Naval Air Station Whiting Field is participating in “Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield” kicking off Monday and going through February 10.
The annual Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection (or ATFP) Exercise consists of around 300 field-training events on and off Navy installations across the continental United States. SC-CS17 is a two-part exercise conducted by Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces and Commander, Navy Installations Command.
“This is a standard drill, we do it every year. It’s not in response to anything particular,” said Whiting Field spokesman Jay Cope.
“During those two weeks we’re going to have a slew of different kinds of drills and tests to examine the force protection procedures that we have in place on the base,” Cope said. “Just like with any exercise you always learn something new.”
The drills are designed to enhance the training and readiness of Navy security forces to respond to threats against installations and units. The two exercises each has a distinct focus, stresses different areas of the Navy's Anti-Terrorism and crisis management programs to enhance training and readiness of Naval Security Force personnel to respond to and recover from real-world threats.
The scenarios under which Whiting Field will operate is pretty much a secret.
“We don’t discuss security statuses [and] procedures, just because you don’t want to release the ways you respond to things,” said Cope. “But also because we don’t want to release the objectives of the drills to the people who may have to respond to it.”
That said, Cope added that in general, these are anti-terror force protection exercises.
“Procedures where people are going to try to: intrude through the gates, active-shooter drills, improvised explosive devices,” Cope said. “If it’s something that’s been in a terrorist act or a security response for the military, it’s up for grabs for the type of response that we’re going to test.”
Measures are in place to minimize disruptions to normal operations, but there may be times when the exercises cause increased traffic around the base, diversions of normal traffic patterns, and delays in base access.
“These kinds of drills, these kinds of response can possibly close the gate for a while,” said Cope. “Can possibly involve more thorough checks at the gate, than what we do in a typical day.”
“Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield” has its roots in the 9/11 attacks.