According to the directive, FPCON bravo indicates an "increased or more predictable threat of terrorist activity" present at U.S. bases. DoD officials say the change is just a precaution.
Around midafternoon on Tuesday, reports started coming in on Twitter of select military bases raising their threat condition levels with no explanation. Calls to confirm the change were referred to the Pentagon who made it official Wednesday, after defense secretary Leon Panetta authorized raising the force-protection level for military installations.
“U.S. Northern Command Commander, Army Gen. Charles H. Jacoby Jr., requested the action in recent days in advance of the 10th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S. homeland,” according to a press release issued by the Department of Defense (DoD).
Capt. John Kirby, director of media operations, said the DoD does not discuss specific force protection levels, saying only that the level was raised at installations throughout the continental United States, including the Pentagon.
That didn’t stop military members and their families from taking to the Internet on Tuesday to question why bases were changed to FPCON Bravo.
A DoD directive on antiterrorism standards says the change to FPCON Bravo indicates an increased or more predictable threat of terrorist activity. FBCON Bravo calls for increased surveillance of soft targets, inspection of all mail for potential bombs, and keeping all cars and objects, like trash cans and crates, 25 meters or more from buildings.
Officials, however, say the change is just a precaution and is not in response to any specific or credible threats.
They did note, however, that documents recovered from Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, showed al Qaeda was interested in attacking the United States on the anniversary of 9-11.
Last week the State Department issued its own alert reminding U.S. citizens traveling to other countries to be vigilant.
The State Department said it had not identified any specific threats, but noted that “terrorist organizations have on occasion planned their attacks to coincide with significant dates on the calendar.”
"Overall, military personnel and their families are reminded to always be aware of their surroundings. If they see something or someone that they feel is unusual or suspicious in their community, it's important to report it," Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point Media Officer Megan Greathouse told Security Management.
The State Department advises travelers to sign up for its Smart Travelers Enrollment Program to make it it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency.
♦ Photo by gregwest98 from flickr