When I think of defcon levels I always think of the 1983 movie War Games. If you haven’t seen it check it out, its an oldie but a goodie. The defense readiness condition (DEFCON) is an alert system used by the military United States. The DEFCON system prescribes graduated levels of readiness and states of alert and increases from levels of least to most severe. As of this moment our current military status is DEFCON 4.
Defcon Levels and What They Mean
DEFCON Level 5
The normal level of peacetime readiness, DEFCON 5 serves as the baseline for the military. This means that military training and operations continue as normal. Security operations resume with ID checks for all personnel entering any military base. This level of defense, like all others, remains until changed by the Department of Defense.
DEFCON Level 4
As the next level of severity, there are increased intelligence gathering and security measures. During DEFCON 4 there is an increase of personnel on guard during night and day, as well as random searches of vehicles coming onto base. There is also an increased number of personnel added to guard certain areas that would not be manned during level 5.
DEFCON Level 3
At this level in military readiness, The Air Force is ready to mobilize in 15 minutes. Base operations are changed significantly, with added security personnel. All Air Force essential personnel remain on base and are ready to mobilize and deploy. This condition also requires all military personnel to stay within fifty miles of their operating base. Commanders may order all their personnel to remain on base. DEFCON 3 corresponds to situations where there is a possibility of military action against the U. S. or our allies.
DEFCON Level 2
This level of severity is just below the maximum. An increase to level 2 is very serious, and all combat units must be ready to deploy within 6 hours. This condition carries a significant risk of major military operations against the United States or our allies.
DEFCON Level 1
As this is the most severe level of readiness, all military personnel are kept ready for immediate action. This means that open war is imminent. At this level, military personnel begin to deploy. There is a chance of the United States or our allies being targeted by nuclear weapons. The last time the military was at DEFCON 1 was during the Gulf War crisis.
Our DEFCON readiness is an important part of military operations. As military personnel, we’re trained to always remain ready for deployment. Each unit designates personnel, weapons, and equipment which will be the first to go. The DEFCON conditions are typically kept classified until after the fact.