NPS fence

The fence of Naval Support Activity Monterey.

The assassination of the Iranian commander has been reverberating so widely that the U.S. military has beefed up security measures as far away as Monterey. The two local military bases, which house the Defense Language Institute and the Naval Postgraduate School, are still accessible to the public but not as easily as before. 

“It would be inappropriate to discuss security measures in any detail,” Presidio of Monterey spokesperson James S. Laughlin says. His words are echoed by Melinda Larson, the spokesperson of Naval Support Activity Monterey: “We do not discuss specific force protection measures, tactics or techniques.”

The marching orders for increased security come from U.S. Northern Command, which relayed the following, equally cryptic message: "While we will not discuss specifics, U.S. Northern Command is implementing additional force protection condition measures to increase security and awareness for all installations in the U.S. NORTHCOM area of responsibility."

Judging the visit to the Presidio by a reporter and a photographer from the Weekly on Jan. 9, the main change is having to fill out a form ahead of time and to face a short delay for inspection of the entrance gate. 

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“Are you a U.S. citizen?” a Presidio guard asks after examining the reporter’s ID and requesting his social security number. 

The photographer presents her U.S. passport to the guards. “Only state-issued IDs are allowed,” the commander of the guards says. Odd rule, considering the military is a federal installation. 

Past the gates, the atmosphere in the Presidio is as calm as ever with dozens of deer snacking on the vegetation or resting in the sun. Do the deer ever leave the premises of the Presidio? How do they get past the fences? Wouldn’t that be considered a security breach? “They can easily hop over the chainlink,” a DLI spokesperson explains.

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Asaf Shalev is a staff writer at the Monterey County Weekly. He covers higher education, the military, the environment, public lands and the geographic areas of Seaside, Monterey, Sand City, Big Sur and Carmel Valley.

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