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NSAB Conducts Security Training as Part of Navy-wide Exercise

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS160205-14
Release Date: 2/5/2016 3:22:00 PM

By Andrew Damstedt, Naval Support Activity Bethesda Public Affairs

BETHESDA, Md. (NNS) -- Sailors aboard Naval Support Activity Bethesda (NSAB) might notice an increase in security training there, as the installation participates in the Navy-wide Exercise Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield 2016, during the first two weeks of February.

Since Feb. 1, NSAB personnel have experienced various security threats at the installation, designed to train Navy personnel on how best to respond in times of crisis.

'The majority of the training is for security personnel,' said Master-at-Arms 1st Class Jonathan Cales, leading petty officer of NSAB's Security Training Department. 'But that doesn't mean that the installation as a whole doesn't get training out of it.'

One of the scenarios could be a false credentialing incident at a gate, he said, so people who happen to be there when it happens will see how security responds.

'People are going to see what the steps are, what we do to deter that sort of behavior,' Cales said.

There will be active shooter drills during this two-week exercise as well, which will be all-hands training where everyone in the building will be instructed to shelter in place. Announcements will be sent via Everbridge mass notifications and over the base's loudspeakers telling everyone that an active shooter exercise is occurring.

An active shooter event is one of the biggest threats facing Navy installations today, Cales said.

In 2013, 12 people were fatally shot at the Washington Navy Yard. There have been reports of suspected active shooters on several installations, with one reported on NSAB July 6 that put the base on lockdown.

Cales said his department conducts active shooting training at various commands frequently, but said actually experiencing an exercise is beneficial.

'To actually conduct an exercise where there is an active shooter and you are sheltering in place and people are evacuating a building - it's that mind-muscle connection,' Cales said. 'It's that muscle memory so if it were to happen, you know that when we practiced, this is what we did.'

Experiencing the exercise will enable everyone on base to learn how to respond in a real-life event.

'A lot of people have one route that they take every day to get to work,' Cales said. 'There may come a time during Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield that they're not going to be able to take that route to work, so they'll have to find another entry control point to come on base.'

The NSAB security team executes drills every month, but the difference with Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield is that it happens Navy-wide for two weeks.

This annual exercise consists of 300 field-training exercise events on and off Navy installations across the country, which helps assess law enforcement response to attacks both on installations and at soft targets off-installation, according to Navy Installations Command and U.S. Fleet Command Public Affairs.

Safety observers wearing green vests will be at each training site and can answer questions about what's happening.

'The safety observer will more than likely just let them know that we're conducting an exercise, there's no reason to be alarmed, and they're free to carry on with their day,' Cales said.

As with any security threat, the exercises may create detours or unexpected changes in the working day for those in the affected areas.

'Most of the (events) should not impact operations for the base - at least not on a large scale - the base isn't just going to get shut down one day out of the blue like that,' he said. 'If there is an exercise going on at an entry control point, it might take a little bit longer to get through.'

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