February 15, 2019 – The US Navy’s largest annual force protection exercise, which included a real-world response, concluded Feb. 15.
During Exercise Citadel Shield-Solid Curtain 2019, all Navy installations in the continental United States used realistic training scenarios to ensure Navy security forces maintain a high level of readiness to respond to changing and dynamic threats. In Texas, those scenarios turned from training to reality.
At Naval Air Station (NAS) Corpus Christi, Navy security forces personnel responded to a vehicle that unlawfully entered the base Feb. 14; installation security personnel were already in an increased security posture. Personnel opened fire after the driver crashed his vehicle into a barrier and charged the personnel who were not injured during the incident. Emergency services pronounced the suspect deceased on the scene.
In addition to Exercise Citadel Shield-Solid Curtain testing installations’ readiness, the annual two-week force protection and anti-terrorism exercise also ensured seamless interoperability among Navy commands, other services and agency partners.
“We train as a team with local authorities to rapidly identify and respond to existing and emerging threats to our Navy installations, units, Sailors, our civilian shipmates and families,” said Adm. Christopher Grady, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFFC). USFFC co-leads the command post exercise with Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC), which leads the field training exercise Citadel Shield.
In Maryland, Naval Support Activity (NSA) Annapolis partnered with Anne Arundel County, the City of Annapolis, Anne Arundel Medical Center and Baltimore Washington Medical Center to conduct an active shooter and mass casualty exercise on base Feb. 6. Navy security forces apprehended volunteers playing the role of active shooters. More than 40 additional volunteers playing wounded victims were transported to Anne Arundel Medical Center and Baltimore-Washington Medical Center. The volunteers playing victims were treated for their injuries by local emergency services.
“This yearly exercise has been enhanced to support all of the community emergency management entities and to also include Baltimore Washington Hospital Center, and has grown to be a very large exercise event within our community,” said Patty Sherman, Anne Arundel Medical Center emergency manager who added the medical center has collaborated with NSA Annapolis for the mass casualty exercise for more than 10 years. “As a community hospital, we are extremely grateful to the Navy for allowing us to expand and improve upon our policies and procedures in order to provide stabilization and care for potential victims of mass casualty events.”
Measures were taken to minimize disruptions within local communities and to normal base operations during the exercise.
“We have to train like we fight. It’s important for our security forces to have this opportunity to run through the drills and exercise their skills in a realistic scenario,” said Capt. Michael Wathen, NSA Mid-South’s commander. “I recognize that the exercise can cause delays for folks throughout the two weeks, but these exercises are vital to our ability to defend our installation.”
The annual exercise is not in response to any specific threat.
“Our Navy installations are key enablers that directly support warfighting capabilities and readiness,” said Tim Alexander, director of operations for CNIC. “Exercises such as Citadel Shield-Solid Curtain allow our regions, bases and tenant commands to hone our force protection skills.”