Anthony Blackman (right) and James Harris (left), both trainers, demonstrate techniques while security guards watch during an armed self defense class in the Fitness Center on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall March 5.

Department of the Army security guards from across the National Capital Region honed their skills this week at a joint training academy that is fueled by a passion for professional law enforcement excellence.

Directorates of Emergency Services from Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall (to include Marines from the Henderson Hall portion of JBM-HH), Fort Belvoir, Fort Meade, and the Arlington Hall National Guard Bureau joined forces to create the training academy as a way to save money in response to a congressionally mandated changeover from civilian contractor security guards to Department of the Army security guards.

Sessions are held at each of the installations, and this week the 26 guards in the class gathered at JBM-HH and Fort Belvoir.

"Since we're all within the NCR, we all have the same exact mission, it's beneficial if we combine resources," said Capt. Tracie Miller of the JBM-HH security force. "Where one installation may have difficulty fulfilling the mission, another installation might be able to fulfill that gap. Resource sharing ensures mission accomplishment and a diverse force which could operate collaterally at any of our installations. That gives more flexibility to our mission commanders, as well as our garrison commanders, and of course the public."

The basic training course for security guards serves an alternative to sending trainees to the nine-week military police course at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., and includes sessions on firearms training, self-defense, baton training and classes on force protection and active control policy and procedure.

"These are things they need to do every day," explained Miller.

Jeffrey Nesmyer, directorate of emergency services, Fort Belvoir, serves as the dean of the academy.

"Their job depends upon them graduating from here," he said.

Many of the guards bring a civilian or even military law enforcement background with them to their position as security guards at installations throughout MDW.

"I don't know of any other venture in the police security realm where agencies come together to capitalize on each other's strengths to accomplish the mission," added Miller.

In addition to saving the installations money, the 107-hour training course also gives guards serving throughout the NCR the same skills, meaning they can be used at installations throughout MDW. Guards who graduate from the academy meet Army and Department of Defense requirements and can work anywhere within the DA, stressed Nesmyer. Guards also learn about military rank structure and customs and courtesies during training.

"Now we know the people we have in the National Capital Region are all trained exactly the same," he said. "We don't have to worry as people who are in charge of people, 'okay did you receive the proper training?'"

"We get subject matter experts to come in to ensure that these guys get the best possible training," Nesmyer continued. "Once they graduate here, they still have more training they have to accomplish to operate on their own installations. Everybody has unique things that go on on their installation. They have to sustain that training."

Reid noted that Fort Meade Garrison Commander Col. Edward C. Rothstein recently checked IDs during rush hour there.

"He had a great time," continued Reid. "He also passed on the highest level of confidence that our officers can accomplish what they're doing."

Page last updated Fri March 8th, 2013 at 00:00