JOINT BASE ANACOSTIA-BOLLING, D.C. -- Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling wrapped up its second Solid Curtain/Citadel Shield Exercise March 23 since becoming a joint Navy-led installation Oct. 1, 2010.
Exercise Solid Curtain/Citadel Shield is an annual Navy-wide exercise designed to enhance training and readiness for all Navy installations by playing out realistic scenarios and implementing functional plans and operational capabilities.
The exercise was conducted throughout the week and progressively increased in complexity and force protection measures. JBAB, along with its mission partners and the local community, began preparations for the exercise about three months ago.
"This exercise allowed us to train to those procedures which will be needed if there is a significant event to the base, the region or the nation," said Navy Capt. Anthony T. Calandra, JBAB commander. "It also helped us gain valuable lessons learned to improve security and emergency management for not only security threats, but also natural and manmade disasters. Additionally, since the exercise was worldwide, involving all Navy and Navy-led installations, we honed those cooperative and supportive skills needed for Naval District Washington and the Navy's worldwide installation command, CNIC (Commander, Navy Installations Command). The JBAB team is thankful for the support and understanding from the local community and all its partners."
Several units on base, including the 579th Medical Group, Security Services Division, Public Works Department and Naval District Washington Fire and Emergency Services were key players in this year's exercise.
The base's Emergency Operations Center was also stood up for the exercise to support scenario-related emergency operations at the installation.
Calandra considers himself a tough grader, but overall gave the JBAB team "a solid 'B'" for their performance in the exercise.
"I think the level of effort in developing our base-wide mission-essential personnel list and determining the best combination of what facilities to close and what to keep open was an example of very good planning which took into account second- and third-order consequences," he said. "Planning in general was very good."
He said overall base teamwork was a "hot and cold" aspect of the exercise.
"We received some very good support and involvement from many of our mission partners, but while we had a great mission-essential personnel plan, we didn't execute it very well."
Calandra said the base only saw about an 18-percent reduction in traffic flow during the exercise, and that the traffic congestion on the installation was further compounded by the serious accident on I-295 North to the north of JBAB during morning rush hour on March 23. He added that he would have liked to have seen less movement on the base during the heightened security measures implemented as part of the exercise.
"The great news is we gathered a lot of lessons learned to incorporate into our base plan which we will get to test again soon," he said. "When you can come away from an exercise in better shape than when you started, you have to call it a success; thanks to all who helped in our success."
For some who were non-players in the exercise, it was a day like any other.
"It was business as usual for us here at the center," said Marine Sgt. Timothy Palm, an inspector/instructor at JBAB's Naval and Marine Corps Reserve Center. "We knew about the exercise ahead of time and didn't encounter anything unusual. It's always good to have exercises like this from time to time. It keeps us on our toes and prepares us for the unexpected."
Other mission partners had positive things to say about the exercise as well.
"Training like this never hurts. It's good to be prepared for anything," said Nicole Sinsabaugh, a civilian employee with the Defense Intelligence Agency. "Should something happen, it's comforting to know there are trained professionals who know what to do and how to respond."
Naval District Washington Commandant Rear Adm. Lorge said he thought the exercise went very well.
"I could not be more pleased with the outcome of the exercise," he said. "I am continually amazed at the work being done at the installation level to ensure the safety of our workforce, Sailors and their families. We simulated real-world conditions to accurately assess our strengths and limitations, and I am confident that we are prepared. We will apply lessons learned as we continue to refine plans and procedures, but overall the exercise was a tremendous success."