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Camp Pendleton, other military bases increase security amid tensions with Iran

The main gate at the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base on June 16, 2006, in Oceanside, Calif.

SANDY HUFFAKER/TNS

By COLLEEN SHALBY | Los Angeles Times | Published: January 8, 2020

LOS ANGELES — Following escalating tensions between the United States and Iran, the U.S. Northern Command — the agency that oversees the Department of Defense’s homeland defenses — has directed Camp Pendleton and other California military bases to increase security conditions.

In the wake of a U.S. drone strike that targeted and killed Iran’s top military leader, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Camp Pendleton posted a notice to its social media channels on Jan. 4 that the Marine Corps base in San Diego County, one of the largest in the country, will begin implementing a 100% ID check.

The base warned travelers to expect delays at entry points as all vehicle occupants will be required to present an ID upon entering Camp Pendleton, said Capt. David Mancilla, a base spokesman.

“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,” U.S. Northern Command spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Mike Hatfield said. There is no time limit on the increased conditions, authorities said.

U.S. Northern Command increased its security status, known as Force Protection Condition, to “bravo” — a condition that occurs when a heightened threat of terrorist activity exists — for several bases. According to Mancilla, Camp Pendleton has been at FPCON Bravo status for several years but is currently increasing its security checkpoints with mandatory ID checks.

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump addressed the nation following Tehran’s missile attack Tuesday night on U.S. forces in Iraq. Trump said no Americans or Iraqis were killed in the attack, and while he said he would impose additional economic sanctions on Iran, he did not call for any new military action.

Last week, local law enforcement sources told the Los Angeles Times that several agencies had increased patrols at transit hubs and key potential targets. The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services said that while there was no immediate threat to the state, the agency was working with local, state and federal officials to monitor the safety of Californians, including cybersecurity.

Officials with Los Angeles International Airport, San Francisco Airport and local police departments said they would continue to monitor events.

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