66 SFS welcomes Security Forces Female Defender Initiative Team

  • Published
  • By Mark Wyatt
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – The 66th Security Forces Squadron here hosted representatives from the Security Forces Female Defender Initiative Team to address gender-based barriers within the security forces career field, ensuring equitable opportunities for all defenders to excel.

The Headquarters Air Force program, soon entering its third year, was initially created to address retention and job satisfaction concerns among security forces women.

"The FDI team is committed to fostering an environment where women in security forces are given every opportunity to succeed," said Master Sgt. Lauren Walker, 66 SFS Bravo Flight chief. "The visit underscores their dedication to breaking down barriers and ensuring gender equality within our ranks."

During their visit, the FDI team held two group discussions with Hanscom AFB male and female defenders to assess current challenges and identify opportunities for improvement.

During the hour-long briefings, Capt. Laura Lupo, FDI action officer, and Master Sgt. Patricia Zema, FDI Requirements Branch manager, highlighted past successes and objectives for the coming year. 

The team is reviewing female body armor, weapons qualification policy for pregnant or nursing defenders, mentorship opportunities, updating the separations policy, and more.

"One of our priorities is to inspire and connect with female defenders, showing them that their contributions are valued and their voices are heard,” said Zema, during a briefing with SFS defenders and Hanscom AFB leadership.

Through targeted efforts, the team aims to drive meaningful change and ensure every defender has access to the same opportunities for professional growth and advancement.

In addition to 66 SFS personnel, defenders from Barnes Air National Guard Base in Massachusetts, and Pease Air National Guard Base in New Hampshire, participated in the sessions.

“Our partnerships with other units are key to creating a more inclusive and supportive environment within the security forces career field,” said Walker. “Together, we amplify our efforts to create equitable opportunities for all.”

Those interested in submitting a new idea or best practice are asked to submit their idea to https://form.jotform.com/232395325407052 or email the team at AF.A4SF.Workflow@us.af.mil.