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Fort Leonard Wood's west gate closes tonight for antiterrorism training
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (Aug. 10, 2009) — Drivers tonight planning to use Fort Leonard Wood’s Waggener Gate on the west end of the post need to make other plans.

Polla Road and the gate leading from the installation to Waynesville will be closed from 10 p.m. tonight until about 4 a.m. Tuesday for a training exercise as part of a weeklong antiterrorism training event. That main gate leading to Saint Robert via Missouri Avenue will remain open tonight.

According to Rick Vise, chief of the Security Operations Branch in Fort Leonard Wood’s Directorate of Emergency Services, the antiterrorism exercises are part of an Army-wide plan to make sure installations are properly secured against potential threats. They’re required to be conducted at least once per year and may be conducted more often if the post commander so desires.

The current exercise began Aug. 6 and ends Tuesday.

Those at the Department of Defense who regulate access to military installations try to strike a balance between ease of access and security for military personnel and civilians.

“If you recall when 9/11 took place, all military installations including Fort Leonard Wood were at a heightened Force Protection Condition (FPCON). As a result, there were many restrictions in place that made it difficult for non-DOD personnel to have access to the installation,” Vise said. “Since then, Fort Leonard Wood has implemented an access control policy that maximizes access to the installation to the extent possible based on resources and FPCON. We have also implemented measures that ensure the safety and well-being of the soldiers and civilians who work and live on Fort Leonard Wood as well as the many visitors to our great installation.”

Key steps that make it easier to get on and off Fort Leonard Wood this week — but also during regular periods —include having photo identification readily available from everybody in the vehicle to show gate guards and having windows rolled down if they’re tinted so gate guards can see inside the vehicle to identify passengers as well as the driver and see what’s inside the passenger compartment.

While that will be enough for most people at most times, random inspections also occur.

“If you are selected for a random inspection, have driver’s license, proof of insurance and vehicle registration readily available,” Vise said.

Vise said it’s important for those who work on Fort Leonard Wood to register their vehicle or vehicles, which is required by regulations, at the vehicle registration office located in Building 100, the Visitors Center, at the main gate.

“During exercises such as the one taking place in August, residents and employees of Fort Leonard Wood really need to register their vehicle(s) on post,” Vise said. “This will greatly make their lives easier for exercises and should there ever be a need to increase the FPCON as result of a real-world event. Visitors, residents, and the workforce should be patient and expect minor delays based on the Force Protection Condition.”

As the home of the military police school, engineer school and chemical school, some of the security techniques used in this month’s training exercise are developed and taught at Fort Leonard Wood.

“We certainly benefit from having the three schools assigned to Fort Leonard Wood,” Vise said. “Each bring their individual talents and experiences to the table when it comes to ensuring the safety and well-being of all those who work, live and visit Fort Leonard Wood. The soldiers who receive training at Fort Leonard Wood do receive training that not only benefits our installation but our country as well.”

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