Friday, May 8, 2015

USAFA steps up security

Posted By on Fri, May 8, 2015 at 11:48 AM

The Air Force Academy just issued a release stating that nobody will be allowed on the academy's grounds unless they have a Department of Defense ID, although visitors "may be escorted onto base by DoD ID cardholders."

The release states the action comes "in accordance with a Northern Command directive."

Without explaining why, NorthCom spokeswoman Army Maj. Beth Smith tells the Independent that NorthCom did raise the force protection level Thursday night from Alpha to Bravo, which she termed "the new normal."

Bravo is the highest security level directive NorthCom has given in its 13-year history. The command was created the year after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
click to enlarge A Joint Task Force Carson rifle team fires a 21-gun salute during a memorial ceremony at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station in tribute to the victims of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. (U.S. Army photo) - SGT. ERIC GLASSEY
  • Sgt. Eric Glassey
  • A Joint Task Force Carson rifle team fires a 21-gun salute during a memorial ceremony at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station in tribute to the victims of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. (U.S. Army photo)


"We did raise the force protection from Alpha to Bravo last night," Smith says in an interview. "No specific reasons, but more along the lines of we consider this to be the new normal. It was just a prudent measure to mitigate threats that could occur against people, assets, resources or infrastructure."

She said the change in security level has nothing to do with the recent revelation that communications of the bi-national North American Aerospace Defense Command would be moved from Peterson Air Force Base back to the Cheyenne Mountain Air Fort Station, commonly called Cheyenne Mountain. The command was moved to Peterson in 2006-07, but recent concerns about Peterson's lack of resistance to electromagnetic pulse (EMP) could cause military communications to crash. Cheyenne Mountain is resistant to EMP.

There are four threat levels: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and Delta. NorthCom has never given a directive higher than Bravo, Smith said.

Here's the academy's news release:
In accordance with a NORTHCOM Directive, the United States Air Force Academy has increased security measures. Until further notice, the base is closed to all non-DoD ID cardholders. Visitors may be escorted onto base by DoD ID cardholders. Visitor access for official events will be permitted on a case-by-case basis.

Please monitor the USAFA Facebook page and website for more information on future events scheduled to be held at the Academy. Additionally, DoD ID cardholders can anticipate delays when entering the installation, and there may be traffic back-ups near both of the Academy's North and South Gates. As a matter of DoD policy, we do not discuss specific security measures. However, these measures are in place to ensure the safety and security of USAFA personnel, cadets, and assets.

USAFA leadership asks the public and military personnel to remain vigilant and if you see or hear anything suspicious, please contact Security Forces at (719) 333-2000.
As for how visitors will be handled at the upcoming academy graduation, academy spokesman Meade Warthen says via email: "As you can imagine, the situation is very fluid right at the moment. We'll be issuing updates on access as we get closer to graduation."


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