Naval District Washington (NDW) concluded its Citadel Shield 2013 (CS13) exercise March 1. The event, held since 1999, is a field training exercise used to test and evaluate antiterrorism procedures at the installation level throughout the continental United States.
Beginning Feb. 19, six installations within NDW - Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Naval Support Activity (NSA) South Potomac, NSA Annapolis, NSA Bethesda, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling and NSA Washington - took part in various training scenarios with an emphasis on realism to train personnel. Scenarios included active shooters, mass casualty drills, bomb threats, surveillance and false credential exercises.
"These exercises are always beneficial in allowing our personnel the opportunity to respond to different events and to utilize preplanned responses designed for specific scenarios," said NDW Regional Security Officer Rob Shaffer. "They go a long way in testing the knowledge and training that we deliver to our people."
Training for CS13 had been ongoing since the conclusion of last year's force protection exercise to ensure that little was left to speculation in the event of a real-world emergency.
"We prepare year-round for this," said NSA 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."
The CS13 exercise is all-inclusive, incorporating a number of departments and personnel involved in addition to security personnel.
"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 NSA Washington Audrey Champagne. "It's the best way to train our people. We can read books and Power Points all day long, but if we're not out, boots on the ground, with every part of the command doing their part to recover from whatever events are taking place, it means nothing until we're actually doing it."
With the conclusion of CS13, leadership will continue the process of training and evaluating its personnel, eventually leading up to next year's force protection exercise; but not before taking the opportunity to review the successes of this year's event.
"The most successful part of Citadel Shield has been allowing us the opportunity to evaluate our own preplanned responses and measure those against what we are trying to achieve," said Shaffer.
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