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Threat level increased at U.S. military bases

By Danielle Haynes
Threat level increased at U.S. military bases
Fort Riley military base near Manhattan, Kansas. U.S. Northern Command raised the threat level at all North American military bases to Bravo, the third-highest level of a five-tier scale. File photo courtesy U.S. Army

COLORADO SPRINGS, May 8 (UPI) -- Security at military bases in North America was increased Friday out of concern about potential terrorist threats.

Adm. Bill Gortney, commander of the U.S. Northern Command, ordered the force protection level be raised from Alpha to Bravo, the third-highest threat level of a five-tier scale used by the U.S. Department of Defense.

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"While our [force protection level] change is not tied to a specific, credible threat, recent events have led us to recognize the need to take prudent steps to ensure our [force protection] measures can be increased quickly and unpredictably at the macro level, just as they routinely vary at the micro level on individual installations," a defense official told the Military Times.

The military was put on heightened alert this week after two men, one with suspected ties to the Islamic State group, allegedly opened fire outside a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Garland, Texas. The gunmen reportedly injured a security guard before they were both shot dead by an officer.

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FBI Director James Comey said Garland police were given a list of suspected extremists within the United States who showed an interest in the anti-Islam event.

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"I know there are other Elton Simpsons out there," he said.

The anonymous defense official said raising the threat level is "a prudent measure to remind installation commanders at all levels within the USNORTHCOM area of responsibility to ensure increased vigilance and safeguarding of all DOD personnel, installations and facilities.

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"This change, in addition to random drills or exercises, is a means to ensure that we effectively execute our force protection mission."

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