by Julian Santistevan
99th Air Base Wing Antiterrorism Office
9/25/2009 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- Ever wonder why there's an unusual slowdown at the gate or you suddenly find yourself challenged upon entering a workplace or other facility for the umpteenth time? Chances are the delay is the direct result of security measure changes directed due to a change in the base's Force Protection Condition. The Department of Defense uses FPCONS to identify and recommend preventive actions and responses to threats against personnel and facilities.
"Broken down into five progressive levels, the FPCON system allows commanders to quickly provide increased protective measures to counter terrorism and other threats," said Dan Owens, director of 99th Air Base Wing Plans and Programs. "FPCON level changes are quickly posted and relayed throughout Nellis and Creech Air Force Bases. But, due to security, specific measures being taken are not discussed. By understanding the different levels, Airmen and their families can better prepare themselves for changes."
The following is a brief description of each FPCON level:
FPCON NORMAL: 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 military installations and facilities.
FPCON ALPHA: Applies when there is an increased general threat of possible terrorist activity against personnel or facilities, the nature and extent of which are unpredictable. The increased measures during FPCON Alpha must be capable of being maintained indefinitely.
FPCON BRAVO: Applies when an increased or more predictable threat of terrorist activity exists. Sustaining FPCON Bravo measures for a prolonged period may affect operational capability and military-civil relationships with local authorities.
FPCON CHARLIE: 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 FPCON Charlie measures may create hardship and affect the activities of the unit and its personnel.
FPCON DELTA: 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 and is not intended to be sustained for an extended duration.