Turns out, it was only a test, and when the power went out Wednesday night at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, it was part of an exercise to gauge the installation’s response in such a crisis, post officials said.
The outage lasted more than 12 hours, shutting down facilities all across the Army’s most populated post, at more than 50,000 soldiers. Power should be back up in three to five hours, according to a garrison command message posted Thursday morning.
“This exercise was not announced in order to replicate likely real-world reactions by everyone directly associated with the installation. In today’s world, cyber-attacks are very likely,” the message said. “This exercise is exactly what we needed to do to identify our vulnerabilities and work to improve our security and deployment posture.”
Designed to run concurrently with a deployment exercise, leaders hoped to test how the post would manage under a cyber attack designed to cripple their operations.
While the emergency room at Womack Army Medical Center stayed open, as did the Soldier Support Center, little else functioned on post.
Communicating through the Fort Bragg Facebook page, officials urged everyone to report suspicious behavior and take care driving through intersections where traffic lights had gone down.
“We thank all of you for your patience and feedback. Continue to be vigilant and stay safe,” the command message said. “Although we use social media as a tool for communicating, your commands are still a reliable source of information. Fort Bragg, will be better tomorrow and the foreseeable future because of this exercise.”
Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.