What an Increased Force Protection Condition Means for Pax River Personnel

February 6, 2018

The Navy’s annual Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield (SC-CS) anti-terrorism/force protection exercise is underway across NAS Patuxent River through Feb. 9, and part of that exercise will involve increasing the force protection condition (FPCON) which may affect Pax River personnel.

FPCON is a terrorist threat system that describes the measures needed to be taken by security agencies in response to various levels of terrorist threats against military facilities and reduces the risk of terrorist attacks and other security threats to DoD personnel, property and activities.

“Force protection conditions are determined by the direction of NorthCom (U.S. Northern Command) and can be affected by local, nationwide or worldwide activity,” said Jason Rice, anti-terrorism officer for Pax River.

There are five progressive levels of increasing measures, from normal to delta, which incrementally raise protection preparedness. Routinely, the FPCON posted at the entry gates each day for Patuxent River is bravo – a situation where there exists an increased or more predictable threat of small and general terrorist activity. The most heightened condition is Delta, a situation where a terrorist attack has just occurred or is determined to be imminent. Between them is FPCON Charlie.

The first result of any increased FPCON measure on Pax employees or contractors will be noticed at the entry gates, and Pax personnel can expect the installation to go to a modified form of FPCON Charlie at some point during the SC-CS exercise.

“Whereas employees normally present their official ID to gain access, during a heightened condition, additional security will be evident such as physical barriers controlling traffic flow, 100 percent ID check of everyone in a car, or random inspections of cars,” Rice explained. “As a result of this, traffic flow at the entry control points may see a decrease overall.”

Once onboard the installation, dependent on which FPCON is in effect, employees might also see the presence of increased security, fire and emergency services personnel, military police dogs conducting searches, locked down buildings, closed streets or parking lots, and barriers detouring traffic to different routes.

“They might also be questioned before entering a building and have their personal bags or packages inspected,” Rice said. “Some situations may call for a building to lock its main doors and have people shelter in place.”

Although these increased FPCON measures may cause commuters temporary travel time delays or traffic backup at the gates, personnel are reminded that whatever situation or inconvenience they may experience during the SC-CS training exercise, it is ultimately for their own safety and protection.

Personnel are advised to pay attention to AtHoc messages and check the NAS Facebook page for updates and notices to help alert them to possible delays. Visit www.facebook.com/NASPaxRiver.

” Master-at-Arms 1st Class Adam Wiltrout reviews incident reporting procedures with NAS Patuxent River security department personnel during the Citadel Shield/Solid Curtain 2018 exercise. Citadel Shield/Solid Curtain 2018 is an anti-terrorism and force protection exercise conducted by Navy installations within the continental United States to ensure that the Navy is ready to respond to changing and dynamic threats at all times.