Air Force to review base security worldwide after intrusion at Joint Base Andrews

"An Inspector General review of installation security is rare."

The Air Force Inspector General will conduct a worldwide review of Air Force base security after a man broke into Joint Base Andrews, Md., and entered a C-40 aircraft assigned to the 89th Airlift Wing on Thursday.

The unauthorized intruder was unarmed and was detained by base security forces. However, the incident had a wide ripple effect in the Air Force, especially because it occurred at Andrews, a base best known for housing Air Force One, and transporting senior government and military leaders, such as the President of the United States.

“While an Inspector General review of installation security is rare, the Air Force always reviews installation security incidents for policy or training improvements that can prevent future occurrences,” Air Force chief of media operations Ann Stefanek told Task & Purpose on Friday.

Earlier in the day, Col. Roy Oberhaus, the vice wing commander of the Andrews-based 316th Wing said the incident represented “a serious breach of security and Joint Base Andrews is investigating the incident to determine how this happened so it doesn’t happen again.”

The incident comes three years after a 44-year-old British man drove through the gate at RAF Mildenhall, a U.S. Air Force Base in England, and made it onto the flight line before being stopped by base security forces. 

To add a bizarre twist, the man initially drove up to the base gate with a teddy bear strapped to his chest, Air Force Times reported in 2017. 

“This is a matter of national security, and I must speak to the president,” he said, before gunning the engine, driving through the gate, and swerving around a pop-up barricade, Air Force Times reported. 

The man drove across active taxiways, under the wings of two parked C-130s, within a few feet of a taxiing KC-10 and almost up the ramp of a CV-22 Osprey before being rammed by a security forces car and pinned against the Osprey, Air Force Times reported. Luckily, the damage to the aircraft was negligible, and nobody except the teddy bear was injured.

Later, investigators found that Mildenhall’s security plan was not in line with Air Force regulations. Though the Security Forces team reacted well to the stressful situation, it prompted a look at base security across the service. The review found that tactics, techniques, and procedures were sound, but new technologies such as automated entry control systems were needed, Air Force Times reported.

Air Force Maj. Gen. Andrea Tullos told the publication at the time: “This is why you never say ‘I didn’t think it would happen.’ Never.”

The most recent incident at Andrews remains under investigation, and “once complete, we will publicly share the results of the investigation into the breach at Joint Base Andrews,” Stefanek said in a statement. “We are still gathering information and facts, but we can assure you, installation security is of critical importance to the Department of the Air Force.”

Featured Image: Airman 1st Class Jacob Humble (Left) and Airman Terrell Jennings, installation entry controllers assigned to the 10th Security Forces Squadron at the U.S. Air Force Academy, check IDs at the Academy’s South Gate, Jan. 7, 2021. (Air Force photo/Joshua Armstrong)

Related: 2 men arrested after allegedly trying to drive through Tinker Air Force Base with a car full of marijuana and a gun

David Roza

David Rozacovers the Air Force and anything Star Wars-related. He joined Task & Purpose in 2019, after covering local news in Maine and then FDA policy in Washington D.C. He loves hearing the stories of individual airmen and their families, and he also holds the unpopular opinion that Imperial stormtroopers are actually excellent marksmen. david.roza@taskandpurpose.com Contact the author here.

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