Yokota raises threat condition to ‘Bravo’
Some U.S. military bases in Japan raised threat conditions to “Bravo” on Friday, but officials gave no specific reason for the heightened state.
The move comes after last week’s report of small blasts near Camp Zama — and days ahead of a scheduled visit by Vice President Dick Cheney to Yokosuka Naval Base.
Yokota Air Base initiated “Bravo” on Friday morning, but as of 4:40 p.m., Yokosuka was unchanged at threat condition “Alpha.”
Force-protection conditions at other U.S. installations in Japan and Okinawa — including Kadena Air Base, Camp Foster, Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Misawa Air Base, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni and Camp Zama — also remained at “Alpha,” the lowest level.
The military has a long-standing policy of not discussing security measures or the parameters used to determine changes in threat levels.
Air Force Col. Anne Morris, a U.S. Forces Japan spokeswoman, said Friday that she could not comment on what factors went into the Yokota decision but added every base is in a different situation.
Bases frequently practice their ability to move rapidly from one condition to another, Morris added.
“We don’t want to be static in our defensive posture, so we’re always assessing our security,” she said. “A good technique is to mix it up. For operational security reasons, we’re not going to discuss when we do it or why we do it.
“It’s driven by a number of factors — obviously threats being one of them, the desire to make it difficult for our adversaries to determine how we conduct security. Security and force protection are critical to getting the mission done. We can’t accomplish it without making sure we protect our forces first.”
The vice president is scheduled to be at Yokosuka on Wednesday, according to a Commander, Naval Forces Japan news release. He’ll address senior military leaders and other USFJ personnel during a special rally aboard the USS Kitty Hawk.
Cheney also will travel to Australia this week and visit with U.S. troops on Guam.
Stars and Stripes reporters Jennifer H. Svan, Allison Batdorff, Megan McCloskey, David Allen and Teri Weaver contributed to this report.