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Capt. David James

Capt. David James

In the United States, most of us are not imminently concerned with an attack on our homes or community. For the most part, we live in a safe environment. Physical security is a normal part of our everyday routine as we acknowledge that it plays a vital role in managing our security risks. But, the success of that security is not limited to only the security detachment here at NAS Lemoore. Each and every person onboard NAS Lemoore, including military, contractors, government employees, and dependents, should do their part to ensure the security of our installation. This is to the benefit of all. All of us are responsible for the security and safety of NAS Lemoore.

The security detachment at NAS Lemoore has a big job. They are professionals and they do their job well. We should all personally thank them for the security blanket they provide to us every single day. There are no “days off” for them. They do not get holidays. Even if the government shuts down, they are on duty, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. It is easy to take it for granted because we expect and appreciate the safety that comes with a military installation. However, that safe and secure environment comes at a price.

For those who have loved ones who are away, the steep price comes in the form of separation, missed birthdays, holidays and family milestones. At the installation level, the price is “time” and is extracted every time that security needs to be enforced. Turnarounds take roughly 4-5 minutes to conduct and are administered every time unauthorized persons try to enter the installation. The security detachment conducts roughly 4-5 turnarounds per day. The only way to prove that a person is authorized to enter the installation is with proper identification and credentials, i.e. a personal ID card. Without proper authorization, an individual will not gain access to the installation.

One of the protocols for a turnaround is to collect all pertinent information about the driver and vehicle. While it would be easier and faster to simply turn the vehicle around and not let them onboard the installation without obtaining the required information, it does nothing to bolster installation security. This is critical to our safety and security. On a regular basis, security uncovers drivers who are probing and have made numerous attempts to get onboard this installation or some other installation. It is imperative to gather this information as it has uncovered many individuals with felony warrants against them. At the same time, some people are simply lost and turn the wrong way. Either way, we must follow the same procedures.

Vetting is another procedure we must continue executing in order to ensure only individuals we desire to be onboard the installation are amongst us. This too reveals numerous individuals who have warrants against them. We have identified several individuals with felony warrants against them and work with local law enforcement for their detainment.

Scanning and 100 percent ID card checks ensure we only have authorized personnel onboard the installation. An individual must possess an authorized ID card to access the installation. It is not uncommon to forget an ID card at home or at work. Ninety percent of the turnarounds conducted here are Sailors or dependents that have misplaced or forgotten their ID cards. However, access will not be granted to enter NAS Lemoore if you do not have your ID on your person. This is for the installation’s protection. Our sentries’ job is to keep everyone aboard the installation safe and secure from those who would potentially do us harm. Think how easy it would be for an outsider to get the right “uniform” together in order to access the installation. It has been done before and is not outside the realm of reality.

Because our security team here at NAS Lemoore makes it extremely difficult for the threat to get onboard this installation, this may mean longer lines to get on-board, which is not unique to NAS Lemoore. The price for installation security is time. Again, if proper credentials cannot be confirmed, do not even try to gain access; turnaround and get things squared away. I call this doing a proper preflight – have uniform items, have a phone, have money if needed and have visually looked for ID cards before leaving for work.

The installation also needs time to practice and make sure that its security measures are up to speed. Starting this week and continuing throughout the next, NAS Lemoore will be participating in its annual security exercise Solid Curtain/Citadel Shield. This evolution will exercise and assess Navy Anti-terrorism and Force Protection (ATFP), Command and Control (C2) capabilities and evaluate the readiness and effectiveness of NAS Lemoore’s ATFP programs.

Elevation of Force Protection Conditions (FPCONs) and increased security measures can be anticipated for the duration of the exercise. While mitigation efforts to alleviate traffic congestion will be in place, base tenant commands should anticipate potential base-access delays. This training takes time but it makes us a safer, better-prepared facility.

Please help our security detachment. Be courteous. They have a big, and at times thankless, job but please thank them if you feel like it! The safety of this installation and its personnel and residents is on their shoulders. They must enforce the rules that have been implemented to guarantee our safety. Please respect their authority and don’t blame them for things beyond their control. Although no one can prevent you from taking to social media to voice your complaints about base security, it does not help build a team spirit here at NAS Lemoore. It is not their fault if the AVG at the housing gate stops working. They cannot fix it. When it fails, security is immediately notified and the technician is called. Sometimes it is a quick fix and sometimes it is not. Please be patient, find another gate into the base and be respectful to our security team.

In the end, let us all do our part to keep our installation safe and secure. The next time you are frustrated by having to wait in a long line to get onboard the installation, the AVG is broken, you are asked to provide your ID or the installation is on lockdown, remember that the price for security and safety is time. Security measures exist to protect all of us. Thank you in advance for your assistance and care with this matter. Plan in a little extra commute time until the exercise is over; I would always add about five minutes for a possible turnaround. I promise to do my best to minimize congestion and avoid any unnecessary delays.

All my best,

Captain David James,

Commanding Officer, NAS Lemoore

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