Our capstone ATFP exercise of the year – SOLID CURTAIN-CITADEL SHIELD 2012 (SC-CS12) – is scheduled for the week of 19-24 March. SC-CS12 is an annual training exercise that affects every Navy installation, unit, and activity across the Continental United States. SOLID CURTAIN is a Command Post Exercise (CPX) conducted at the operational level exercising Navy Force Protection command and control, CITADEL SHIELD is a Field Training Exercise (FTX) conducted at the tactical level that exercises ATFP tactics, techniques, and procedures. These exercises have become a very important part of our ATFP program because they provide us with critical data on our ability to respond to real-world events and carry out our assigned ATFP missions.
With the exercise just over two weeks away, I want to provide some final thoughts about my expectations for planning and execution.
First, in order to be effective and get the most out of this exercise, we need maximum participation from every command. During SC-CS11 (last year) we elevated security conditions to a point that should have prompted commanders to execute Mission Essential Personnel (MEP) plans, but very few across the nation actually took this step. This low rate of participation works against the intent of the exercise and prevents us from accurately simulating the conditions that would be present and operating during a real-world threat. Every commander, commanding officer, and officer-in-charge should follow this exercise very closely and comply with every effort to test our MEP plans this year. Participation in this exercise is not optional!
Second, now is the time to plan. By now, everyone who works on a military installation should be aware of the schedule of SC-CS12 and the specific impact(s) it will have on your work routine. Although we have taken steps to minimize disruptions to normal operations as much as possible, there will very likely be an increase in traffic delays around our bases and significant time delays getting on/off bases. These delays will be most prevalent in areas of the nation where we have a larger concentration of forces, such as our Fleet Concentration Areas (e.g. Hampton Roads, San Diego, and Mayport). If you are not considered mission essential then I strongly urge you to get with your chain-of-command and determine your work options (remote work, modified alternative work schedule, annual leave, etc) during the periods of elevated security conditions. Installation leaders should also be reaching out now to their civic partners (Mayors, School Administrators, etc) to help them account for the increased security measures that will affect all the people living, working and traveling on and near our bases.
Finally, as is the case with every exercise we conduct, we must make full use of this opportunity to identify our operational gaps and seams and learn how we can improve. ATFP is not a mission with a defined start and end point – there is no time in which we can throw our arms in the air and declare “victory.” The threat is always there, and it is persistent and ever-changing. As I said in my ATFP SERIAL, “Every day our enemy is watching us, at home and abroad, looking for weaknesses to exploit. Only through constant vigilance, individual initiative, and constant self-evaluation, will we successfully deter, disrupt or defeat his plans of attack.” Get ready and stay prepared.
All the best, JCHjr