NAS Pax River to have heightened security until further notice

By: David M. Higgins II

NAS Patuxent River, MD- NAS Patuxent River has announced on their Facebook that NAS Pax River, Solomons and Webster Field Force Protection Condition(FPCON) to a heightened FPCON Charlie until further notice.

In United States, military security parlance, force protection condition (FPCON for short) is a counter-terrorist threat system overseen by the United States Department of Defense directive and describes the number of measures needed to be taken by security agencies in response to various levels of terrorist threats against military facilities, as opposed to DEFCON, which assesses the amount of military forces needed to be deployed in a situation with a certain likelihood of attack against the civilian population. The decision on what level of FPCON to implement is affected by the current threat of terrorism towards military facilities and personnel, the number of security forces available, and current relationships between the United States and the world, which may affect the chances of an attack. FPCON was previously known as THREATCON, until it was renamed in June 2001 due to confusion with the United States State Department system of threat assessment.

FPCON CHARLIE describes a situation when a global terrorist attack has occurred or when intelligence reports that there is local terrorist activity imminent. (Must show two IDs at gates. Military installation traffic routes are restricted.) Force Protection Level I Antiterrorism Training defines FPCON Charlie as: FPCON Charlie applies when an incident occurs or intelligence is received indicating that some form of terrorist action against personnel and installations is imminent. Evidence of terrorist attack planning may exist, such as terrorist surveillance or reports from local sources. Strong protective measures are required, but the installation must continue its regular mission activities. You can expect rigorous efforts to inspect vehicles and facilities. Military personnel may be required to participate in special guard duties.

NAS Pax River is currently in Week two of the Navy’s annual anti-terrorism drill Citadel Sheild-Solid Curtain.

Week two’s Solid Curtain exercise is a national-level exercise centered on command, control and communications between all echelons Navywide where everything that happens at any installation affects every other installation, even if only in a minor way.

Specifically, here at Pax, Schotter noted there will be four drill packages run within the first week, and some of the scenarios played out – which might involve suspicious activity or surveillance, gate runner, suspicious package, bomb threats, active shooter, hostage situation – could lead to gate delays or closures, barriers being set up, temporary changes in traffic or parking patterns and an increase in force protection condition (FPCON) up to Charlie.

“[Charlie] would mean personnel will see gate sentries in full body armor with a rifle and 100 percent ID check at the gate of everyone in a vehicle, not just the driver,” he said. “That will cause some delays, but we do our best to tailor all of this around high volume traffic times to avoid the significant backup.”

NAS Pax River Gates 1 and 3 will operate with their normal schedules.

NAS Pax River Gate 2 will be open from 5:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. until further notice.


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David M. Higgins II

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in Digital Marketing, eventually leading him back to his passion. David started The Southern Maryland Chronicle in December 2017 and has grown it to become the #1 news source in Southern Maryland.

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