US Military Bases Ramp Up Security Measures Amid Threats from Iran

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The main gate of Camp Pendleton, California, in a 2013 file photo. (Lenny Ignelzi/AP)
The main gate of Camp Pendleton, California, in a 2013 file photo. (Lenny Ignelzi/AP)

While Quantico, Fort Bragg, Fort Belvoir and Naval Base San Diego have tightened security since Iran's threats Friday, U.S. Northern Command has yet to publicly announce whether it will increase security nationwide.

Tensions between the United States and Iran have grown since the U.S. killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani on Jan. 2. Iran has vowed revenge for the death of the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force.

The Force Protection Condition system, or FPCON, includes five levels of specific security measures set by the commander after considering, among other things, the threat level and current events. It ranges from Normal to Delta, which is usually used in an area where a terrorist attack has occurred or when there's an "imminent" terrorist action against a person or location.

"While we will not discuss specifics, U.S. Northern Command is implementing additional force protection condition measures to increase security and awareness for all installations in the U.S. NORTHCOM area of responsibility," a NORTHCOM spokesman said via email. "This includes all installations and facilities in the United States, Canada and The Bahamas."

Individual bases, however, have announced specific enhanced security measures. Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia announced via its social media accounts that its law enforcement personnel would conduct 100% identification checks and increased vehicle inspections in light of the threat, warning personnel the added security would likely result in longer wait times and traffic lines.

Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the largest Army base on the East Coast, announced via social media that it was changing traffic patterns, requiring visitors and those bringing a guest to check in at the base visitors center for a pass before continuing onto the base.

Fort Belvoir, Virginia also announced a move to 100% ID checks Monday.

"Please be advised to plan for traffic delays and adjust arrival times accordingly," officials said in a social media post.

On the West Coast, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California also moved to full ID checks, as did Macdill Air Force Base in Florida, home of U.S. Central Command's headquarters.

The current FPCON level for all U.S. bases overall is Bravo, which is third on the FPCON list and is used when there is an increased or more predictable threat of terrorist activity. The threat level has been at Bravo since 2015.

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Though the Defense Department said the 2015 increase was not due to a specific threat, the level was raised around the time Islamic State-related threats were in the news.

Over the weekend, bases across Europe also announced enhanced security measures including 100% ID checks, resulting in traffic advisories via Facebook and Twitter.

"Due to recent world events, expect to see an increase in security measures at [U.S. Army Garrisons] Bavaria at Grafenwoehr, Netzaberg, Vilseck, Hohenfels and Garmisch," USAG Bavaria posted Saturday. "As a matter of force protection policy, we will not comment on the specific security measures. Though there are no known threats to U.S. personnel or assets, we ask for your cooperation."

The command further asked soldiers not to release operation details on social media and to remain vigilant on bases.

-- Dorothy Mills-Gregg can be reached at dorothy.mills-gregg@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @DMillsGregg.

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