OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Like many military installations overseas, Osan Air Base faces challenges that require coordination between U.S. servicemembers and their host nation.
One of the major challenges involves base security and aligning procedures to ensure the safety of those who live and work on and around the installation.
On Apr. 8, 2022, Col. E. Jonelle Eychner, 51st Mission Support Group commander, met with Col. Soon Tae Kim, Republic of Korean Air Force (ROKAF) Operations Command Service & Support Group commander, to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the 51st Security Forces Squadron and the ROKAF Military Police Squadron.
“In this situation, I think [the event] is very meaningful and timely,” said Kim. “I think today’s ceremony will be momentous so we can work together to protect Osan [AB] and to prepare for all of the operations we do together.”
The MOU was last signed in 2016 and included only about 3-4 pages of procedures. Now it has over 50 pages covering everything from force protection conditions, quality control to even adding COVID-19 safety measures.
The new MOU ensures ROKAF MPs are able to utilize the Defense Biometric Identification System (DBIDS), supporting U.S. Forces Korea guidance for bilateral installations on the peninsula. This increases installation security and communications by receiving frequent database updates on changes to personnel or credential status, law enforcement warrants, lost or stolen cards, and force protection conditions.
“When two military police teaming together, they are stronger than one,” said Eychner. “This teaming is what continues to keep us strong… the teaming and communication, dual posting at our entry control points, and working through security challenges to ensure our aircraft, service members and their families are safe and secure [the base].”
Master Sgt. Christopher Flores, 51st Security Forces Squadron Standardization and Evaluation section chief, was one of many on the team of Defenders and ROKAF MPs who reviewed and edited the MOU. They helped coordinate and translate the in information in the MOU and assign the different responsibilities to secure the base.
“We refined an established MOU by adding or deleting content to make current with today’s operations,” said Flores. “It’s definitely going to better and improve our relationship with ROKAF MPs for the security and law enforcement of the installation.”
An annual review is conducted by either party and if there are a significant amount or big enough changes, either side can request a new MOU to be signed.
“This MOU is one small indication of the relationship that is best summed up by the phrase “Kapshi Kapshida-Let’s Go Together. Thank you for your partnership,” said Eychner.