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U.S. Navy Support Facility Diego Garcia finished a four-day drill for Exercise Citadel Pacific 2020 (CP-20) Aug. 27, 2020.
CP-20 is an anti-terrorism/force protection exercise to enhance the training and readiness of Navy security personnel and better prepare Department of the Navy (DON) personnel for potential force protection situations.
Citadel Pacific establishes a learning environment for security personnel to exercise functional plans and operational capabilities.
“The safety and security of the military and civilians who live and work on the island is my number one priority,” said Capt. R. Wade Blizzard, the commanding officer of NSF Diego Garcia. “Our people are our most important asset as we enable warfighting and support the warfighter. Exercises like Citadel Pacific enable us to be READY TO FIGHT TONIGHT.”
Each evolution of the drill on Diego Garcia was monitored by the Installation Training Team. The ITT members were identified by their red ball caps. They recorded what each member of the Emergency Operations Center did during the drill to provide feedback and report their findings to the Regional Operations Center. After the conclusion of each training day, they briefed the drill participants about what they did correct and what areas they can improve upon.
On day one of the table-top exercise, NSF DG simulated a drone fly over of the island. Base personnel manned the EOC and responded to the threat.
“For exercise Citadel Pacific 2020, we decided to run table-top exercises instead of field training exercises,” said Lt. Cmdr. Erin Sherry, the executive officer of NSF Diego Garcia. “Table-top exercises are much more complicated to execute because there’s always a desire to actually go through a full response. In a table-top drill, participants need to simulate some of the actions they would normally take. I believe table-top exercises are invaluable because it forces participants to evaluate their own preparedness while informing them of the requirements needed to respond to an emergency.”
Day two of the drill was an active shooter and hostage scenario. Security Forces simulated a quick response and suspect apprehension.
“We talk about active shooter and hostage situations and what that looks like,” said Chief Master-at-Arms Jason Falls, the Antiterrorism Training Team leader. “The EOC is the communication piece. There’s a lot of information that has to go back and forth, and we have to make sure that the watch commander at the command post gets what he needs to be able to take care of the threat.”
On day three, in response to the active shooter scenario the day before, the EOC simulated opening the Emergency Family Assistance Center. The EFAC provides counselling and support to family, friends, and anyone affected by the traumatic event.
On the last day of table-top exercises, the simulated EFAC was closed, and the Fleet and Family Service Office was reopened to resume normal operations.
“NSF Diego Garcia is a major geo-strategic and logistic support base,” said Sherry. “We support four geographic combatant commander missions, so participating in Exercise Citadel Pacific 2020 increases our training and readiness capability. It also enhances our partnership with British forces in response to threats against the installation and its various missions.”
NSF Diego Garcia provides logistic, service, recreational and administrative support to U.S. and Allied Forces forward deployed to the Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf.
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