ISIS activity prompts threat level increase at U.S. bases

Posted at 11:41 AM, May 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-08 19:40:35-04

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Security conditions at U.S. military bases were raised Thursday night because of growing concern of a jihadist threat in the U.S.

It comes hours after FBI Director James Comey raised the prospect there are thousands of ISIS followers online in the U.S.

"We have a general concern, obviously, that ISIL is focusing on the uniformed military and law enforcement," Comey told reporters Thursday.

The order was signed by Admiral William Gortney, head of the command.

"We have the same concern about the potential threat posed by violent homegrown extremists," said Captain Jeff Davis, spokesman for the U.S. Northern Command which oversees all U.S. military installations in the continental U.S.

Davis declined to specify the new security measures. But a U.S. official confirmed to CNN that U.S. military bases are now at "Force Protection Bravo," which is defined by the Pentagon as an "increased and predictable threat of terrorism." U.S. bases generally have not been at this level since the tenth anniversary of the 911 attacks the official said.

  • FPCON Bravo applies when an increased or more predictable threat of terrorist activity exists. In addition to FPCON Alpha measures, installation commanders will increase ID checks and inspections of facilities, deliveries, and packages. Some traffic will be restricted and vehicle barriers emplaced. Personnel can expect to experience some delays due to ID checks and vehicle inspections. (Department of Defense FPCON Bravo definition)

All bases in Hampton Roads have confirmed that their security levels have been increased.

"We are doing this as a prudent measure due to a lot of things in the news lately," Davis said. "While this change is not tied to a specific credible threat, recent events have led us to recognize the need to take prudent steps to ensure that our security measures can be increased quickly."

The change could mean more checks of vehicles entering bases, and 100% identity checks of all personnel. Davis emphasized "this is the new normal that we are going to have increased vigilance and force protection. We seek to be unpredictable."

Since NORTHCOM was established in October 2002, the threat level has reached Bravo on four occasions: Feb. 9, 2003, amid concerns al Qaeda was planning attacks on American targets; Dec. 21, 2003, when officials were concerned about attacks during the holiday season; May 1, 2011, in the aftermath of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden; and the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

It reached "Delta," its highest level, on Sept. 11, 2001, Pentagon officials told CNN at the time.