Thursday, October 23, 2008

Integrated Antiterrorism Exercise Conducted in Norfolk

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman (SW) Shanika L. Futrell, Fleet Public Affairs Center Atlantic

NORFOLK (NNS) -- Commander Navy Installations Command (CNIC), in coordination with Naval Station (NAVSTA) Norfolk, took part in Citadel Protect '08, an antiterrorism (AT) ashore/afloat exercise, Oct. 15-16.

"We are protecting capital assets," said Capt. Kelly Johnson, NAVSTA Norfolk executive officer. "Training and getting our Navy ready for a realistic situation by performing various exercises definitely ties into the CNO's vision."

The exercise's concept of operations gave the training team a chance to eliminate the ashore/afloat team by achieving unity within the operational environment.

"This exercise is designed to look at the gaps that exist and try to eliminate them," said Steve Murley, CNIC trainer.

The exercise only focused on the first step to a threat. Units participating were guided-missile destroyers USS Gonzalez (DDG 66) and USS Bulkeley (DDG 84), and NAVSTA Norfolk installation security from the Sewells Point Police precinct.

The objective of the exercise was to assess AT Navy Mission Essential Tasks (NMETS), and a broad spectrum of primary capabilities such as force integration and safety, and to introduce the position of the antiterrorism tactical watch officer (ATTWO).

The ATTWO is the eyes and the voice which actively tells other posts what to do and how to react to a situation through different methods of communication.

"The ships and everyone who is involved have Blackberry phones, force protection radios or beepers, [providing] the ATTWO and others involved a direct line of communication so that we can together fight the battle for antiterrorism," said Lt.j.g. Shane Jester, Sewells Point Police precinct ATTWO.

"Although we are only doing the first stage, there will be more training to follow in the future. We have to take the process one step at a time so the Navy does not leave any gaps that will make us vulnerable."

This exercise was the first of its type, led by CNIC, held on Naval Station (NAVSTA) Norfolk.

"These exercises have been held overseas in Bahrain, but this is the first formalized integration between the waterfront and shore installation working together here at NAVSTA," said Cmdr. Rick Cheeseman, commanding officer of USS Bulkeley.