McConnell on increased alert following ISIS concerns

McConnell Air Force Base (KSN News)

WICHITA, Kansas – Heightened alert for McConnell Air Force Base is happening now.

“We won’t get into specifics of what it means on the base in Wichita,” says U.S. Congressman Mike Pompeo. “But it means exactly that. Military bases around the country have been notified to be on a heightened security alert.”

Pompeo is on the U.S. Intelligence Committee, and says there is a threat from ISIS. And that means Wichita could be a target.

“Is this threat here in the homeland? It is real. It is all around us,” says Pompeo. We think about Kansas as, it’s not New York City, it’s not Los Angeles, where we often think of these attacks as taking place. But we should know these folks (ISIS) are trying to do harm in the (Midwest) and places like Kansas are not immune to that.”

Congressman Pompeo confirm the threat level is now at Bravo. Bravo is a mid-range threat.

Military Force Protection Condition chart (data courtesy U.S. Air Force)
Military Force Protection Condition chart (Data Courtesy: U.S. Air Force)

Military records show Bravo threat level means extra security at bases like McConnell. That could mean things like vehicle inspections, gate guards, ID checks, more barriers and extra patrols around the base.

McConnell is widely known as a refueling wing, that provides critical support around the globe to a wide variety of military aircraft.

“McConnell, this is the ability of America to project power across the world,” explains Pompeo. “The bad guys would love to nothing more than to do something at a place like McConnell Air Force Base to show that they have attacked at the heart of America at a military facility that projects power all across the world. And our folks out at McConnell do a great job. I am confident that they can do all the things they need to do to keep themselves and our base safe, and the surrounding community too.”

Pompeo says the average Wichita resident will not notice a difference. But, he encourages everyone to say something if they see something unusual.

“It’s not the case in America that we should be scared or concerned. We should just be observant,” says Pompeo. “If we see something that looks out-of-place, make the phone call. Grab local law enforcement and let them know what you saw. They will handle it from there.”

KSN has reached out to McConnell Air Force Base for more information. Public Affairs specialists say they can not give out specifics on any changes in alert status, due to security concerns.

Late last week, Admiral William Gortney ordered U.S. military bases to go to threat level Bravo. This is the highest threat level issued since the 10th anniversary of 911.

FBI director James Comey has said over the weekend, there may ISIS supporters in the U.S. that could strike.

Pompeo says this is not a reason to be scared, but rather to just be alert. And not just military.

“Our folks out at McConnell do a great job,” says Pompeo. “I am confident that they can do all the things they need to do to keep themselves and our base safe and the surrounding community, too.”

The McConnell response reads as follows:

Why are bases at FPCON Bravo?

US Northern Command is responsible for setting the baseline force protection conditions for Department of Defense installations, facilities, and units within the US Northern Command. These force protection condition outline specific actions that each installation must take in relation to protecting its personnel and resources. 

What does it mean?

The intent of this directive is to ensure random antiterrorism measures are conducted at an unpredictable frequency rather than in response to a specific threat to mitigate threats to an installation and protect personnel and assets.

How can the population off base expect to be impacted?

There may potentially be traffic delays getting onto base.

Has security increased?

Due to operational security reasons, we do not provide a specific list of actions that we take at each level.  Our priority is to ensure the protection of our service members and their families.



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