Pentagon Raises Force-Protection Level for U.S. Bases

WASHINGTON, Sept. 7, 2011 — Defense Sec­re­tary Leon E. Panet­ta has autho­rized rais­ing the force-pro­tec­tion lev­el for mil­i­tary instal­la­tions main­ly in the Unit­ed States, Pen­ta­gon Press Sec­re­tary George Lit­tle said today.

The com­man­der of U.S. North­ern Com­mand Com­man­der, Army Gen. Charles H. Jaco­by Jr., request­ed the action in recent days in advance of the 10th anniver­sary of the 2001 ter­ror­ist attacks on the U.S. home­land, he added.

Lit­tle said Panet­ta and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, reviewed the request.

“This is not in response to any spe­cif­ic or cred­i­ble threat sur­round­ing the 10th anniver­sary of 9/11,” Lit­tle told reporters, “but we believe it is pru­dent and pre­cau­tion­ary to take such a step.”

It’s no secret that al-Qai­da has focused on hol­i­days and mile­stone events in the past, Lit­tle added, not­ing that the 10th anniver­sary of 9/11 was men­tioned in doc­u­ments seized at the Abbot­tabad com­pound in Pak­istan where Osama bin Laden was killed in May.

Navy Capt. John Kir­by, direc­tor of media oper­a­tions, said the Defense Depart­ment does not dis­cuss spe­cif­ic force-pro­tec­tion lev­els but that the lev­el would be raised at instal­la­tions through­out the con­ti­nen­tal Unit­ed States, includ­ing the Pen­ta­gon.

The action, he said, “takes effect today and goes through the anniver­sary,” and it is in keep­ing with Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty Sec­re­tary Janet Napolitano’s Sept. 2 state­ment on the anniver­sary of the attacks.

“While there is no spe­cif­ic or cred­i­ble intel­li­gence that al-Qai­da or its affil­i­ates are plot­ting attacks in the Unit­ed States to coin­cide with the 10-year anniver­sary of 9/11,” Napoli­tano said, “we remain at a height­ened state of vig­i­lance, and secu­ri­ty mea­sures are in place to detect and pre­vent plots against the Unit­ed States, should they emerge.”

The four lev­els of force pro­tec­tion applied to every Amer­i­can mil­i­tary instal­la­tion are alpha, bra­vo, char­lie and delta, accord­ing to North­com.

Alpha is the low­est lev­el and Delta is the high­est.

North­com sets the min­i­mum force-pro­tec­tion con­di­tion lev­el for instal­la­tions in the con­ti­nen­tal Unit­ed States because it is the uni­fied com­bat­ant com­mand whose geo­graph­ic area of respon­si­bil­i­ty is North Amer­i­ca.

Oth­er com­bat­ant com­mands, such as U.S. Euro­pean Com­mand, set force pro­tec­tion con­di­tion lev­els for Amer­i­can mil­i­tary instal­la­tions in their areas of respon­si­bil­i­ty.

Indi­vid­ual facil­i­ty and instal­la­tion com­man­ders can increase local force pro­tec­tion lev­els but must adhere at least to the min­i­mum lev­el set by North­com.

The raised force pro­tec­tion lev­el, Lit­tle said, “is a reflec­tion of al Qaida’s con­tin­ued inter­est in mile­stone and anniver­sary events, and is pru­dent.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)