July 22, 2024

Citadel Shield-Solid Curtain Feb. 6-17 at Pax

Citadel Shield

NAS Patuxent River is preparing for the Navywide Citadel Shield-Solid Curtain. The service’s annual anti-terrorism, force protection exercise will take place from February 6-17.

CSSC uses realistic drills and scenarios to enhance the readiness of Navy security forces and ensure seamless interoperability among the commands, other services, and agency partners.

“The exercise, which plays out over a two-week period, tests our Emergency Training Plan and pre-planned responses, and it’s a continuation of training for our security forces,” said Matt Nalley, Pax River’s installation training officer. “It allows us to evaluate whether we have the correct procedures in place in the event of an emergency situation; and any drills involving an integrated response will show how well departments such as security, fire, emergency management, and public works communicate and work with each other.”

Week one’s Citadel Shield focuses on installation-level training, and all scenarios will occur entirely within the Pax River fence line. In the past, those scenarios have included active shooter, hostage situation, gate runner, unmanned aerial surveillance, mass shooting, protesters at the gate, suspicious package, and release of a biological weapon, among others.

In addition to hearing sirens or seeing emergency vehicles on the road responding to drills in progress, Pax personnel can expect to receive advance emergency response notifications multiple times over a number of days and might, at times, be inconvenienced.

“We do our best to minimize disruption, but personnel might experience gate delays or temporary changes in traffic or parking patterns as the different scenarios play out,” Mr. Nalley noted.

The Solid Curtain portion, occurring during the second week, is a national-level exercise centered on command, control, and communications between all echelons Navy wide where everything that happens at one installation affects every other installation, even if only in a minor way.

For instance, if leadership – US Northern Command, US Fleet Forces Command, or Commander, Navy Installations Command – sees trends or incidents going on in one or more areas that they feel may also impact a different area, they can selectively put installations, regions or the entire NORTHCOM area of responsibility into a heightened force protection condition.

“That might again prompt further delays, closures, and emergency notifications at Pax,” Mr. Nalley said. “We ask people for their patience and remind them that the ultimate purpose of these training exercises is to ensure the protection of those who work and live onboard the installation.”

NAS Pax River leadership is especially aware of base impacts after last year’s CS/SC exercise.

“While there were inconveniences, we learned some valuable lessons during last year’s exercise, particularly about traffic flow off base in an emergency,” Mr. Nalley said. “We are committed to the philosophy of ‘train like you fight,’ so we’ll be exercising that scenario again with additional information regarding base evacuation zones to ease the flow of traffic off base.”

Personnel are encouraged to check notifications posted on the NAS Facebook page and Twitter @NASPaxRiverPAO.

This article by Chief Petty Officer Patrick Gordon was provided by dvidshub.net.

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