SUFFOLK, Va. – Members of Naval Network Warfare Command (NETWARCOM) and Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command (NCDOC) as well as Naval Information Forces (NAVIFOR) teamed with Federal Protective Services (FPS) and the Suffolk Police Department (SPD) to conduct an active shooter exercise in the Department of Defense Suffolk compound Building 112, February 13.
All surrounding areas, including Joint Staff and security offices, went into lockdown mode which prevented participants from either entering or exiting those buildings. The exercise involved hundreds of service members, government employees and contractors giving them an opportunity to learn about the Navy's Run-Hide-Fight training in a realistic scenario.
“This year's active shooter drill presented several new training opportunities while facilitating a unique training environment between DoD civilian and military staff members, the SPD, as well as the Department of Homeland Security’s FPS,” said Robert Baldwin, NAVIFOR Physical Security Specialist/Antiterrorism Assistant.
“We've been able to streamline our processes in which drills are created and initiated, allowing the command a higher degree of in-depth, detailed training. Further, NAVIFOR and the Suffolk DoD Complex now have community proxy partners who become part of the drill. The new Suffolk VDOT [Virginia Department of Transportation] Regional Headquarters, as well as the recently completed Fred Cherry Middle School, are also involved and consulted during the drill planning process,” continued Baldwin.
Active shooter response drills are required by DoD directive to be performed twice annually to train staff members in the procedures and actions to prevent loss of life at any command should an active shooter event take place. Training on safe zone locations, evacuation procedures, and emergency exit locations are some of the more critical aspects of the training. Moreover, critical response and tactical employment of forces between the SPD, working in concert with the Department of Homeland Security FPS, allows for a multi-agency training platform based on realism and joint cooperation.
“This drill was very well coordinated and performed as compared to prior exercises,” said NETWARCOM’s Facilities Manager Steve Davidson and Emergency Management Officer for the exercise. “In a real-world event, I would stay behind to assist with interviews and coordinated efforts between organizations on the compound. Team coordination with FPS and SPD to use realistic props and gunfire definitely aided in the exercise’s overall performance.”
The active-shooter exercise is just one example of how the partnership between DoD Suffolk compound commands, FPS and SPD are working together to provide a safe environment for Sailors and staff civilians. Sufficient notice was provided ahead of time to command members to ensure safety and reinforce this is an exercise.
“Everyone followed the evacuation routes and helped others to safety during the drill,” said NETWARCOM’s Information Systems Technician Second Class (IT2) Manuel Contrerasgil, one of the safety observers for the exercise. “We were able to evacuate in a timely and efficient manner considering the magnitude of personnel in our spaces.”
NAVIFOR's mission is to provide combat-ready information warfare forces to operational commanders, ashore and afloat, that are forward deployable, fully trained, properly manned, capably equipped, always ready, well-maintained and combat sustainable.
For more information about NAVIFOR, visit the command's website at http://www.public.navy.mil/fltfor/navifor/Pages/Default2.aspx, Navy News webpage at http://www.navy.mil/local/navifor or Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/USNavyInformationDominanceForces.