by Ryan Labadens, U.S. Navy Public Affairs

The security department and other supporting entities onboard the Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) recently received an “Operationally Effective” rating during the latest Command Assessment and Readiness Training (CART) that took place onboard the Gulfport, Mississippi, Navy base Feb. 28 – March 4, 2022.

According to Lt. Mark Schlom, NCBC Gulfport security director, the CART basically serves as a programmatic review to determine if the Naval Security Force (NSF) and Antiterrorism Training Team (ATTT) on base are ready to conduct unit level exercises during the higher operational tempo assessment phase of their training and certification.

It evaluates the core capabilities of the base’s security, their readiness and their level of knowledge in regards to responding to various security incidents they could encounter.

“I’m really proud of the team and happy to be a part of it,” said Schlom. “To have the hard work and effort pay off is really gratifying, and it’s not an overnight process. It takes everyone working together to ensure we have a successful event, and everyone who participated on the NCBC team contributed to that success.”

The CART serves as a ramp-up exercise on the “Road to Certification” for the base to receive its Final Evaluation Problem (FEP) certification, which basically would mean the base is certified ready to defend itself in the event of a variety of different security-related incidents. The FEP, a CNIC assessment initiated in 2015, is designed to inspect the command, control, communications and Navy security departments and emergency operations response on all U.S. Navy installations once every three years. NCBC is slated to undergo its next FEP in 2023.

Lew Fountain, NCBC Gulfport emergency manager, noted the importance of having outside evaluators run a critical eye over the base’s emergency management and security programs.

“It gives the program managers on base the opportunity to have someone take an outside look at our security and emergency management program to see what we’re doing right and what corrections or updates need to be made,” said Fountain.

He then noted the importance of the team effort involving the various departments on base who participate in security and emergency response.

“We want to be sure everything is in place for us to be able to work together,” said Fountain.

“One of the biggest things is having Emergency Action Plans. These allow each department or tenant to know what actions they should take during specific emergencies, whether it’s an active shooter or a fuel spill or any other environmental or security situation, or even whether we had to evacuate for a hurricane – and our Emergency Action Plans were noted [by the evaluators] to be in really good shape.”

Capt. Jeff Powell, NCBC Gulfport commanding officer, praised the NCBC Gulfport security department and other departments on a job well done during this year’s CART.

“We’ve been prepping for this for months, and we really did very well,” said Powell in his March 2022 Community Update Video on the Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport Facebook page. “In fact, for those of you who live and work on this base, you can sleep well at night and work at peace knowing that you’re safe and secure here at NCBC Gulfport. Again, hats off to the security department – it was a ton of effort, but they really did a great job, and it was validated by our assessors and inspectors that were here.”