In the ongoing Global War on Terrorism, U.S. Navy Masters-at-Arms (MA) serving as a Security Force Specialists have a very special ally at their disposal: Military Working Dogs (MWDs).
By completing certifications as Dog Handlers (NEC 2005) and Kennel Masters (NEC 2006), MA Security Force Specialists qualify for MWD tours. But not everyone with a fondness for canines is automatically accepted to become a MWD Handler. Besides having a strong desire to work with dogs, candidates must meet the personnel qualification standards for kennel support, be physically fit and medically suitable to be deployed worldwide, obtain an endorsement from a qualified kennel master, and agree to perform all the duties associated with a Dog Handler billet for at least 48 consecutive months after they complete MWD handler school.
Because MWD teams can be used for a wide variety of purposes—routine patrols, intruder detection, listening and observation—and are capable of finding explosives, drugs, and other dangerous contraband, their skills are highly valued, and they are placed in areas where security is vital. MWD teams are assigned to the two Strategic Weapons Facilities in the continental United States, are deployed with the Naval Special Warfare Group (aka Seal Team Six), and handle Installation Security at various locations around the world. They’re frequently deployed in support of overseas contingency operations, as well as to ensure security at events involving the Commander-in-Chief, foreign Heads of State, or other VIPS.
Upon reaching a paygrade of E6, MWD-qualified Security Force Specialists can work as Trainers or as Kennel Masters in facilities with less than eight MWDs. Depending on level of experience, Chief Masters-at-Arms are assigned as Kennel Masters (for facilities with more than eight WMDs), Regional Kennel Masters, or MWD Security Training and Assessment Teams Assessors. Senior Chief MAs fill the three Fleet Kennel Master slots, while a Master Chief MA serves as the MWD Program Manager.
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