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Teams prepare for return of Defender Challenge

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Fourteen Security Forces teams from U.S. Air Force major commands, Great Britain and Germany are training to compete in San Antonio, Texas, Sept. 10-14 when Defender Challenge returns after a 14-year hiatus.


Fourteen Security Forces teams from U.S. Air Force major commands, Great Britain and Germany are training to compete at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Sept. 10-13 when the Defender Challenge returns after a 14-year hiatus.


The competition pits security forces teams against each other in realistic weapons scenarios, simulated dismounted operations and grueling combat endurance events.


The team with the most combined points wins the coveted Defender Challenge Championship. Great Britain has held the trophy since winning it at the last Defender Challenge in 2004.


“We will compete on the fields of friendly strife with the best of the best, familiarize ourselves with how our coalition partners operate when all that matters is who finishes first – before lives are on the line, and continue a Defender tradition, build upon that heritage and give this generation of Defenders stories they will tell and experiences they will share for years to come," said Brig. Gen. Andrea Tullos, Air Force Director of Security Forces, in her announcement of the competition.


Tullos said the scenarios will determine the most lethal and most ready team while increasing the competitive spirit and competency of all participants. It will renew the Defender ethos and reinforce the competitive nature within security forces of all participants, she added.


“The competition will test the very same skills Defenders may need to employ on any day at any air base in any AOR,” she said. “They will be placed under stress and will need to shoot, move and communicate with their fire team. They will maneuver as a team and come upon diverse scenarios requiring them to observe, orient, decide and act.”


Prior to sending the official warning order to competing commands in mid-June, Tullos offered some word of advice in a post on the Air Force Security Forces Association website: “For now, train, train and train. Take each lesson you learn every day defending your air base and ask yourself, ‘How can I do it better?’”


She said the return of the event will help develop more lethal and capable security forces Airmen.


“We need to stimulate competition in every squadron so that every new Defender who arrives from Lackland wants to be a more proficient shooter, wants to master our tactics, techniques, and procedures, and wants to represent their squadron and their Major Command at Defender Challenge,” she said.

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