Small but mighty, the Regional Security Office at the U.S. Embassy in Valletta, Malta, strives to stay on top of its game by embracing training opportunities.
This spring, Regional Security Office Malta hosted a group of U.S. Marines from Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team (FAST) Company Europe for five days of exercises and drills meant to bolster the embassy’s readiness and strengthen their relationship with Maltese security forces.
During the visit, the FAST Marines trained U.S. Embassy Malta’s Marine Security Guards (MSG), local guard force (LGF), and the ambassador protection detail (APD) on combat casualty care, shooting, motorcade security, small unit tactics, and detainee procedures.
As part of the training, FAST Marines developed complex scenario-based drills that forced embassy security personnel and local officers to execute their operational plans and procedures, improving interoperability and readiness. By gauging and refining the response of host-nation and embassy security forces, these specialized Marines strengthened security cooperation.
This visit from FAST also provided embassy personnel with the opportunity to work side by side with Maltese security forces. These local forces, which include the Armed Forces of Malta and the Malta Police Force, are the embassy’s first responders in case of an emergency. Usually, the local forces do not train in conjunction with the embassy’s security officers. However, during the Marines’ visit, the Maltese security forces also received training to enhance their defensive capabilities, as well as bolster teamwork and coordination with the MSG, LGF, and APD.
“Our goal is to ensure teamwork from all tactical elements during a crisis, despite their different mission sets,” said Assistant Regional Security Officer (ARSO) Benjamin Andrews.
“FAST’s mission is to augment embassy security during a crisis. Having the FAST Marines work and train with our security elements and the Malta security forces allowed each unit to understand one another’s capabilities, learn how to better communicate with each other, and how to be an asset during a wide range of emergencies,” continued Andrews.
Regional Security Officer Eric Sheffield, who used to be a FAST Marine, first hosted FAST for training exercises in 2021 after a suggestion made by Defense Attaché Mateo Robertaccio. After seeing the immense value of this specialized training, Sheffield is intent on continuing this annual engagement.
“The first training engagement was in May 2021. We are now working to improve and expand this annual training engagement, with an eye towards strengthening relationships and cooperation with Maltese security forces. The Marines are keen to train with us, and we love having them, so we will continue to pursue these engagements,” said Sheffield.