By Jerry Hollo, USAG Bavaria Antiterrorism Officer
Many people have heard of FPCONs but what do they really mean and how do they affect us?
Force Protection Conditions, or FPCONs, establish the baseline security posture for U.S. military bases.
Currently, U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria is at FPCON Bravo with a few additional Charlie measures.
When USAG Bavaria changes its FPCON level, all community members should know when the change occurs, what the FPCON level means, and what actions to take.
The best way to receive this information is to register with USAG Bavaria’s AtHoc alert system. AtHoc provides the USAG Bavaria Commander an easy way to notify all registered community members regarding all types of emergencies affecting the garrison.
By knowing the different FPCONs levels, personnel can gain a better sense of what to expect in and around the base.
There are five FPCON levels: Normal, Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, and Delta. However, since 2001, the FPCON level in Europe has been set at Bravo or higher. With that in mind, here is some information on what to expect at elevated FPCON levels.
FPCON Charlie applies when an incident occurs or intelligence is received indicating some form of terrorist action or targeting against personnel or facilities is likely.
Under FPCON Charlie you should allow extra time to get to work as there will be increased vehicle searches at all of the gates which could have a traffic implication for some areas.
Expect 100 percent ID checks at the AAFES Exchange, commissary, and most other buildings on post as well as having your hand-carried items searched prior to entering those facilities.
You will notice an increase in barriers, and parking around your facilities may be prohibited. You may be directed to a central parking location.
You will observe armed U.S. Soldiers providing additional security around post. Depending on the threat, non-essential personnel may be told to stay home or be sent home early. So check with your chain of command in advance if you have access to post during FPCON Charlie.
Some facilities and services — to include the Exchange and commissary — may be closed or have limited hours. It is recommended to do your shopping off-post during FPCON Charlie.
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 local condition and is not intended to be sustained for extended periods. Movement on-post is restricted to essential personnel only. So don’t try to access post.
Most services and facilities will be severely limited or closed. All resources are focused on defense against an attack or recovery from an attack.
What should you do? Like all FPCON levels, no one should discuss the current security posture on social media.
Everyone must be alert to and report suspicious activities immediately to the Military Police or German Polizei.
Some things to be alert for include the presence of unfamiliar personnel, vehicles, suspicious packages, and possible surveillance attempts.
Also, everyone should keep cars, trash containers, and other objects away from buildings to aid security forces in maintaining a safe environment.
If you’re caught off-post when the FPCON increases and need to get on-post, contact your chain of command or monitor AtHoc for additional instructions.