News Search

Protecting Pease: Smith prepares 157th ARW for real-world threats

Master Sgt. Matthew A. Smith, the standards and evaluations program manager assigned to the 157th Security Forces Squadron,  poses for a portrait on May 30, 2018 at Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H. In addition to his full-time role, Smith is also responsible for educating base personnel about how to respond in the event of an active shooter or terror attack. (N.H. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Kayla White)

Master Sgt. Matthew A. Smith, the standards and evaluations program manager assigned to the 157th Security Forces Squadron, poses for a portrait on May 30, 2018 at Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H. In addition to his full-time role, Smith is also responsible for educating base personnel about how to respond in the event of an active shooter or terror attack. (N.H. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Kayla White)


Members of the 157th Security Forces Squadron, here, attended a five-day course in the middle of May called Dynamics of International Terrorism in Destin, Florida.

DIT is a basic course, put on by the U.S. Air Force Special Operations School, designed to educate students about terrorist organizations, including motivations, operational capabilities and the threats they pose in national and international settings.

“I wanted to learn as much as I could, to better protect my base,” said Master Sgt. Matthew A. Smith, the standards and evaluation program manager, assigned to the 157th SFS. “Understanding these dynamics, knowing what to look for, could keep people alive.”

In his role, Smith tests the technical knowledge, skills and abilities of security forces airmen to ensure they are in the right positions, at the right time, to serve and defend the people of Pease. He is also responsible for educating members of the 157th Air Refueling Wing about threats to base defense, such as terror attacks and active shooter incidents.

A portion of the DIT course focused on the terrorist mindset and possible behavioral indicators which might help predict and prevent future terror attacks.

“It was surprising to me just how closely the terrorist mindset is with that of an active shooter,” said Smith. “They both follow that radicalized, conditioned path to violence.”

According to a study conducted by the FBI called Making Prevention a Reality: Identifying, Assessing and Managing the Threat of Targeted Attacks, offenders often display recognizable behaviors which could indicate violent intent.

Concerning, reportable behaviors include:

-Any physical violence toward a person or property

-Direct or indirect threats of violence

-Any act, gesture or statement that would be interpreted by a reasonable person as threatening or intimidating, such as overt physical or verbal intimidation, throwing objects or other gestures intended to cause fear, or making contextually inappropriate statements about harming others

-Unusual or bizarre behavior that would cause a reasonable person to fear injury or harm due to its nature and severity, such as: stalking; erratic or bizarre behavior suggestive of mental disturbance or substance abuse; fixation with mass murder, weapons, or violence generally; or fixation with hate group, terrorist, or extremist material

-Any statements or behaviors indicating suicidal intention

The same study discusses the importance of bystander intervention, or when the people who are around someone who displays these behaviors report them. Bystanders are the force multipliers of threat management, serving as the extra eyes and ears for officials who are responsible for the safety of others. The value of bystanders in prevention efforts cannot be overstated.

“People need to understand that if Pease ever has an active shooter incident, it will likely be someone within its gates,” said Smith. “We see each other every day. We need to take the time to get to know each other so we can stop that from happening.”

Smith made a presentation about active shooters and terrorism during the Wing Safety Down Day on May 24, 2018. This presentation provided basic background information. The next phase of Smith’s training plan will take it a step further.

Prevention is only half the battle, when it comes to educating base personnel. Smith must also ensure that they know how to respond in the event of a violent incident.

“My plan is to spend time with the building managers and supervisors who work in each building,” said Smith. “This will improve communication, foster relationships and increase security-mindedness.”

Smith will use time during scheduled drill weekends to teach these key leaders about response procedures, including escape routes and lockdown areas, in their specific sections of the base. They will then need to pass this information on to the people they manage.

“Safety and base defense do not fall solely on security forces airmen,” said Smith. “Everyone has a role. Everyone can make a difference.”


USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.