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Air Force reviewing security at bases worldwide after intruder broke into Air Force One base, boarded C-40 aircraft

Air Force C-40. (Air Force photo/Released)
February 11, 2021

The U.S. Air Force announced a review of base security worldwide last week after a man gained access to Joint Base Andrews, where the aircraft and aircrews that transport the President and other high profile executives are kept.

On Friday, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby announced acting Secretary of the Air Force John Roth and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles “CQ” Brown had ordered the Air Force Inspector General to review Air Force security measures after the man entered Joint Base Andrews the day before on Feb. 4.

“Everybody takes seriously what happened and they will do a thorough investigation and . . . I’m sure they will learn things out of this that we’ll be able to share with you,” Kirby said. “I can also tell you that clearly, they have adjusted some of their security protocols at Andrews this morning. Won’t go into the details of that, of course.”

Kirby said the investigation will not only look at the incident at Joint Base Andrews, but “will look at security protocols across the force.”

In a statement to American Military News, Joint Base Andrews officials said the man who entered the base and “gained unauthorized access to the flightline and entered a C-40 aircraft assigned to the 89th Airlift Wing.”

The statement also noted the man was unarmed, did not harm any personnel, and “there is no indication that the individual has any links to extremist groups.”

The 89th Airlift Wing, also known as “The President’s Wing,” is in charge of operating Air Force One and a number of other executive transport aircraft for flying high ranking military officers, government officials and foreign dignitaries.

While the man did not gain access to one of the two customized Boeing 747-200B series aircraft that typically carry the president under the designation “Air Force One,” C-40 Clippers typically carry military combatant commanders and members of the president’s cabinet and Congress.

The security breach at Joint Base Andrews came a day before President Joe Biden was set to take his first flight aboard Air Force One, flying from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, to Delaware.

“The security of our installation is paramount,” said Col. Roy Oberhaus, the vice wing commander of the 316th Wing at Joint Base Andrews. “This was 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 security incident also led Joint Base Andrews to temporarily suspend its trusted traveler program, Air Force Magazine reported. The program, which JBA started in 2015, allowed “valid [Common Access Card] cardholders with escort authority to vouch for” up to 10 people to enter the base with them in the same vehicle without having to get them pre-cleared by the 11th Security Support Squadron Visitor Control Center at Andrews.