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Cathy Dyson writes about King George County. You can email her at

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Traffic around the base

I hear there’s a lot of traffic and long waits to get into the base. It’s because of a training exercise. Check out the blog from my coworker, Rusty Dennen, who wrote a few weeks ago about the security exercise:


  • Chris

    1:30 delay!

  • citizen

    Captain Catie Hanft and Commander Dennis Quick are going to get somebody killed or seriously injured.

    This is not the first time that policies and gate procedures of the Commander, XO, and Security office of the Naval Support Activity, South Potomac at the Naval Support Facility Dahlgren have pushed traffic into and through the intersection of the four lane route 301 and route 206.

    This morning at 7:45 traffic was backed through the traffic light and up the hills along both 301 and 206.

    There is NO normal, everyday security concern that merits this condition. There was NOTHING in today’s Navy-wide exercise that merited NSASP backing traffic onto route 301.

    There is NOTHING that stops NSASP Commander Catie Hanft, Executive Officer Dennis Quick, and their security office from DETECTING traffic backups the full two miles of Dahlgren Road and adjusting procedures at the Main Gate and at B Gate to keep traffic out of travelling lanes of 301 and out of the intersection of 301 and 206.

    These two have done this repeatedly, and they are putting life and limb at risk.

  • Ron

    It’s a military base, ran by military personnel, if one stops in the middle of an intersection, then they are putting themselves in danger. No law says they cannot block this intersection unless it is posted.

    Don’t like it? Move, get a job elsewhere. Buy some tissues.

    Support the country you live in, live in the country you support.

  • Jim Lyles

    Citizen you have made a very valid statement AFGE Local 2096 has been repeated attempts to have this exercise stopped for safety of the employees and communters as well to other work areas.
    What is the point, so far we have not read that there were mock terriosts in vehicles tryting to obtain entrance to the base and were either caught or were not, trying for administion.
    At least this time there was advance warning to the 4,000 employees that there will be a cluster of traffic the next couple of days which was better than before.
    Where is the communication with the King George County Board of Super’s to see about signs in the road areas warning motorist of tie-ups not everyone reads the Free Lance Star for information.
    There has been notifications to the union of near misses at both 301 & 206 and also B gate where there is very little room for error with the shoulder of the road and really none from the North coming from Maryland.
    the comment from Ron shows his mentality and must work with the staff of South Potomac, and keep it up you will receive that next grade soon.

  • staff

    I can understand being upset about the delay. HOWEVER most of us who work have training drills. We want to be protected yet we dont want to deal with a prewarned drill so that we can be. The reason these “useless” drills are done is to show where they need to improve or train more. Only God knows what people will try, they must prepare. If you knew the drill you would understand that it is nationwide and they are training for more than a gate rush. It is very dishearting that we can not even support our troops at home in the USA while they train. God forbid they try to better them selfs. As far as being stuck in middle of the intersection there are LEGAL LIGHTS there. If you can not make it through light dont try to run it. Jim I do agree maybe they should put the signs up warning of the dealys a few days ahead to help the local people plan for the delay. I for one want to THANK them for all of their hard work and doing a job I myself could never do. But thanks to them I live in free world where I am able to pick my job.

  • Capt. I Think I’m Super Important

    Hi, I’m the think I know it all and am super important person that works at the base. Please notice my personalized license plates that say something about what my job title is even though nobody gives a crap. Base people get off your high horse….You’re NO better than anybody else.

  • Concerned Citizen

    Yes, the drills are important, one problem is often a lack of communication with the local school (Potomac Elementary) which is literally down the road. (Which considering this drill was in the FLS, the local school did have a heads up). These drills have caused the buses to be unable to pick up children on time (one parent reported their special needs child was picked up at approximately 9:30 this morning). Also one of the local daycares allowed the children to walk to school, which meant you had elementary aged children running across the road in all the traffic. What ultimately concerns me is the children’s safety. How many children opted to walk to school because the bus did not pick them up on time and Mom or Dad had to go to work and did not have time to take them to school?

  • George

    I don’t object to the drills. I don’t object that there are traffic issues when we have drills.

    That said, I do object to the fact that these drills are run, and then no one learns any lessons and we have the same problems each and every time it happens. Every drill carries increased risk; however, if nothing is learned from the drill, then the lives were risked for nothing!

    This drill was a Force Protection drill. That means protecting the people working on the base from being attacked by bad guys while they are on the base. By not addressing the problem of the bottlenecks at the gates, this flawed security policy has instead made it EASIER for the bad guys to harm or kill the people by making them sitting ducks out on the highway.

    I’d like to see Cathy or Rusty asking the tough questions: if this drill was a C- or D+, then what is going to change (within limits of OPSEC requirements) to make this better? Should they have opened C gate? Should they direct traffic better outside the base?

    God forbid the base had to operate at this elevated level of security for an extended period of time. In addition to the risk to lives from the terrorist threat, we’d be losing 1.5-2 hours per day of productive time from each and every employee. That is a loss of up to 25% of each person’s time, and we can’t afford that loss of productivity or increased spending in these budget deficit times.

    I’ll ask one more time: what is going to be done differently in the future to make us safer, not endanger us?

  • Steve

    Both Dahlgren and Indian Head are run by morons who don’t know the difference between security and inconvenience. They nitpick their own employees and then pat themselves on the back for doing such a great job; took lessons from TSA.

  • citizen

    One can run a drill, which is a legitimate exercise, and tailor the drill so that traffic is not pushed further back than, say, the entrance to Potomac Elementary School.

    Furthermore, the commander, XO, and security office at NSASP have exercised policy and practices at the gates which have pushed traffic into the 206/301 intersection even when there has been NO Navy exercise.

    These individuals are responsible for creating a public danger, with risk to life and limb.

    By the way… if you favor a strong, well-prepared military, then the fact that Capt Hanft and her staff cannot manage main gate traffic should give us some clue about how well they are preparing a strong, well-prepared military.

  • Jonah Heglund

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