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DOD Force Protection Conditions employed to protect people, assets

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The Force Protection Conditions system has been approved by the Department of Defense to standardize the identification and recommended preventive actions and responses to terrorist threats against United States personnel and facilities.

This system provides the framework for a commander to apply an operational decision about how best to protect against terrorism. It also facilitates interservice coordination and support for antiterrorism activities.

The implementation of FPCON measures does not come without adverse effects to day-to-day operations. The additional costs can be measured and described both quantitatively and qualitatively.

The DOD FPCON system acknowledges cost as a significant factor bearing on the selection and maintenance of FPCON measures. FPCONs Alpha and Bravo include measures that can be sustained for extended periods, consistent with the terrorist threat. Upon declaration of an increased or decreased FPCON, immediate dissemination to all units, organizations, and tenants is a must. All means of communication must be used to communicate the upgrade or downgrade of a declared FPCON.

Strict adherence to FPCON measures is required. A terrorist attack can take place at any time. The greater the perceived threat based on the intelligence received, the higher the awareness needs to be to prevent the loss of life.

Becoming complacent in the measures being taken may provide an opportunity for a terrorist to strike. Additional measures randomly implemented around base increases our posture and help to prevent incidents from occurring. The costs Team Edwards must pay include delays entering the installation and its facilities and parking problems because of increased standoff distances around facilities. These issues are felt by all, but that cost of inconvenience is far outweighed by the potential cost of losing a building or people to a terrorist attack.

This is a military installation, and to work and or live on it, some sacrifices need to be made for the security of the installation and the protection of its population.

Following is a list of the standardized definitions of each FPCON:

FPCON Normal - This condition applies when a general global threat of possible terrorist activity exists and warrants a routine security posture. At a minimum, access control will be conducted at all DOD installations and facilities.

FPCON Alpha - (AF Modified) This applies when there is an increased general threat of possible terrorist activity against personnel or facilities, the nature and extent of which are unpredictable, and circumstances do not justify full implementation of FPCON Bravo measures. However, it may be necessary to implement certain measures from higher FPCONs as an additional deterrent or resulting from intelligence received. The measures in this FPCON must be capable of being maintained indefinitely.

FPCON Bravo - This applies when an increased or more predictable threat of terrorist activity exists. Sustaining Bravo measures for a prolonged period may affect operational capability and relationships with local authorities.

FPCON Charlie - This applies when an incident occurs or intelligence is received indicating that some form of terrorist action or targeting against personnel or facilities is likely. Prolonged implementation of Charlie measures may create hardship and affect the activities of the unit and its personnel.

FPCON Delta - This applies in the immediate area where a terrorist attack has occurred or when intelligence has been received that terrorist action against a specific location or person is imminent. FPCON Delta is usually declared as a localized condition. FPCON Delta measures are not intended to be sustained for an extended duration.