NOVEMBER 16, 2016, NAS SIGONELLA, Sicily (NNS) – On Nov. 8-10, departments from across Naval Air Station (NAS) Sigonella came together as an integrated force to respond to several simulated emergencies during an Integrated Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection (AT/FP) exercise, FPCON EX 2016.
The exercise is designed to test the interoperability and response capabilities of the Fire Department, Security, Military Working Dogs (MWR), Carabinieri, Italian Air Force (ITAF) Security and Medical, Italian Fire Department, Safety, Emergency Operations Center personnel and U.S. Naval Hospital Sigonella in the event of coordinated attacks on the installation.
Opposing Forces simultaneously detonated a VBIED (vehicle-borne improvised explosive device) at the NAS 1 main gate while an active shooter fired on personnel in the NAS 2 Security building. The Force Protection Condition (FPCON) was elevated to FPCON Delta, prompting lockdown procedures to be initiated at NAS 1, NAS 2 and Marinai Housing, the implementation of a Mission Essential Personnel (MEP) barrier plan, and the activation of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC). ASF was activated and a modified NSF watch bill was executed to maintain FPCON Charlie for 68+ hours.
The exercise was conducted safely, without casualty and provided valuable training and coordination of forces. The objectives of trainings such as these are to test the coordination and response capabilities of NASSIG Security Forces, the EOC, Fire and Emergency Services, U.S. Naval Hospital Sigonella, NAVFAC, FLC, ITAF, Carabinieri, and host nation agencies.
“We plan, brief, execute and debrief these exercises routinely to test our first responders, security forces, medical and emergency operations personnel’s ability to respond to and recover from potential attacks which threaten to interrupt our operations,” said Chris “Frog” Steinnecker, the Installation Training Officer for NAS Sigonella. “We have to flex that muscle to ensure that if an event like this does happen, we could respond effectively.”
The FPCON EX is a lead-in to an evaluation of the installation’s security forces next July.
“The FPCON EX introduced a number of variables that we don’t have a chance to normally exercise concurrently, and it wouldn’t have been nearly the success it was without the significant role that our Italian counterparts with the Italian Air Force played this year,” said Niki McBain, Emergency Management Officer. “Working together with our colleagues from across the base as well as with our first responders in town provides us the confidence that during a real event the entire Sigonella community will be ready to respond.”
Naval Air Station Sigonella: “The Hub of the Med,” is a U.S. Navy installation and an Italian Air Force base in Sicily, Italy. Just as a ship performs lines of operation that provide a capability, Navy Region EURAFSWA bases perform the same eight lines of operation to provide capability to the fleet, joint and allied forces. These eight lines of operation are: air operations, port operations, safety, security, housing, MWR, Fleet and Fleet and Family Services and what is called the core: the fuels, water and power that keep the bases running. Through our lines of operation, our installations are force multipliers that maximize combat capability of operational units.
By Nicole Ybarra, Commander, Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia Public Affairs