In late September 2011, SERE Solutions, Inc. in Spokane, WA received a $9.2 million firm-fixed-price contract for survival, evasion, resistance, and escape (SERE) services. Work will be performed at Fairchild AFB, WA, and Lackland AFB, TX. The Air Education and Training Command CONS/LGCU at Randolph Air Force Base, TX, manages the contract (FA3002-06-D-0008, PO 0026). The contract number indicates that it has been going since FY 2006, but this is the first public DefenseLINK announcement.
SERE is no walk in the park. It’s designed to prepare more than 6,500 aircrew and “high risk of capture” DOD personnel to survive under any conditions. That includes arctic, desert, open ocean, jungle, mountain… and even captivity. Cdr. Frank “Spig” Wead describes his SERE experiences in detail, and its details explain why SERE became a news item in recent years: the use of “waterboarding” on all participating personnel. That same technique was used on a few senior al-Qaeda personnel, most notably Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, but Cdr. Wead’s take on it was not universally shared by those who endured it in SERE school.