Ramstein boosting security before arrests made
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — While German authorities tracked three men suspected of planning attacks on U.S. military bases, the Air Force was quietly boosting security at its largest base in Europe.
Some of the new measures are among the most advanced, but the Air Force refused to release many details out of security concerns.
Last month, the first phase of a new Integrated Base Surveillance System was installed at Ramstein Air Base’s East and West gates, according to information in the area’s base newspaper.
The system includes additional digital cameras that show vehicles approaching the base gates at various angles.
“The system allows members of the Security Forces Squadron to detect, assess and track potential hostile people or vehicles across the installation,” according to information in the Kaiserslautern American newspaper.
The second phase will involve putting more cameras along the perimeter of the 5,028-acre base. The base is a major transportation hub for the U.S. military and is home to more than 9,000 active-duty servicemembers and civilian employees.
Capt. Joel Harper, a spokesman for U.S. Air Forces in Europe headquarters, said the command would not release details on the surveillance system, including how much the Air Force has spent on it.
“As a matter of policy, we do not discuss specific force protection measures because doing so could undermine our security efforts,” Harper wrote in an e-mail.
Other security improvements include the construction of “pillboxes” with armed airmen just beyond the gates, and fingerprint scanners at USAFE headquarters. The base public affairs office could not provide information on how much money has been spent on force protection improvements before press time.
The security status at Ramstein and other bases in the Kaiserslautern area remained at “Force Protection Condition Bravo” after Tuesday’s arrests of the three men allegedly planning to attack U.S. military facilities in Germany and other spots frequented by Americans.
The military has four Force Protection Condition levels, from Alpha to Delta. Delta is the highest level.