2/9/2012 - OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. --
If anyone had their doubts on just how random drug testing program is, they may have had their minds changed if they happened to see the 55th Wing commander heading into the Offutt Air Force Base testing facility Feb. 1.
Yes, no one is off-limits for drug testing and even the highest ranking officials on base can get randomly selected for urinalysis.
"The computer holds the key to randomness and our staff has no control over the selection process," said Gina Watson, the Drug Demand Reduction program manager with the 55th Medical Operations Squadron.
For Airmen at Offutt, all military members as well as any defense department or non-appropriated fund civilians are included in the base's DDR database and can be selected randomly. Names are selected by Air Force software that uses algorithmic equations.
"Monthly updated personnel rosters are input into the drug testing software and the software then selects personnel based on the parameters set for the total testing population," Watson said.
Per Air Force regulations, the DDR office staff must randomly test military personnel in the ranks of E-1 to E-4 and O-1 and O-2 at an average of once a year. All other military members are subject to the rate of 65 percent tested per year.
Civilian testing is randomly conducted in order to achieve fiscal year requirements.
"Personnel are randomly assigned a number once the testing computer is turned on, based on the total number of personnel assigned in the database," Watson said. "The assumption that personnel are assigned based on social security numbers are false."
DDR is a Department of Defense program that was established in 1981 to deter personnel from using illegal drugs. The integrity of the program is of the utmost importance and every DOD installation around the world must follow strict guidelines with legal oversight.
And although it is unlikely based on the randomness of the selection process, it is possible that someone could get selected on back-to-back days by the program.
"Our testing population needs to understand that if you are selected, you will have to provide a specimen regardless of the frequency you are selected, which means even though you were here two days ago, you will still have to provide a sample," Watson said.
By the end of 2012, Offutt's DDR office staff will have tested more than 6,000 individuals for illegal drugs.