Flashpoints

NORTHCOM increases base force protection measures in wake of 2 deadly base shootings

U.S. Northern Command says it has increased security measures at its installations following the deadly shootings aboard Pensacola Naval Air Station, Florida, and Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, Hawaii.

In an emailed statement to Military Times, NORTHCOM said it has directed its facilities and units “to immediately assess force protection measures and implement increased random security measures appropriate for their facilities.”

“The advisory also told leaders to remind their workforce to remain alert and if they see something, to say something by immediately reporting to appropriate authorities any suspicious activity they may observe,” Lt. Cmdr. Mike Hatfield, a spokesman for NORTHCOM, told Military Times.

A Saudi Arabian military student shot and killed three and injured eight more with a handgun Friday before being killed by sheriff’s officers, Navy and local law enforcement officials told Navy Times Friday.

Escambia County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office said Friday during a press conference that two officers were wounded: One shot in the knee and the other in the arm. Both are expected to recover.

Friday’s attack at Pensacola followed a shooting spree Wednesday at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, Hawaii, where a sailor shot and killed two Department of Defense shipyard workers. The gunman was identified by Pentagon officials as Machinist’s Mate Auxiliary Fireman Gabriel Antonio Romero Friday.

Romero took his own life during the incident.

Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott called for a review Friday of U.S. military programs that train foreign nationals following the deadly shooting.

“I’m extremely concerned by reports that this shooter was a foreign national training on a U.S. military base in Florida,” Scott said in a statement released Friday.

“Today, I’m calling for a full review of the U.S. military programs to train foreign nationals on American soil. There is no reason we should be providing state-of-the-art military training to people who wish us harm,” Scott said in the statement.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said Friday he was “considering several steps to ensure the security of our military installations and the safety of our service members and their families.”

The DoD has five force protection conditions, or FPCON, for its installations that are set based on potential threats in area. As the threat goes up, so does the FPCON.

The current baseline FPCON, which has been in place for several years, is set at Bravo, “which applies when an increased or more predictable threat of terrorist activity exists,” Hatfield said.

NORTHCOM has not directed its facilities to increase its force protection from Bravo to Charlie. But “local installation commanders and facility directors have the flexibility to determine the specific threat in their local area and add further countermeasures as needed,” Hatfield said.

NORTHCOM would not detail what force protection measures are taken at each level due to operational security concerns.

“However, local installation commanders and facility directors have the flexibility to determine the specific threat in their local area and add further countermeasures as needed while maintaining the minimum baseline set by U.S. Northern Command,” Hatfield explained.

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