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Facility and operations support for the military

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Facility and operations support for the military

Facility and operations support for the militaryThere is no greater form of security than the protection afforded to United States citizens by our military forces deployed across the globe. In a highly-diversified and complex age of security, our armed forces provide the one fundamental security measure shared by every citizen in the United States: keeping American civilians out of harm’s way and allowing us to enjoy freedom.

With their overall mission being to defend our nation against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and to fight and win the nation’s wars, our military forces deserve the finest support to enable them to accomplish these missions in the most effective and expeditious manner possible.

Day-to-Day Military Base Operations Support

When most people envision our deployed military, they only see our troops in combat; however, most of their time is spent behind the scenes within compounds and military bases. Whether domestic or abroad, these facilities are very much like small towns. They need operating headquarters, dining facilities, reliable electricity, housing, recreational facilities, plumbing and water supply, properly working vehicles, heating and cooling equipment, and medical facilities and devices—to name a few. This requires military bases to have significant facilities support including maintenance, repair, operations, construction, engineering, energy services and much more to ensure our men and women in uniform can operate at peak efficiency.

Therefore, it is our national responsibility to ensure they have these facilities and services.

For any military installation, it is imperative that base operations support and mission support services be provided in a world-class manner, allowing our soldiers, Department of Defense (DoD) and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) civilians as well as other military staff to focus on the tasks at hand rather than worrying about their facilities infrastructure.

Quite often, the military relies on specialists from the commercial sector to provide these critical facility and operations support functions. These service providers also play an important role assisting in properly securing military bases, making providers experts in the security protocols necessary for any military installation. Additionally, the military relies on its facilities services providers to handle many logistical necessities including:

  • Designing, developing, acquiring and maintaining services, supplies and other materials;
  • Personnel transportation;
  • Construction and renovation;
  • Medical and healthcare support services;
  • Administrative support services;
  • Equipment maintenance and operation;
  • Utilities operation and maintenance; and
  • Selective training.

Securing U.S. Military Bases

Providing these facility services is a critical job, but not just any provider is eligible to step onto a military base and begin working. The U.S. military requires civilian workers to meet rigorous background checks, while service providers must apply for, be granted and maintain required security clearance levels in the form of a facility security clearance (FCL) in order to work on DoD contracts or with other government agencies.

There are four basic security clearance levels for service companies and their personnel: unclassified, confidential, secret and top secret. Maintaining the highest level of security clearance with the DoD, top-secret facility clearance requires review on a periodic basis. Employees must also be familiar with federal regulations for the protection of classified information, and service providers must employ a security program to comply with the DoD’s extensive requirements.

For example, civilians must pass not only DoD or other government agency background checks, but they must also pass an in-depth background check by the service provider, such as ABM Government Services. In fact, some of the background checks employed within ABM have been widely used by the rest of the company for checks on many of its other 100,000 plus employees during the on-boarding process. In order to obtain badge credentials to work on a military base as a civilian, ABM workers undergo a five-part background check, including a/an:

  • DoD or other government agency database background check, and verification of individual clearance level;
  • 10-year criminal background check on the individual;
  • Credit check;
  • Drug screening through urinalysis; and
  • Employment history through human resources, and verification of education, training and certificates.

Once these requirements are met, civilians obtain badges that are reviewed at checkpoints across military bases to gain entry into and out of military installations.

Companies must be vigilant in employing trustworthy and honorable individuals at these installations. The military cannot have individuals working at bases, hospitals and various other jobs—often very close to the front lines and with access to classified information— who have not been properly vetted. The risks are simply too great. Therefore, the ability to employ individuals with proper clearance who meet sophisticated background checks is key to securing military bases.

Linguists Play an Important Role in Security

In recent years, there has been an increased need for military-trained linguists to support our troops in a number of mission-critical capacities, whether in humanitarian, peacekeeping, contingency or combat zones. Translation, interpretation and other related language services are necessary for our troops to function in non-Englishspeaking regions, particularly in the Middle East where U.S. troops are actively engaged.

To meet this growing demand, in 2011, the Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) unveiled the $9.7 billion Defense Language Interpreting and Translation Enterprise (DLITE) contract that was awarded to six providers, with ABM being among the recipients. ABM has been tasked with a number of interpretation and translation orders since.

As it relates to security, linguists often play a vital role in maintaining strong relations between U.S. troops and those native to wherever they are deployed, be it local government officials, tribal chiefs or even enemy forces during a negotiation. Unskilled translators can cause confusion and consternation, which endangers the lives of our military staff. Even worse, there are hostile translators who seek to actively sabotage a communication or negotiation.

Learning from the Past

ABM also is helping the military through leadership training via its “Battle Staff Rides” program, a series of training seminars that take place on actual battlefields, giving valuable insight into the physical, emotional and intellectual challenges that took place during a particular battle. Breaches in security have turned the tide on many battles due to stolen or lost documents, spy infiltrations, stolen munitions and cyber attacks.

These “rides” are executed by ABM Government Services’ battlefield historians and have become a powerful method for government clients and military commanders to train their leaders in strategy, tactics and leadership as they apply to military and civilian businesses. Battle Staff Rides provides a format for understanding the human element of combat along with the successes and failures of various military leaders when faced with specific dilemmas.

To date, ABM has trained more than 33,000 government staff through the program and has begun making these training seminars available to corporations.

This article originally appeared in the November 2013 issue of Security Today.

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