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Personnel in Naval District Washington (NDW) can soon expect to see a familiar change around their bases. Increased security, closed gates, vehicle searches, and other heightened security measures can be expected, and some may be asking what all the trouble is for. But there is no need for worry; it is all part of NDW’s participation in the Navy’s annual Solid Curtain/Citadel Shield (SC/CS) exercise, scheduled for February-March.
Since 1999, SC/CS has been a field training exercise in and outside of the continental United States used to test antiterrorism procedures at the fleet, regional and installation levels. Solid Curtain is an exercise focused on command, control, and communication (C3) between all echelons Navywide. Citadel Shield is an installation-level training exercise that will include active shooter and improvised explosive device drills.
"Citadel Shield will basically be installation run exercises or drills," said Naval Support Activity Washington Antiterrorism Officer William Holdren. "Solid Curtain is Navy driven; it is going to be run off of Navy intelligence reports and incidents, increasing the force protection conditions and how we react, all the way through reporting procedures up to Fleet Forces."
Holdren explained that SC/CS is an effective means of not only training personnel, but creating a safe training environment where other personnel can familiarize themselves with emergency procedures.
"First and foremost, Solid Curtain/Citadel Shield gives us the opportunity to exercise our antiterrorism plan. It allows us to develop, and then test, our antiterrorism plan so that we know that it works correctly," said Holdren. "So this is a very big deal, especially from an antiterrorism perspective. But in addition to allowing antiterrorism forces, police and naval security forces an opportunity to exercise, it also gives everybody on the installations that glimpse into what would happen should we have to increase force protection condition measures."
When these force protection measures are increased, personnel can expect to see greater changes on installations throughout NDW. Holdren said that longer wait times at gates, vehicle inspections for drivers and bag inspections for pedestrians at gates, and increased scrutiny on proper identification can be expected during this time. But SC/CS exercise planners are working to ensure that the impact is minimal.
"We are being considerate of operational impact, so the installations want to make sure that the average employee can still go to work and be able to do their job," said NDW Exercise Planner Chad Payeur. "During some of these exercises personnel should expect to see an increased security presence, as well as AtHoc notifications if they are registered for them - and if it is an exercise, the notifications will indicate that - just to get the average employee in to the frame of mind as to what to expect in the event of a real scenario."
Both Holdren and Payeur recommend that personnel take certain actions to limit operational impact on day to day operations. Personnel should register for the AtHoc wide area alert network if they have not already done so in order to be aware of force protection conditions and other emergency, environmental, or exercise related impacts on the area. Staggered entry and exit times for personnel working on installations should be considered in order to limit traffic at entry control points. Personnel should also familiarize themselves with their command or tenant command antiterrorism plan to better know what to expect during the exercise. These are especially important to consider due to the fact that SC/CS is expected to have a lengthened training window for the exercise this year.
To register with AtHoc, log in to an NMCI workstation and click the purple globe at the bottom right of the desktop, or visit www.cnic.navy.mil/NDW/About/WAAN/index.htm.
In the coming weeks, NDW will provide information and updates regarding exercise SC/CS in the Waterline and NDW Facebook page at www.facebook.com/NavDistWash.