‘Guardian’ Project to Bolster Force, Installation Security

By Gerry J. Gilmore, AFPS

WASHINGTON, May 8, 2003 – A new DoD force and installation security project targeted against terrorist threats – to include possible use of weapons of mass destruction — is slated to debut Oct. 1.

The $1 billion effort, named "Guardian," will ultimately bolster anti-terrorism force protection and security at about 200 stateside installations and overseas posts over the next five years, Army Brig. Gen. Stephen Reeves, DoD’s program executive officer for chemical and biological defense, said in an interview May 6.

"Guardian," according to Reeves, will provide affected military facilities and their populations with enhanced protection against "chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats."

The project will also "integrate that (new) protection capability with the existing force protection measures that are on that installation," he pointed out.

"Guardian," Reeves continued, "is really there to assist commanders in providing force protection for (U.S. military) installations around the world."

Reeves noted the Joint Staff is working on a list of stateside and overseas installations to participate in the project. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz will make the final selections.

"We’re looking at 185 installations in the United States (and) 15 overseas" to participate in the project, Reeves noted. Factors for selection, the general explained, include whether the base is a power-projection installation and the type of mission or missions it supports.

Project officials are also recording those installation security measures already in place, Reeves noted, to prevent redundancy.

Eventually, he pointed out, "Guardian" will be applied DoD- wide.

"Over the next five years we’re going to be doing the first 200 (installations)," Reeves explained, noting that schedule "could be accelerated."

Ultimately, "we’ll provide the same levels of protection – and certainly have the same standards – for all of our installations around the world," the general said.

A pilot security program being conducted at selected Army, Navy, and Air Force installations and being run with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency "is helping to identify exactly what those standards are," Reeves explained.

Determining those standards, the general remarked, is a complex endeavor. As installations’ chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear protections are integrated with force protections already in place, he noted, threats unique to each base must also be taken into account.

"We want to be able to set standards that can also be ‘tailored’ to the unique aspects of a given installation," Reeves remarked. Such aspects, he noted, might include an installation’s physical location and size, and its neighbors.

For example, a U.S. military base may be adjacent to an "industrial plant … that might present a toxic-industrial chemical threat," the general explained, or it could be a biological research facility or a nuclear plant.

Consequently, "Guardian" officials seek to match force protection and installation security efforts with "exactly what’s going on around" a given installation "so that the commander has the best level of protection possible," Reeves noted.

Much of "Guardian," Reeves noted, involves emergency preparedness planning conducted with the surrounding civilian community and performing related training. In this way, besides enhancing force protection and installation security, "Guardian" can provide installations with first responders who can restore critical mission operations following a terrorist attack.

Other project assets, he pointed out, might include WMD- agent detectors or medical surveillance provided from local hospitals. "Guardian," Reeves emphasized, also wants to ease the financial burden on installations as much as possible.

For example, pointing to the need for early warning and detection of biological agents, he noted, "we have some very expensive detectors we can put out there – and they cost a lot to run."

However, "we look at the tradeoffs of doing automated detection against things like medical surveillance – which in many cases can provide us just as early warning or early warning enough in order to provide treatment to people before they get sick."