRE teams generally includes a noncommissioned officer in charge, serving as team leader, along with an assistant team leader and "remaining team members."

According to a team leader, Technical Sgt. Cory Irvin, DAGRE is a specialty within Air Force security forces, or military police.

The program is open to all security forces airmen within the ranks of senior airman to master sergeant who meet the AFSOC physical and professional standards. Once qualified, team members have the ability to stay within the DAGRE sections for an extended period of time...

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