Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach announced base personnel will be taking part in a series of nationwide security exercises through Feb. 12, but said the exercises aren’t expected to affect civilian vessel traffic.
SEAL BEACH—Boaters coming and going from Huntington Harbour might notice extra law enforcement activity and commotion at the nearby Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach through Feb. 12. The naval base has been participating in a series of nationwide Navy security exercises that started on Jan. 26. Greg Smith, the Public Affairs Officer at Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, said civilian boat traffic using the new public channel through Anaheim Bay, which opened Jan. 21, is unlikely to be affected.
“We try to build these exercises in such a way there will be minimal disruption both to on-base as well as off-base traffic.” Smith said.
The exercises, collectively called Citadel Shield-Solid Curtain 2021, are being conducted on Navy bases throughout the continental United States as part of a regularly scheduled annual exercise, developed to enhance the training and readiness of Navy security teams. The drills are not in response to any specific threat.
“The purpose of these exercises is to train our security personnel in various security techniques that they need to perform their jobs and in addition, we also use it to exercise our command-and-control capabilities, the ability of our headquarters organization to control forces out in the field and also the ability of our headquarters to communicate with higher headquarters.” said Smith.
At the naval weapons station in Seal Beach, drills and training will be conducted on a wide range of potential security scenarios. Drills held on Jan. 26 included a mock protest held outside of the base’s main gain and an active shooter drill in one of the buildings.
“Working on the best way for security folks to handle a peaceful protest that is on the property.” Smith said of the purpose for the mock protest drill.
Smith could not share whether there were any upcoming security exercises scheduled in the water in the harbor since the exercises are supposed to be a surprise to the participating security personnel. However, he did say with the new public channel open, it was much less likely they would need to halt public vessel traffic should the harbor be used in the exercises.
“So far we have not run any drills using our security boats.” Smith said, “However, if we do run security exercises in the harbor, yes, there’s much less of a chance that we would need to shut off civilian boat traffic now that the new channel is open.”
The upcoming exercises may cause increased law enforcement activity and other traffic around the area, delays in base access, and temporary gate closures. The station’s “Giant Voice” mass notification loudspeaker system may also be used.
“The thing we want to make both boaters and also just local residents aware of is, they may just see law enforcement activity that they’re not expecting as part of the exercises or they may hear alarm signals coming from the base, sirens, or something along those lines, we just want to make sure people are aware it’s just part of the exercise and not a reason for concern.” said Smith.
Smith emphasized base security personnel are constantly taking part in training on a daily, weekly and monthly basis both on land as well as on the water and that these exercises are a sort of culmination of those trainings.
“What these exercises are is kind of a way to wrap it all together Navy-wide.” said Smith.
Live updates, such as when exercises are taking place, will be posted on the station’s Facebook page: “Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, Detachment Fallbrook, Detachment Norco.”