Starting this week, Sailors and Marines from coast to coast will spend half the month engaged in response training to stop active shooters and potential terrorists in their tracks.
The exercise, Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield 2016 (SC/CS16), will run through Feb. 12 and will test base police, fire and emergency management on how they respond to threats of active shooters and potential terrorists including role-playing on installation buildings with safe or simulated weapons to get a grip on how a more serious event could take place.
Navy officials cite past instances of attacks on installations stateside as a guide on what to be prepared for.
Last July, a terror attack by a gunman at two Navy installations in Chattanooga, Tennessee left four Marines and one Navy Sailor dead and an additional Marine and police officer wounded.
“Recent active shooter events that we’ve had in the United States had some influence increasing the type of training for these exercises,” said Captain Mike Steffen, the commanding officer of Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, one of the several bases who have announced they will be conducting the training.
Combined with an intense focus on tactics and movement, new equipment is seeing use.
At Naval Air Station Jacksonville, 20 “stress vests” that simulate the feeling of a gunshot impact on the wearer are being fielded to give first responders a little added sensation to their drills.
“It takes your abdominal muscles because the sensor is across your abdomen and it causes that muscle to singe on you,” said Jim Butters, the Training and Mission Readiness Officer at NAS Jax. “There are six levels depending on your training.”
Other drills have been reported at NAS Kingsville near Corpus Christi, Texas and Naval Support Activity Panama City, Florida though they will be taking place on all bases throughout the continental U.S. as noted by the Navy Installations Command.
The exercise comes after news the Air Force will allow more guns on base to counter active shooters using three programs as allowed under greater flexibility for base commanders under the most recent National Defense Authorization Act signed into law last November.