Nevada Guard Unit Marshal Program keeps potential assailants guessing | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada Guard Unit Marshal Program keeps potential assailants guessing

Sgt. 1st Class Erick Studenicka
Joint Force Headquarters Public Affairs

Master Sgt. Michael Clark, right, receives instruction from Maj. Robert Kolvet during a mock final shooting test for Nevada National Guard unit marshal applicants in December 2017 at a shooting range near Carson City, Nev. The Unit Marshal Program allows Guardsmen to carry their personally owned firearms concealed while on Nevada Guard property as a deterrent to active assailants and insider threats.

Dozens of National Guard soldiers and airmen have completed the Nevada National Guard's Unit Marshal Program training and may be carrying concealed firearms while working in uniform at Nevada Guard facilities.

Or maybe not?

The fact one may never know whether a uniformed co-worker is carrying a concealed weapon is one of the primary deterrence aspects of the Nevada Guard's innovative Unit Marshal Program, which aims to deter insider threats and ensure the safety of all Nevada Guard military and civilian employees and visitors who work and gather at National Guard facilities.

The Nevada Guard's Unit Marshal Program is the first of its kind in the National Guard and is being monitored by the National Guard Bureau for potential expansion to other states and territories. The program is the brainchild of Provost Marshal Maj. Robert Kolvet, who said the program should cause a potential assailant to think twice about attempting to create a horrific situation like the one in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14 that left 17 dead.

"I want everyone in the world to know the Nevada Guard has implemented a program to deter insider threats and potential active assailants," said Kolvet, 38, of Reno. "It's relatively easy to install fences and employ gate guards to protect against external threats, but insider threats are harder to defend. The Unit Marshal Program is a measure that promises to improve the safeguarding of our force internally."

Kolvet stressed the fact participants in the Unit Marshal Program aren't members of a Special Reaction Team authorized to pursue active assailants. On the contrary, the program allows unit marshals to engage with active assailants only if other defense options such as run and/or hide is no longer an option.

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"Being in the Unit Marshal Program does not give the soldier or airman carte blanche authorization to pursue an active assailant," Kolvet said.

Soldiers and airmen in the program possess a concealed carry weapons permit and have successfully completed a two-day training program. The only Nevada Guard officials with knowledge of who has passed the UMP course are the Adjutant General, the Director of the Joint Staff and the Army Guard's Provost Marshal Officer and Non-commissioned Officer in Charge.

Kolvet said dozens of soldiers and airmen successfully completed UMP training in January and may now be carrying concealed weapons at Nevada Guard facilities across the state. He said the qualified airmen and soldiers are roughly spread across all facilities in Northern and Southern Nevada. Ideally in the future, there will be four UMP classes per year (two each in Northern and Southern Nevada) with 20 students aiming to certify about 80 unit marshals per year. A UMP certification will be good for two years.

Kolvet said any Guardsman can apply to become a unit marshal, but the requirements are stringent. Requirements include:

Current Nevada Guardsman in good standing (i.e., Not flagged).

Already possess a valid Carrying a Concealed Weapon permit

Have the ability to conceal the weapon while in uniform

Pass UMP classroom and live-fire training

Display proficiency with firearms

Kolvet said even if an applicant is knowledgeable about weapons and skilled with firearms, officials may decline an applicant's application to become a unit marshal. He said applicants must display the proper personality traits and decision-making skills needed to join the program. All applicants will have their behavioral history reviewed by the Deputy State Surgeon's office before the prospective marshal can carry a weapon while in uniform on Nevada Guard properties.

"A unit marshal must possess a complete understanding of the program and exemplary decision-making skills," Kolvet said. "It is second nature for military members to move toward danger; in an active-shooter situation, this is not a viable option.

"A unit marshal must know and understand that they are not to ever pursue an assailant."

For information on an application to the UMP program, call 775-887-7895.