By Luciano Vera
U.S. Northern Command, NORTHCOM, elevated the force protection, FPCON, level for all Department of Defense installations, camps and posts in the continental United States on May 8.
The FPCON level was raised from Alpha to Bravo in response to various threats and not any specific threat. Bravo applies when an increased or more predictable threat of terrorist activity exists.
“I won’t go into the specifics of what that means because it is information that a potential adversary could use against us,” said Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren in a DoD News article.
“Force protection is a way for us to ensure that we safeguard our most critical asset, people,” said
Jim Sykes, USAG WSMR Anti-Terrorism Officer. “If there is credible information or an event that has occurred at WSMR, the senior Commander, Brig. Gen. Timothy Coffin, can elevate our status to a higher FPCON.”
According to a DoD News article the NORTHCOM Commander last raised the FPCON level from Alpha to Bravo in 2011 in preparation for the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
Most WSMR personnel will not see delays at the gates under FPCON Bravo but random security measures have been implemented.
“As the police and guards increase vigilance there may be occasional delays if the security forces find something suspicious or authorizations requiring further investigation. The community needs to give themselves 10-15 minutes extra time in coming through the access control points,” said Wayne Cates, Chief of Police.
“You may also see identification checks at WSMR facilities to include the Commissary and Post Exchange and vehicles will not be allowed to park next to buildings,” Sykes said.
According to NORTHCOM each specific FPCON has actions that are taken to respond to various threats. Due to operational security reasons a specific list of actions for each level is not releasable but a description if each level is below:
FPCON NORMAL: Applies when a general global threat of possible terrorist activity exists and warrants a routine security posture.
FPCON ALPHA: Applies when there is an increased general threat of possible terrorist activity against personnel or facilities, and the nature and extent of the threat are unpredictable.
FPCON BRAVO: Applies when an increased or more predictable threat of terrorist activity exists.
FPCON CHARLIE: Applies when an incident occurs or intelligence is received indicating some form of terrorist action or targeting against personnel or facilities is likely.
FPCON DELTA: Applies in the immediate area where a terrorist attack has occurred or when intelligence has been received that terrorist action against a specific location or person is imminent.
NORTHCOM also says the potential for another attack is always possible and implementing random force protection measures is one way to minimize the likelihood of an attack on an installation or service members.
The WSMR community is encouraged to report any suspicious activity to the W