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Self-inspection is key to Vulnerability Assessment

January, 2012 -- The SCANG recently underwent an assessment of the McEntire Joint National Guard bases' vulnerability to terrorist and criminal activity.

Lt. Col. Paul Laymon, commander of the 169th Security Forces Squadron and the base Antiterrorism officer, said the intent of the vulnerability assessment is to identify areas that have deficiencies, which, if exploited by terrorists or criminals, would directly lead to loss of life and/or degrade the mission.

"This assessment is important to the SCANG because it helps us manage our risk, which ultimately leads to saving dollars and lives," said Laymon. "We also depend on our relationship with FBI and OSI intelligence off-base, as well as the Eagle Eye program, which authorizes the civilian population to help us by reporting any instances of suspicious activity or people who may be targeting the base. We must identify threats and mitigate them before they get to us."

Unlike many of the inspections here, this one did not conclude with an overall grade. The vulnerability assessment is not a pass or fail program, and the final report only includes vulnerabilities, concerns, neutrals and positives relating to the base.

Laymon said, "The assessment team wanted to know that we had already accomplished our criticality and threat checks prior to their visit, but was chiefly concerned with our vulnerabilities. The greatest lesson learned was that if we do our local vulnerability assessments aggressively, then the headquarter-directed assessments will become an easier task to accomplish. By doing our homework, the assessment team should only find things that we have already identified as vulnerabilities."

The Vulnerability Assessment was created by the DoD shortly after the Khobar Towers bombing in 1996 and is required every three years by higher headquarters. Internal inspections at individual bases take place annually.

Laymon said, "At the end of the week-long inspection, the seven-member team from Lackland AFB, Texas was only able to identify those vulnerabilities which we had already pointed out to them during the in-brief."