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With Citadel Shield Exercise (CS13) 2013 planned for Feb.19 to March 1, personnel working at installations in Naval District Washington (NDW) may notice an increase in training and preparation for the antiterrorism exercise. What some may not realize is that preparations for the exercise began at the conclusion of Citadel Shield 2012.

"This is an ongoing, continuous evolution," said NDW Regional Security Officer Rob Shaffer. "Our security forces are a 24/7 response asset, and we test and evaluate them monthly as part of an ongoing training process."

Others explain that the all-inclusive and ongoing training schedule helps to ensure that little is left to speculation should an emergency occur.

"We prepare year-round for this," said Naval Support Activity Washington Antiterrorism Officer William Holdren. "As we go through this, we make sure that every installation that we have has been fully briefed, they understand what is going on, and that we have their approval for the drills, so there is a lot of preparation that goes behind this. From a police standpoint, we have ensured that all of our gear is up to date. It's a yearly time to shine; we work extremely hard to be ready for this. Citadel Shield, we know what we're doing."

While the purpose of the Citadel Shield exercise is to test antiterrorism procedures at the installation level, support personnel are also included.

"These types of exercises are very effective because they allow us the focused time to concentrate our training efforts installation-wide towards these events," said Shaffer. "This exercise allows us to train, and show the effectiveness of that training, with total installation participation."

This installation wide-training is exemplified by the table top exercise (TTX) portion of Citadel Shield 2013, which began its planning stages in August 2012.

"You have force protection, administration, emergency management, all of those components coming together in to one integrated exercise where all are working as one to complete the mission," said Installation Training Officer for Naval Support Activity Washington Audrey Champagne. "What the TTX does is allow tenant commands to review their mission essential personnel plan and ensure its validity and that it will prepare the right individuals to respond to a specific emergency."

Champagne said that the TTX serves to create a working environment at installations and tenant commands to identify their minimum number of mission essential personnel (MEP) required to be onboard the installation during an identified emergency event. MEP plans help identify alternate means to accomplish missions where an individual presence may not be required on the installation but the task they do perform is required. In such cases support of the mission can be remotely accomplished through telecommuting in the event of an emergency situation. She explained that this provides a more streamlined working environment in such a situation, while ensuring mission accomplishment.

"We also have to look at the long-term effects of Mission Essential Personnel Plans. A phased approached of restoral of normal operations must be a part of the MEP," said Champagne. "After a while, if an installation only has mission essential personnel on station, it will stymie the completion of mission. And that is part of the exercise - the phased approach of bringing people back on to an installation after things start calming down. Restoring an installation's full operations is a major part of the MEP"

In the coming weeks, NDW will provide information and updates regarding exercise Citadel Shield in the Waterline and NDW Facebook page at www.facebook.com/NavDistWash.