US Military Bases in Europe Raise Security Threat Levels

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STUTTGART, Germany — U.S. military bases in Europe were put on a heightened state of alert over the weekend as installations urged vigilance among their members.

At U.S. European Command headquarters in Stuttgart, the Army garrison on Sunday issued a communitywide alert that the force protection threat level was elevated to condition “Charlie” until further notice.

Similar directives were sent to other bases in Germany, including the Army’s Rheinland-Pfalz and Ramstein Air Base, which together form the largest U.S. military community overseas. The Rheinland-Pfalz garrison alert includes Baumholder and outlying installations in Romania and Bulgaria.

Aviano Air Base in Italy also rose its condition level to Charlie, and other installations in Italy introduced enhanced security measures.

The Charlie threat level “applies when an incident occurs or intelligence is received indicating some form of terrorist action or targeting against personnel or facilities is likely,” according to the Army’s website.

Service members and others should anticipate significant delays at gate entry points because of increased security, according to the alerts.

U.S. Army garrison in Stuttgart referred questions about the change in force protection to EUCOM. EUCOM said in a statement Sunday that it is “constantly assessing a variety of factors that play into the safety of the U.S. military community abroad.

As part of that effort, we often times take additional steps to ensure the safety of our service members.” Military community members should report any suspicious activity, monitor State Department travel advisories and take precautions to minimize personal risk, the statement added.

Typically, military commands decline to get into specifics about changes in force protection measures for security reasons.

On Saturday, Spangdahlem Air Base, an installation in rural western Germany, issued its own alert that said 52nd Fighter Wing airmen were prohibited from wearing their uniforms off base as a precaution, and must commute in civilian clothing. Spangdahlem officials on Saturday said that measures are in place to protect the community but that for “operational security reasons,” the base could not provide more details.

In years past, commands have taken similar action on uniform wearing over concerns about terrorism threats.

In 2010, EUCOM issued a directive that temporarily prohibited troops from wearing uniforms off post.

In 2014, EUCOM limited uniform wearing off base to commuting, a restriction that the command began to relax in 2022. The military sets force protection levels at either Normal, Alpha, Bravo, Charlie or Delta, the highest state of alert.

Bravo became common on bases for many years following the 9/11 attacks. Charlie sets in motion “curtailment plans for nonessential personnel,” according to the Army. Garrison officials in Stuttgart said that a variety of services would not be available because of the increased threat level.

From Sunday until further notice, some of those reduced services included access to some eateries and on-post barber shops. “Many other services will have significant numbers of employees teleworking or offices will be opened with reduced staff.

Customers should maintain flexibility and allow for longer-than-normal service times,” the garrison said in a statement. In recent weeks, U.S. officials have been sounding the alarm on increased terrorism threats, stemming from the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel and the ongoing war in Gaza.

“We’ve seen the threat from foreign terrorists rise to a whole ‘nother level after October 7,” FBI director Christopher Wray said in June 4 written testimony before the Senate.


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