Sailors practice new anti-terrorism tactics at Naval Base San Diego

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SAN DIEGO - As the threat of terror heightens overseas, Navy sailors on the San Diego coastline practiced a new defense strategy against a possible attack.

The training is called the “Citadel Protect Exercise.” The object of the exercise is to identify any gaps or seams in our force protection at home and overseas.

“We all know what is going on in the world, and we want to be ready here at home to protect our ships, our sailors and our base,” said Executive Officer, Dennis Keck.

A scripted scenario simulated an unexpected attack from a small boat against a Navy ship at the base pier. As the boat approached closer, a “hailer” signal was released to notify the boat that it was entering a restricted zone.

“Not all countries will speak English, so the loud tone allows us to give them a signal so they stop,” said Chief Christopher Morge.

Once at 600 meters, the boat was hit with a laser and spotlight in order to get the operator’s attention.

“Typically at that point if they didn’t have any hostile intent they would turn their boat outbound,” said Morge.

An exchange of blank gunfire followed, as part of the training.

Chief Navy Officer Christopher Morge said the exercise was prompted, in part, by the 2000 attack on the USS Cole that killed 17 people including a San Diegan.

“If we had the ability to warn and to talk through numerous non-lethal weapons to deter them, we would have known that they were hostile and that we could take lethal action,” said Morge.

Thursday’s training was one of the five organized by the Navy.

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