Citadel Protect 2010 training reinforces force protection importance

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kristin L. Grover | Navy Public Affairs Element East | June 10, 2010

NORFOLK, Va. –The Navy continues to improve its force protection posture at home and overseas through series of training events, tabletop exercises, conferences and major exercises.

These efforts will culminate Oct. 12 - the 10-year anniversary of the attack on USS Cole (DDG 67) - with the Anti-Terrorism Flag Summit action plan led by Adm. J.C. Harvey Jr., commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command.

"We are committed to conducting training and exercises throughout the year to identify any gaps or seams in our force protection at home and overseas," said Capt. Sam McCormick, director for fleet antiterrorism at U.S. Fleet Forces Command. "We are working this issue all the way down to bare metal. It's across everything; it's manning, resourcing, technologies, command and control, policies and doctrine - the entire spectrum is being looked at."

One such event, held recently at Naval Station Norfolk, is Citadel Protect 2010 (CP10). CP10 is a U.S. Fleet Forces Command and Navy Installations Command-led training event designed to asses the Navy's capability to protect ships against various potential threats in Navy ports.

"This exercise was a tactical-level exercise specifically focused at testing our tactics, techniques and procedures at the waterfront scene," said McCormick.

The training presented Sailors with different scenarios, which required them to respond quickly and effectively. The use of realistic simulations and Hollywood-style special effects, including pyrotechnics, added to the authenticity of the training experience.

"The exercise was extremely beneficial," said Capt. Kelly M. Johnson, commander, Naval Station Norfolk. "Any time training is conducted using realistic scenarios, first responders learn to adapt and overcome in an ever-changing environment."

CP10 successfully determined the Navy's capabilities for identifying both strengths and weaknesses in ashore/afloat integration.

"Ultimately, prevention of future attacks will come down to the individual Sailor and their ability to recognize and respond to a threat.," said McCormick. "It is important that we make the training as realistic and authentic as possible."

"Having the opportunity to utilize learned skills and test reaction time not only benefits the Navy, but it also benefits individual Sailors," Johnson said. "They gain the confidence necessary to act in stressful situations."

Since the attack on Cole, the Navy is making significant strides in improving its force protection. The attack took place in a non-Navy port outside the U.S., making it slightly different than the scenarios presented during CP10. However, important lessons were learned from both situations.

Advanced training programs like CP10 help the Navy as it constantly strives to enhance its readiness, and the lessons learned will help shape future planning. This month, Harvey also hosted the annual Executive Agent for Antiterrorism Conference. The conference drew a cross-section of experts on security within the Navy. Teams were assigned to different portions of the findings from the various scenarios exercised throughout the year to collaborate and produce an action plan, which Harvey will brief to flag officers in October.

For more news from U.S. Fleet Forces Command, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/clf/.