Friday, February 20, 2009

U.S. Fleet Forces to Commence Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield '09

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Jerry Foltz, U.S. Fleet Forces Public Affairs

New Orleans, La. - Aviation Machinist's Mate 2nd Class Mario Orr, an Auxiliary Security Forces Patrolman directs Master-at-Arms 3rd Class Ronald Norris to place the security barricade at the entrance to the Child Development Center as Master-at-Arms Chris Simmons looks on during Exercise Solid Curtain. Solid Curtain is a Navy wide exercise that tests the Anti Terrorism Force Protection readiness of each installation. U.S. Navy photo by Sam Shore (RELEASED)

NORFOLK (NNS) -- Navy shore installations and activities inside the continental United States will participate in Exercise Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield '09 (SC/CS-09), an annual training exercise coordinated by U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFF) Feb. 23-27.

The weeklong security evolution is designed to enhance the training and readiness of Naval Security Force personnel to respond to threats to installations and units, using all processes security forces would implement in the event of an actual emergency.

"It is the largest anti-terrorism/force protection (AT/FP) exercise conducted by any service in the DoD," said Capt. Sam A. McCormick, USFF director for fleet anti-terrorism. "This exercise is very important to maintaining our edge."

As the Navy component for U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM), USFF will also use SC/CS 09 to enhance their ability to support NORTHCOM's Homeland Defense mission.

"Solid Curtain is mainly an operational level training event, while Citadel Shield, [conducted] by Commander Naval Installation Command (CNIC), will provide advance guidance for personnel involved with the individual field training exercises," said McCormick.

SC/CS-09 will consist of more than 100 simultaneous field training exercise attacks across the country, each designed to test different regional AT/FP operations. Scenarios range from low-key events, such as recognizing and countering base surveillance operations, to higher-tempo and active simulated emergencies such as small boat attacks on waterfront bases and cyber attacks on installations.

"Information superiority leads to decision making superiority," said McCormick. "Newer technologies like our real-time network interface, the C4I (Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence) Portal, are effective tools that we can use to coordinate and initiate responses."

The C4I Portal, along with message traffic, teleconferencing centers and e-mail, will provide commands situational awareness and a common operating picture between regions. Events taking place in one region can be instantly viewed by other region commands, giving them an edge in coordinating an effective reaction.

While disruptions to normal base and station operations will be limited, there may be times when the exercise may cause increased traffic or delays in base access. Area residents may also see increased security activity associated with the exercise.

"We will be trying to de-conflict these as much as possible," said McCormick. "We have the largest base installation here at Naval Station Norfolk, with billions of dollars worth of assets on the waterfront to protect. We don't plan on closing down any base facilities, but Sailors and family members may need to factor in extra time," added McCormick.

This year's event will focus on safety while not surrendering the element of surprise. Exercises are planned to decrease the likelihood of accidental injuries.

"Safety is the number one priority of this exercise," said McCormick. "All regional and installation training teams will have safety observers on hand. Anyone can stop an event right as it is happening if they notice an unsafe condition or practice. The situation can then be evaluated and determined if the exercise can be continued or not."

During the exercise, assessors will be collecting information and relaying that data to decision makers to improve on AT/FP practices and procedures in the future.

"We will have them here on the battle watch floor and threat working groups, to look for any inconsistencies in the reporting processes and procedures," said McCormick.

"I would much rather find that out in a training environment in a realistic scenario than an actual event."

Although the main thrust of the evolution will be to evaluate command responses, the exercise will also validate that security folks are up for the challenge.

"I am really looking forward to a good exercise this year," said McCormick.