NAS PENSACOLA, Fla. – Navy Security Forces aboard Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola began a force protection exercise this week designed to enhance the readiness of personnel and ensure seamless interoperability among commands, other services and agency partners.
The exercise, Citadel Shield-Solid Curtain is conducted annually by Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command and Commander, Navy Installations Command on all Navy installations in the continental U.S.
“Our number one responsibility is to ensure the safety and security of our personnel, equipment and installation,” said Capt. Tim Kinsella, commanding officer, NAS Pensacola. “This exercise allows us to test our security protocols and work together as partners with our local law enforcement.”
Citadel Shield-Solid Curtain 2020 is not conducted in response to any specific threat – the annual training evolution, which has been planned and conducted since 2007, allows personnel to participate in realistic scenarios and maintain a high level of readiness in response to changing and dynamic threats.
“The last incident [terrorist attack] that occurred on the installation, although tragic, went as well as could be expected because of the numerous times our command had exercised a similar situation,” said Burt Fenters, NAS Pensacola’s emergency manager. “It’s similar to shipboard exercises intended to be exercised frequently so if the situation occurs, muscle memory and some sort of general familiarity is present.”
Citadel Shield-Solid Curtain tests information dissemination, individual response plans, security force response, and the Navy’s ability to coordinate with local emergency responders and the community.
“We are exercising our security, fire and [Emergency Operations Center] teams,” Fenters said.
Additionally, the exercise cultivates a learning environment for security personnel to exercise functional plans and operational capabilities.
During the exercise Feb. 4, Navy Security Forces (NSF) responded to a simulated suspicious package scenario aboard the installation.
“The drill consisted of a report of a backpack with a box in it that was left down by the Bayou Grande Marina,” said Trent Hathaway, NAS Pensacola’s installation training officer. “With that report, a patrol was dispatched. The officer considered it a suspicious package and NSF set up a perimeter.”
Hathaway added that this exercise gives Navy Security Forces a hands-on opportunity to execute what their procedures are and identify procedures they may need additional training on.
Citadel Shield-Solid Curtain 2020 will run through Feb. 14. The exercise will have minimal impact on normal base operations.