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NAS Patuxent River conducts anti-terrorism drills

NAS Patuxent River, MD- The threat of terrorist attacks is an ongoing concern for members of the Armed Forces. To prepare for a possible attack, our troops conduct various exercises with real-life scenarios to make sure they’re ready to react.

That’s exactly what Naval Air Station Patuxent River has been doing for the past two weeks. Security forces have been conducting an exercise called Citadel Shield-Solid Curtain. It was being conducted at every Navy base in the continental United States.

The exercise is a two-part, linked anti-terrorism protection exercise designed to enhance the readiness of Navy Security Forces and to ensure interoperability among the commands, other services and agency partners.

“Some of the scenarios include active shooters, suspicious packages, bomb threats, and any other scenarios we could see happening in the real world,” explained Chief Master-at-Arms Alexander Europa, NAS Patuxent River Security Department. “It allows us to practice our preplanned responses to those events.”

While many of the exercises only involved security forces and emergency operation center (EOC), there are drills to integrate the entire base and all of the responders on base. Europa said, “We do use our mass communication system on base to let people know we’re doing a drill. We also encourage people to discuss and practice with their co-workers what they would do in a specific event.”

While there are standard operating procedures and responses to any given scenario, Europa said it’s not always that easy. “As this exercise is going on we’ve made the drills increasingly more complex to test our standards. We’ll change it up to make them think outside of the box.”

During the exercises, there is a training mode and evaluation mode. While in training mode, the exercise allows senior security personnel to have the ability to stop and refocus the response.

On Wednesday, Feb. 7, responders were being assessed by evaluators from Naval District Washington, during which the exercise was carried out without any time to stop and reevaluate.

These large-scale exercises are carried out every year but that is not the only time security forces will practice their responses. “Every month we’re exercising, especially with EOC because it’s not their primary duty—it’s a collateral duty. They only practice when we drill it,” Europa noted.

“The reason we’re doing all of this training and why it’s so important, it allows security forces, and the base as a whole, to work through our pre-planned responses and standard operating procedures to identify any issues that we may need to update due to new information and it also allows our other participants to become more proficient in their job,” Europa said.

Citadel Shield-Solid Curtain wraps up Feb. 9.

Contact Joy Shrum at j.shrum@thebaynet.com

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