- The Washington Times - Monday, January 6, 2020

Military bases in the greater Washington area have increased their security protocols in the wake of Iranian threats of retaliation for a U.S. airstrike that killed a top Iranian general in Iraq last week.

“While we will not discuss specifics, U.S. Northern Command is implementing additional force protection condition measures to increase security and awareness for all installations in the U.S. NORTHCOM area of responsibility,” Air Force Maj. Mark Lazane, a spokesman for U.S. Northern Command, which encompasses all of North America, said in a written statement.

The enhanced security protocols, which can include ID checks and vehicle searches for anyone entering a base, are likely to slow or even delay traffic near military facilities, especially those near major commuter routes.

Fort George G. Meade in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, posted a notice on its Facebook page.

“Please be advised: All installations in the Military District of Washington are currently under increased Force Protection measures,” the Army base’s post says. “During this time we will be conducting 100% ID card checks for all adult occupants (18 and older) in vehicles trying to enter the installation. All regular access control policies remain in effect, so you will need a Military ID or Fort Meade access badge to enter the installation.”

Vehicle passengers will need to show a valid state identification, such as a driver’s license, and remain with the driver while on base, the post says.

Fort Meade, the largest military base in the state, is located near Interstate 295 and Maryland Route 32.

At Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia, all visitors are required to present government identification and vehicles will be inspected upon arrival, which will affect traffic on Interstate 95 and U.S. Route 1, said Staff Sgt. Justin Boling.

The increase in traffic throughout the day will be sporadic due to varying arrival times of employees, but Sgt. Boling said it took him about 10 minutes to get through security and about 40 minutes for his colleagues.

Joint Base Andrews, located southeast of the Capital Beltway between Branch Avenue and the Suitland Parkway in Prince George’s County, posted its security changes on Facebook. Beginning at 6 a.m. Tuesday, all Department of Defense ID card holders who escort a non-DoD ID card holder on base will be required to get a visitor’s pass at the Visitor Control Center, which will begin round-the-clock operations.

“All non-DoD ID card holders will be required to present a government-issued form of identification and will be vetted through a criminal background check before being issued a visitor’s pass to access the installation,” Joint Base Andrews posted.

Naval Support Activity Bethesda, which includes Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, has announced:

⦁ Gate 1 (Visitor Center/North Gate) will be open 24/7. The gate is located east of Rockville Pike/Wisconsin Avenue.

⦁ Gate 2 (South Gate, across from the Medical Center Metro Station) will be open to vehicle traffic from 5 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. on weekends and to outbound traffic only from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. It will be closed to vehicle traffic between those time periods.

⦁ Gates 3 and 4 are closed indefinitely.

⦁ Gate 5 (Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences on Palmer Road) open 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays.

“Due to substantial changes in gate operations at Naval Support Activity Bethesda, traffic in the area surrounding the installation will be significantly impacted during weekday commuting hours,” the base said in a press release, adding that employees, patients and visitors should expect delays.

Meanwhile, “Arlington National Cemetery is increasing its security posture and is implementing 100% ID checks at all entrances,” the Army cemetery posted on Facebook.

“Effective immediately, all visitors 16 years of age and older (pedestrians, drivers and passengers) must present a valid state or government issued photo identification upon entering the cemetery. Visitors include all funeral attendees, tourists, and personnel on official business. School group leaders and tour guides must also present the required identification,” the cemetery posted. “Visitors 16 and 17 years old may present a school issued identification for entry.”

Cemetery officials said international visitors will need to present a valid passport at every entrance.

Iranian leaders have vowed revenge on the U.S. for its Jan. 3 drone strike that killed Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, one of the country’s most senior leaders, near Baghdad International Airport.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide