Naval Air Stations Pensacola and Whiting Field, Corry Station and Saufley Field are taking part in the annual “Exercise Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield 2014,” which kicked off Tuesday morning and runs through February 28th.
Harry White, the public information officer aboard NAS Pensacola, says it’s a force protection exercise aimed at enhancing the training and readiness of Navy security personnel, conducted at every naval installation in the continental United States.
“We will be communicating on a regular basis with Navy Regions Southeast, with the Navy Installations Command, and gaining guidance and providing feedback as to what we’re doing,” said White.
The drill involves a pair of scenarios, each with a distinct focus. They stress different areas of the Navy’s anti-terrorism and crisis management programs, while establishing a setting to go through functional plans and operational capabilities in dealing with real-world threats.
The first deals with the entrances to the base, checking IDs for every person coming through the gates. The other scenario is designed to work on anti-terrorism measures.
Navy officials are quick to point out that the drills are not being held in response to any specific threat.
As is the case each year, the Citadel Shield exercises will impact traffic patterns aboard the base. The attractions aboard NAS Pensacola – including the Aviation Museum and Lighthouse – will be open as usual during the ten-day drill. And Spokesman Harry White has a message for visitors – they will be entering a secure environment.“
It’s not just ride up and roll through,” said White. “They will need their personal identification, vehicle registration; they should have vehicle insurance forms so they have at least three forms of identification.”
After the exercises end on the 28th, the Navy will conduct extensive after-action reporting – including lessons learned. In the case of NAS Pensacola and Whiting Field, Corry Station and Saufley Field, the reports will go to Navy Region Southeast; up to the Navy Installations Command, then to Fleet Forces Command. Feedback will then be sent to the bases.
While budget cuts limited activities during last year’s Solid Curtain, Navy officials say local Citadel Shield events moved forward and were done very well. This year, full funding ensures a full exercise.