• U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Swartzbaugh (left), anti-terrorism force protection officer with 1st Squadron, Combined Task Force Dragoon, speaks with Staff Sgt. Richard Sween, engineer noncommissioned officer for the task force, during a base security inspection Aug. 11, 2013, at Forward Operating Base Zangabad, Afghanistan. Sween and his team conduct inspections of the base security and safety assets throughout CTF Dragoon's area of operations. (U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Joshua Edwards)

    Dragoons test security assets in southern Afghanistan

    U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Swartzbaugh (left), anti-terrorism force protection officer with 1st Squadron, Combined Task Force Dragoon, speaks with Staff Sgt. Richard Sween, engineer noncommissioned officer for the task force, during a base...

  • U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Swartzbaugh (left), anti-terrorism force protection officer with 1st Squadron, Combined Task Force Dragoon, speaks with Sgt. 1st Class Brandon Jurczak, brigade intelligence noncommissioned officer for the task force, during a base security inspection Aug. 11, 2013, at Forward Operating Base Zangabad, Afghanistan. Jurczak and his team conduct inspections of the base security and safety assets throughout CTF Dragoon's area of operations. (U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Joshua Edwards)

    Dragoons test security assets in southern Afghanistan

    U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Swartzbaugh (left), anti-terrorism force protection officer with 1st Squadron, Combined Task Force Dragoon, speaks with Sgt. 1st Class Brandon Jurczak, brigade intelligence noncommissioned officer for the task force...

  • U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Brandon Jurczak, Combined Task Force Dragoon, brigade intelligence noncommissioned officer, checks a barrier during a security inspection Aug. 11, 2013, at Forward Operating Base Zangabad, Afghanistan. Jurczak is part of the task force's vulnerability assessment team "  a group of troops who conduct inspections of a base's security and force protection assets. (U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Joshua Edwards)

    Dragoons test security assets in southern Afghanistan

    U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Brandon Jurczak, Combined Task Force Dragoon, brigade intelligence noncommissioned officer, checks a barrier during a security inspection Aug. 11, 2013, at Forward Operating Base Zangabad, Afghanistan. Jurczak is part of the...

FOB Zangabad, Afghanistan -- Base security remains one of the most essential aspects of establishing a military area of operations. Whenever an area is set up for military functions, there is a significant need to defend it.

U.S. Troops with Combined Task Force Dragoon have implemented a series of inspections to determine the effectiveness of its bases' defenses. The group of soldiers who conduct the inspections of security operations on forward operating bases in southern Afghanistan is called the vulnerability assessment team.

Recently, the team traveled to FOB Zangabad to perform an evaluation of the area's security measures and placement of critical assets. They look for security threats or any deficiencies that could allow enemy forces or naturally occurring threats to hinder the task force's mission.

"We assessed FOB Zangabad for construction and critical infrastructure assets," said
Staff Sgt. Richard Sween, CTF Dragoon engineer noncommissioned officer and native of Alberton, Mont. "Essentially, I am making sure that critical infrastructure such as fuel points, dining facilities, and billeting areas are properly protected against enemy and naturally occurring threats."

The team contributes to the effort of making sure the bases are taken care of and inspected. As the bases slowly transition, maintaining safety within the ranks is very important.

"Military police, engineers, communications and military intelligence do a thorough assessment of FOBs to ensure that the assets, force protection equipment and soldiers stay safe," said Sgt. 1st Class Brandon Jurczak, brigade intelligence noncommissioned officer. "It's important because as we start to transition, we need to make sure that all of our equipment and our soldiers stay safe and protected."


The goal of the assessment is to recognize problems or deficiencies so future problems could be prevented before they occur. The assessment is part of the task force's mission to help secure Afghanistan.

"If we can identify the potential threats now and do something about them, we can eliminate any kind of problems we may have in the future," said Sween. "I would say my job is very important due to the fact that people live here -- this is where people are going to stay for their deployment. If critical infrastructure is damaged, by anything, it could hinder the mission."

Everyone on the team does their part during the inspection of each base. The inspection of FOB Zangabad yielded positive results.

"My portion, specifically, was force protection, which entails security -- making sure the FOB is completely secure both from the outside and from the inside," said Jurczak. "Today, I was looking at the outside perimeter to make sure it was 100 percent intact, that barriers were in place where needed and that they were fully functional. I would say my overall assessment of the FOB was excellent."

The assessments are important because they ensure safety requirements are being implemented, and that each base has an effective base defense plan and meet the requirements.

"I feel that my job is important because I am able to ensure that these smaller locations get the equipment that they need," said Jurczak. "Seeing them execute their base defense plan, I am completely confident that they will be able to execute the mission at any given time."

Page last updated Thu August 15th, 2013 at 00:00