Air Force Follows Navy in Adopting New Army Sidearm |30 Mar 2018 |By Matthew Cox

Compact XM18 MHS (U.S. Army Photo)

The U.S. Air Force confirmed Thursday that it will field 130,000 of the Army's Modular Handgun System to replace its existing inventory of 9mm M9 pistols.

"We've started the procurement process and plan to buy approximately 130,000 weapons," Air Force spokeswoman Laura McAndrews told in an email.

"As a joint partner in this endeavor, we determined the [X]M18 MHS, the compact version, will best meet the Air Force mission needs, and selected it as the standard handgun for all Air Force users," she wrote.

The Army awarded Sig Sauer an MHS contract worth up to $580 million in January 2017. The 10-year MHS agreement calls for Sig Sauer to supply the service with full-size XM17 and compact XM18 versions of its 9mm pistol.

The Air Force's decision follows similar moves by the Navy and Marine Corps to select MHS.

The Navy plans to field 60,000 XM18s, and the Corps budgeted money in its proposed fiscal 2019 budget to purchase 35,000 MHS pistols. Marine Corps Systems Command officials declined to comment on the budget submission.

The Marine Corps may also be leaning more toward the smaller XM18 model, according to a "sources sought" solicitation posted on on Feb. 13.

"The Program Manager Individual Combat and Equipment, Marine Corps Systems Command, is seeking industry input that identifies potential sources for holster sleeve for the Modular Handgun System (P320 Sig Sauer handgun) Compact ([XM18]) version," the solicitation states.

Companies have a deadline of March 30 to submit concept proposals, the solicitation states.

The Air Force selected only the XM18 rather than both MHS models because "a single model handgun simplifies procurement, sustainment, and reduces support equipment cost while ensuring commonality with other services," McAndrews said.

The striker-fired MHS pistols can be outfitted with suppressors and accommodate standard and extended-capacity magazines. There is also an accessory rail for mounting accessories such as weapon lights.

The Coast Guard has also placed an order to purchase MHS, according to according to Tom Taylor, chief marketing officer for Sig Sauer. has contacted the Coast Guard for comment but has not received a response yet.

This is not the first time the services have agreed to adopt a common pistol. The Army selected the M9 in 1985 to replace the .45 caliber 1911A1, and the M9 soon became the sidearm for entire U.S. military.

The Army intends to purchase 195,000 MHS pistols, mostly in the full-size XM17 version.

Sig Sauer beat out Glock Inc., FN America and Beretta, in the MHS competition, an effort the Army launched in late August 2015. It appears that Sig's victory may have formally ended Beretta's 30-year hold on the U.S. military's sidearm market.

-- Matthew Cox can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


2017 Nuclear Deterrence Operations, Nuclear & Missile Operations Awards Winners Announced

Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs / Published March 27, 2018

WASHINGTON (AFNS) Air Force officials recently named the winners of the 2017 Nuclear Deterrence Operations Award and the Nuclear & Missile Operations Award.

The Nuclear Deterrence Operations Award recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of Airmen contributing to nuclear deterrence operations.

The Nuclear & Missile Operations Award honors officers who make the most significant contribution to the nuclear and missile operations career field.

“Congratulations on a job well done to the winners of the 2017 Nuclear Deterrence Operations Awards and the Nuclear & Missile Operations Awards. The service members and civilians charged with the mission of nuclear deterrence, nuclear strike, and nuclear surety hold a great responsibility in protecting our Nation. We’re recognizing the best of the best among that group. Their stellar performance correlates directly to the standards our Air Force expects," said Lt. Gen. Jack Weinstein, Deputy Chief of Staff, Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration, Headquarters Air Force.

These outstanding nuclear professionals were selected from a diverse field within the Air Force’s major commands, unified combatant commands and other agencies including the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard.

Nuclear Deterrence Operations Award winners are:

- Airman of the Year: Senior Airman Joshua Roberts, 791st Missile Security Forces Squadron, Air Force Global Strike Command

- Noncommissioned Officer of the Year: Staff Sgt. Tyler Dalton, 377th Weapons System Security Squadron, AFGSC

- Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year: Master Sgt. Jeffrey Malone, 39th Security Forces Squadron, U.S. Air Forces in Europe

- Company Grade Officer of the Year: Capt. Daniel Merkh, 509th Security Forces Squadron, AFGSC

- Field Grade Officer of the Year: Maj. Claus Fasting, 701st Munitions Support Squadron, USAFE

- Category I Civilian of the Year: Mr. Jared Cragun, 581st Munitions Maintenance Squadron, Air Force Materiel Command

- Category II Civilian of the Year: Mr. Chad Smith, 377th Security Forces Group, AFGSC

- Category III Civilian of the Year: Mr. Keith Hedgepeth, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, AFMC

- Professional Team: Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, AFMC (Col. Heath Collins, Jim Webster, Karl Rogers, Maj. Todd Rotramel, Keith Lucas, Lt. Jorge Martinez, Lt. Robert Rodgers, Lt. Blake Branton, Phillip Ingraham, Garrett Veenendaal, Justin Hinman, Jason Henrie, Jamie Marsh, Chase Darlington, Jodi Messenger, Robert Watson, David Hamblin, Sean Reiter, Lt. Jerrod Mertz, Micki Mitchell, Tyler Hodson, Jared Anderson, Paul Stoker, Drake Mailes, Destry Grogan, Capt. Jake Bradosky, Lt. Col. Joe Hank, Kortnie Frye, Charles Alvey, Maj. Cheronda Spann, Lt. Jourdan Harris, Matt Woolley, Col. Don Hunt, Brian Zwerdlin, Capt. Chris Benson, Sharen Wirkus, Brooke McNally, Paul Catmull, Kyle Fox, Jay Jacobs, Steven Knight, Michael Hensley, John Corriea, John Stedge, Candice Gebhardt, David Turner, Mari Meguro, Maj. Marcus Wells, Lynn Betts, Godwin Shelley, Bruce Arnold, Darren Rabosky, Lt. Col. Chad Searle, Jeremy Bodin, Phil Jones, Roy Ramey, Mark Elkins, Kevin Zimmerschied, Bruce Dennison, Lt. Yazmin Garcia-Smith, Scott Wessell, Wesley Pound, Jaime Veglia, Nicholas Maughan, Stephen Huve, Logan Harris, Irvin Jacobs, Sandi Marino, Paul Chisholm, David Garrett, Alex Landon, Casey Sherman, Kurt Schmidt, Michael Davenport, Tyler Deamer, Christiansen Christian, Don Jacob, Lt. Christopher Hopkins, John Palmer, Jeffrey Nusser, Megan Wheeler, Cindy Aguillard, Yvonne Romero, Lauri Clark, Donald Sandberg, Kelsey Porto, Shannon Clugston, Micheal Bowles, Matthew Poll, Gavin Poston, Paul Chisholm, Howard Eugh, Matt Regan)

Nuclear & Missile Operations Award winners are:

 - Operator: 1st Lt. James Kegyes, 12th Missile Squadron, Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana

- Company Grade Officer of the Year: Capt. Victoria Gaines, 341st Operations Support Squadron, Malmstrom AFB, Montana

- Field Grade Officer of the Year: Maj. Jared Miller, 12th Missile Squadron, Malmstrom AFB, Montana

The Nuclear Operations Awards Program is administered and overseen by deputy chief of staff, Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration, Headquarters Air Force in accordance with AFI 36-2870, Nuclear Operations Awards Program.


Mrs Heidi L. Scheppers

FROM:   Chief of Staff, Defense Technology Integration Program Office, Clandestine Operations, Global Access and Mission Integration Directorate, Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, Columbia, MD

TO:       Deputy Director, Security Forces, Deputy Chief of Staff, Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

Mrs. Scheppers is a career Defender and fills the vacancy created when Mr David Beecroft retired.



BGen John T. Wilcox II, director, strategic plans, programs and requirements, Headquarters Air Force Global Strike Command, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, to director, operations and communications, Headquarters Air Force Global Strike Command, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana.

BG Wilcox moves into the billet formerly held by MG Fred Stoss who has taken command of 20th Air Force at F.E. Warren, AFB, WY. 


AFSFA sends their congratulations to both Mrs Scheppers and BG Wilcox … well done Defenders, HOOAH!!

Sustainment Training

CMSgt Tamala L. Hartz

In the last 18-months the Security Forces career field has focused on improving our training. We have enlisted the assistance of numerous senior and mid-level leaders from several organizations. We have spoken to hundreds of Airmen asking them about their training experiences and how their training has prepared them for defending our Air Force. We developed a concept that establishes training and education as a career long, life-cycle process. We have examined training processes for our newest Airmen and Lieutenants up through CMSgts and commanders. We have had meetings, conferences, site visits, and involvement from Air Force senior leaders. Having done what we consider to be due diligence in our analysis and research efforts, the time for talking is about to be overtaken by doing.

While meetings, conferences, site visits, and senior leader involvement must continue, the focus will be less on what needs to happen and more on what is happening. Some of the things that will happen will require major paradigm shifts in how our career field thinks about training. One of the major changes that will require a significant adjustment is the shift from just-in-time pre-deployment training to sustained collective skills training. It is this change that we will discuss in this article.

I will not delve too deeply into a career field history lesson except to say that during the peaks times of Operations IRAQI FREEDOM and ENDURING FREEDOM the career field shifted a good portion of its training attention to Regional Training Centers (RTC). After 9/11 we found ourselves confronted with fighting in two named operations, an elevated home station ops tempo and limited resourcing. Approximately one third of our Defenders or more were going forward into combat zones every 10 – 12 months. There was not time or money to change formal training venues to meet the emerging threats. We had to go ‘now’ which meant we needed to train now. Appropriately, the responsibility to deliver the just-in-time training for those Defenders deploying, fell to the RTCs.

Even the RTCs found it difficult to stay abreast of the enemy tactics, techniques and procedures while adjusting from local theater-specific demands to CENTCOM realities. What these training venues had going for them was a strong cadre, resilient leadership, less cumbersome administrative requirements, and funding specifically aligned to support contingency operations. As Defenders always do, we made it happen and turned out the best-trained Defenders. However, as with all things in the Air Force, our just-in-time training approach would have a shelf life. We have reached that shelf life and exceeded it, which is why sustainment training is needed.

By turning on the news, each and every day we witness that our threat now is not restricted to what we widely consider combat zones. The threat our Defenders face today can be on a train in France, an airport in Germany, the main gate at Travis AFB, or any other location where someone wants to cause our Air Force harm. It is because of these threats we have to prepare for the expected and the unexpected. So how will collective skills training help? We are creating Defenders who can spot potential threats as they evolve, gather and employ resources available in the moment, and act immediately to neutralize the threat.

There are two primary reasons for sustainment training. First, it prepares Defenders to meet current and emerging threats in the short and long term. Second, the consequences of not doing it are potentially dangerous not just for our Defenders but also those they protect. Essentially sustainment training is designed so that every Defender attends training at specific intervals in their career, regardless of whether they are scheduled to deploy or not. While at these training centers, Defenders will get exposure to training designed to prepare them for the next advancement in his/her career, the newest equipment, advanced weapons handling, and much more. This training is not focused solely on a specific mission, but rather is constructed so that the skills acquired can be used both at home station and deployed locations.

On a closing note even though our Defenders currently enjoy a less demanding deployment rotation and relatively peaceful home stations, this will not always be the case. This time, right now, is our chance to prepare for the future while securing the present. It is time to start training!


Air Force's Newest Security Forces Colonels!!!

Congratulations to the following individuals who have been selected for promotion to the rank of Colonel. Well done Defenders!!















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