Female Defender Initiative helps SF women thrive

Written by: 5th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Maj. Kimberly Guest, Female Defender Initiative (FDI) mentorship program subject matter expert, addresses a group of Airmen assigned to the 91st Security Forces Group during an FDI briefing at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, March 14, 2023. The initiative aims to identify policy barriers affecting women in security forces careers, promote information sharing across command teams to improve security forces culture, and advocate for programs that will positively impact all security forces Airmen.

Representatives from Headquarters Air Force/Security Forces and the Female Defender Initiative visited Minot AFB this week to discuss issues faced by women serving in security forces careers.

The FDI team chose to visit Minot AFB due to the large number of security forces Airmen stationed here. The program, which is entering its second year, was initially created to address retention and job satisfaction concerns among security forces women.

“FDI is focused on creating environments where women can thrive,” said Maj. Kimberly Guest, FDI mentorship program subject matter expert. “We’re looking to identify policy barriers and environmental barriers that inhibit a woman’s ability to thrive and grow. Some of those are things that can be addressed through policy, and some of those just need to be shared with commanders so we can be aware of what our blind spots are.”

The team met with Airmen and leaders assigned to the 91st Security Forces Group and the 5th Security Forces Squadron during their visit. The representatives facilitated open dialogue with both female and male security forces Airmen at all levels to get an idea of the logistical and cultural challenges faced by women serving in security forces careers.
“We got some really good feedback,” said Col. Jason Medsger, HAF/SF officer career manager. “Things we didn’t even think about, like why isn’t there cold weather gear for pregnant females? That’s a moment where I sit back in my chair and say, ‘I don’t know but thanks for telling me.’”

The team expressed hope that the FDI will continue to grow, and that any programs and resources created as a result will benefit all security forces Airmen, regardless of gender or any other point of difference.

“At some point an initiative is no longer a thing you started, it’s just a thing you do,” said Guest. “I think we’re all excited to see what’s next.”

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