Agencies Focus on Working Dog Collaboration

Ten federal agencies met at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland to discuss a government-wide project to collaborate on working dog operations. Among these agencies were Departments of Homeland Security, Defense, Justice, and State.

From April 16 to April 18, the government-wide working dog team kickoff meeting allowed agencies already using working dogs to discuss the challenges, strategies, and best practices they employ for the dogs. The meeting goal was to build stronger, more sustainable canine operations for the future, according to Homeland Security Today.

Attendees of the event included agency canine patrol or detection program managers, canine subject matter experts, and various acquisition and contracting experts.

The event kicked off with tours of the Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland’s canine campus, equipped with DOD kennels, dog evaluation, veterinary and rehabilitation services, breeding program areas, and on-base Transportation Security Administration (TSA) training facilities.

The collaborative meetings included mission briefings and open discussions about how each agency uses their canine force.

Scott Heise, Air Force Security Forces Center, Air Force Security and Protection Category Management Council director noted, “We were listening to working dog program managers and [subject matter experts] talk about their programs, especially relating to things they buy from industry whether a product or a service.”

Peter Herrmann, a member of the Air Force Installation Contracting Agency at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, and the category program manager supporting Heise’s efforts, stated a key focus of the meeting was learning to “maximize mission effectiveness with every dollar that we spend.”

TSA and the DOD have a longstanding relationship in assisting each other with working dog relationships. This event marks the first real attempt to expand that relationship across the federal government to ensure every agency is implementing best practices for their working dogs.

“This week is extremely exciting,” Herrmann said. “It’s our first ever federal category management meeting specifically for an intelligence report [where] from an execution standpoint, we’re specifically looking at government working dogs. Bringing 10 federal agencies together to understand commonalities as well as variances in their requirements, the challenges they face at a tactical level and how we can acquire these and also manage the programs for working dogs more efficiently and effectively.”

The agencies have been and will continue working with industry leaders and the academic community throughout this process.


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