Gunfighters conducted a Force Protection exercise July 16-23 to strengthen the base’s abilities to respond to security threats.
Force Protection Condition (FPCON) is a system military installations use to dictate levels of security based off any threats to its assets or personnel. In order to ensure the system works properly, the 366th Fighter Wing’s Inspector General office organizes FPCON exercises to keep base personnel educated on procedures and ready to respond to threats.
“The Inspector General’s side of this is to develop the exercise, build the walls of the exercise with scenarios that can test the wing’s capabilities against foreign adversaries or terrorist attacks,” said Master Sgt. Brian Provenzano, IG Inspections Office.
Provenzano continued to say that they build their data off previous exercises using other reports and rely on experts within the wing.
There are five FPCON levels, each representing the severity or imminence of a threat. FPCON NORMAL is the lowest level on the scale, progressing through ALPHA, BRAVO, CHARLIE, and finally DELTA being the most severe.
“There are a lot of things that could increase our force protection conditions and would stem from information or [intelligence] that’s received through the Air Force Office of Special Investigations or [intelligence] sources from FBI, Department of Homeland Security or multiple other places,” said Master Sgt. Jonathan Krueger, 366th Fighter Wing exercise planner. “Even higher headquarters like [Air Combat Command] could dictate if and when we increase our force protection condition in order to protect the base better.”
Reasons for FPCON changes could range from a suspicious phone call to an unclaimed package sitting in a public area which could potentially contain an explosive device. Base personnel are always alert to keeping an eye out for suspicious activity, but the agency with the largest role in base security is the 366th Security Forces Squadron.
“Security Forces has a lot of roles within these scenarios,” Krueger said. “Their roles start from the perimeter and work their way in to the resource itself. From the airman at the gate, to the patrols on the roads to the patrols within the restricted areas, they all have a critical role in the exercise.”
Based on the results of this exercise, the IG office will review their observations and provide recommended security measures to the wing commander to continually enhance the operational effectiveness.