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Defenders safeguard assets during Red Flag

Airman 1st Class Michael Cordova, 99th Security Forces Squadron member, stands guard on the flightline during Red Flag 15-3 on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., July 17, 2015. While on duty, Cordova provides security, armed response to any priority-level resource in his assigned area of operation, and ensures only authorized personnel are on the flightline. During Red Flag exercises, Cordova’s assigned area of operation includes over 100 aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jake Carter)

Airman 1st Class Michael Cordova, 99th Security Forces Squadron member, stands guard on the flightline during Red Flag 15-3 on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., July 17, 2015. While on duty, Cordova provides security, armed response to any priority-level resource in his assigned area of operation, and ensures only authorized personnel are on the flightline. During Red Flag exercises, Cordova’s assigned area of operation includes over 100 aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jake Carter)

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- During every Red Flag exercise, an increased number of personnel and equipment finds its way here. Units from around the world come to experience and participate in the best training they can receive in the air, space and cyberspace realm of operations.

When Red Flag begins, units trust one squadron to ensure their safety throughout the duration of the exercise: the 99th Security Forces Squadron.

Lt. Col. Joseph Ringer, 99th SFS commander, entrusts his squadron with safeguarding every asset during the exercises.

"The activity definitely increases (during Red Flag)," Ringer said. "There is a huge swell in the number of aircraft that are congregated on the flightline, where we are responsible for securing to enable all the missions and sorties that are generated."

When Airmen receive a temporary duty assignment to Nellis Air Force Base for Red Flag, security forces' workload greatly increases.

"The influx of personnel has to be processed into the base, and we have a role in that as well," Ringer said. "For the aircrews and teams that come in, there's an entry authorization list and restricted area badge coordination that we take care of too. So above our day-to-day work, there's a lot that goes on."

Senior Master Sgt. Brian Noethlich, 99th SFS operations superintendent, oversees the day-to-day operations for security forces Airmen and acknowledges that with proper planning, security concerns can be minimal.

"There is a negligible amount of security violations occurring during Red Flag," Noethlich said. "Our folks that are coming in, our air expeditionary wings, our professionals here do their business well and we do a great job planning these events and taking care of a lot of the things in advance that would end up being issues if we didn't."

Ringer also said preparation plays a part in reducing security issues which may arise due to foreign air forces participating in the exercises.

"We check those things regularly for the people stationed on Nellis AFB, so if you increase the number of personnel coming to the base, it will raise the work level for our defenders," Ringer said. "We have aircraft come in from all around the world to participate, so there are security concerns that come from some other nations, but we work those out before they come here so everyone participating feels safe."

Although Red Flag exercises provide training to Airmen throughout the Air Force, it's just more days of excellence for the men and women of the 99th SFS.

"Red Flag is not an exercise for us, it's an operator's exercise and we get to perform our day-to-day mission during their exercise," Ringer said. "Our mission is to protect and defend personnel and  resources, enabling the next generation of warfighters while supporting global U.S. and coalition missions."