In the wake of an intruder gaining unauthorized access and entering a jet at Joint Base Andrews, the Air Force will review security practices around the world, officials said Friday afternoon.
“Everyone is taking this very seriously,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said during a Friday afternoon press conference. “The acting secretary of the Air Force and the Air Force chief of staff are going to order the Air Force Inspector General to fully investigate this.”
The Air Force IG investigation will also include installations worldwide, said Kirby.
“It is not just limited to Andrews,” he said.
The Air Force will “launch a comprehensive review of installation security and trends,” Ann Stefanek, a spokeswoman, told Military Times. “Once complete, we will publicly share the results of the investigation into the breach at Joint Base Andrews. We are still gathering information and facts, but we can assure you, installation security is of critical importance to the Department of the Air Force.”
The incident took place Thursday. A man gained unauthorized access to the flightline at JBA and entered a C-40 aircraft assigned to the 89th Airlift Wing, according to a media release. Joint Base Andrews Security Forces responded, detained and interviewed the individual, according to a media release. U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations assisted with the interview.
The man was identified as Joseph Armstrong, who was wanted on a charge of failure to appear on a larceny charge, Maj. Tara Johnson, director of administration for Arlington County Sheriff’s Office, told Military Times. Prince George’s County jail records indicate he is 36 years old.
“He was booked by OSI and given a federal summons for trespassing. He was turned over to local law enforcement, given that he had two outstanding warrants,” according to the release.
Sign up for the Air Force Times Daily News Roundup
Don’t miss the top Air Force stories, delivered each afternoon
By giving us your email, you are opting in to the Air Force Times Daily News Roundup.
Armstrong, who was not named in the release, was unarmed and did not harm any personnel and there is no indication that the individual has any links to extremist groups.
“The security of our installation is paramount,” said Col. Roy Oberhaus, the vice wing commander of the 316th Wing at Joint Base Andrews, said in the release. “This was a serious breach of security and Joint Base Andrews is investigating the incident to determine how this happened so it doesn’t happen again.”
“The guy was turned over to Prince George’s County,” AFOSI spokeswoman Linda Card told Military Times Friday morning. “Nothing was threatened and the guy was turned over to the local police.”
“He did nothing to the military,” Card told Military Times. “This is not our investigation,” Card said.
Card did not have any details about the man’s name, age or charges against him.
The man was taken into custody and transported to the Prince George’s County Department of Corrections, according to Capt. W. Kelly Faris, a PGC Sheriff’s office spokeswoman.
“We were notified by Joint Base Andrews of a person with an open warrant stemming from Virginia,” Faris told Military Times. “We confirmed the warrant was extraditable and took custody of the prisoner just before [11 p.m. Thursday] to transport him to the Prince George’s County Department of Corrections.
Faris did not provide details about the man’s name or the reason for the warrants.
A White House official told Military Times that the intruder “was no where near” the Boeing 747 that is called Air Force One when the president is aboard.
The C-40 is based upon the commercial Boeing 737-700 business jet, according to the Air Force.
As a result of the intrusion, the base is suspending its “Trusted Traveler” program allowing access to the base, a JBA official told Military Times.
The program allows valid cardholders with escort authority to vouch up to 10 people in their vehicle.
The intruder entered the base a day ahead of President Joe Biden’s flight out of JBA to Delaware, according to the White House schedule released Thursday night.
JBA is home to the 316th Wing, 89th Airlift Wing and Air Force One, the 113th Wing, ANG Readiness Center, 459th Air Refueling Wing and Naval Air Facility Washington.
Known as “The President’s Wing,” the 89th Airlift Wing serves as the elite Air Mobility Command wing for transporting VIPs around the world, according to the base Facebook page.
“Not only does Andrews provide service for America’s senior officials, but also kings, queens, presidents, prime ministers, popes, and local and foreign military leaders make Andrews AFB their first stop in the United States,” it states.
Technically, “Air Force One” is used to designate any Air Force aircraft carrying the president, but it is now standard practice to use the term to refer to specific planes that are equipped to transport the Commander-in-Chief, according to the White House homepage.
Today, this name refers to one of two highly customized Boeing 747-200B series aircraft, which carry the tail codes 28000 and 29000.
The Air Force designation for the aircraft is VC-25A. It is only referred to as Air Force One when the president is on board.
This is a developing story. Stay with Air Force Times for updates.
About Howard Altman
Howard Altman is an award-winning editor and reporter who was previously the military reporter for the Tampa Bay Times and before that the Tampa Tribune, where he covered USCENTCOM, USSOCOM and SOF writ large among many other topics.