U.S. NAVAL SUPPORT ACTIVITY, Bahrain (NNS) -- The Marine Corps Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team, Central Command, (FASTCENT) aboard NSA Bahrain plays a vital role in supporting both fleet and fighter in U.S. Naval Forces Central Command area of operation.
The team, consisting of two platoons, each with approximately 50 personnel assigned, provides limited-duration, expeditionary security force protection for vital naval and national assets in Bahrain.
"What's most visible is the security support we provide for embassies and consulates," said Marine Corps Maj. Michael Taylor, FASTCENT commanding officer. "We support assets as identified and directed by NAVCENT throughout the entire CENTCOM region of operation."
He said FASTCENT's role with U.S. embassies and consulates is to provide a security force to protect those facilities in the event of a threat. Members of FASTCENT are on standby, ready to deploy at a moment's notice should the need arise.
Each FASTCENT Marine is highly trained in counter- surveillance, physical security, urban combat techniques and martial arts. Their overall mission is to detect, deter and defend against threats, focusing on anti-terrorism.
Yorktown, Va. 2nd FAST Company platoons are currently assigned to FASTCENT for a six-month tour. Here, they are supported by FASTCENT's headquarters staff, which consists of 14 Marines providing administrative, logistical, communications and training support to the platoons.
The FASTCENT also provides security protection to U.S. Navy ships in ports throughout the CENTCOM area of operation.
"We can be, and have been tasked with augmenting Navy security forces aboard ships for canal transits and port calls as well as landward security operations during port visits," said Taylor. "During those operations, FASCENT Marines perform duties such as entry and vehicle control point security operations, vehicle and pedestrian search operations, and mobile mounted or dismounted patrols within a secure perimeter."
Locally, the team provides security support for Naval Security Force Bahrain, as needed.
"We bring a punch that could plug a gap and reinforce NSF," he said. "It wouldn't be to take over, but instead, it would be to work with NSF."
"We have skills and tools available to us that NSF doesn't have yet," he said. "They are working to rebuild their MAA (master-at-arms) community to be more expeditionary and combat oriented.
Fleet anti-terrorism security teams were established in 1987 and are part of the United States Marine Corps Security Force Regiment in Norfolk. They are designated as 1st FAST and 3rd FAST, Norfolk, and 2nd FAST based in Yorktown, Va. The teams maintain forward-deployed platoons at various naval facilities around the globe and possess alert forces capable of rapidly responding to unforeseen contingencies worldwide.
In addition to FASTCENT, platoons also deploy to FAST Company Europe in Spain, FAST Company Pacific in Japan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
For more news from Naval Support Activity Bahrain, visit www.navy.mil/local/nsabahrain/.