Military Threat Levels

Armed Services Threat Levels

( from

Terrorist Force Protection Condition (FPCON)

A Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff-approved program standardizes the military services’ identification of and recommended responses to terrorist threats against U.S. personnel and facilities. This program facilitates interservice coordination and support for antiterrorism activities and is called FPCONs.

The Department of Defense decided the name change was necessary. following the investigation into the attack on the USS Cole, DOD officials determined there was possible confusion between “THREATCONs,” which are DOD force preparedness states, and the Department of State’s “Threat Levels,” which are assessment categories for countries and regions. To eliminate this confusion, DOD has renamed security postures as “Force Protection Conditions,”

There are four FPCONs above normal:


This condition applies when there is a general threat of possible terrorist activity against personnel and facilities, the nature and extent of which are unpredictable, and circumstances do not justify full implementation of FPCON BRAVO measures. However, it may be necessary to implement certain measures from higher THREATCONS resulting from intelligence received or as a deterrent. The measures in this THREATCON must be capable of being maintained indefinitely.


This condition applies when an increased and more predictable threat of terrorist activity exists. The measures in this THREATCON must be capable of being maintained for weeks without causing undue hardship, affecting operational capability, and aggravating relations with local authorities.


This condition applies when an incident occurs or intelligence received indicating some form of terrorist action against personnel and facilities is imminent. Implementation of measures in this THREATCON for more than a short period probably will create hardship and affect the peacetime activities of the unit and its personnel.


This condition applies in the immediate area where a terrorist attack has occurred or when intelligence has been received that terrorist action against a specific location or person is likely. Normally, this THREATCON is declared as a localized condition. See also anti-terrorism.

(*Terminology changed IAW DODI 2000.16, 14 Jun 01)

Updated: June 24, 2009 — 7:48 pm

The Author

Rich Fleetwood

Rich is the founder of SurvivalRing, now in it's 24th year, author of multimedia CDs and DVDs, loves the outdoors, his family, his geeky skill-set, and lives in rural southern Wyoming, just below the continental divide (long story, that...). Always ready to help others, he shares what he learns on multiple blogs, many social sites, and more. With a background in preparedness and survival skills, training with county, state, and national organizations, and skills in all areas of media and on air experience in live radio and television, Rich is always thinking about the "big picture", when it comes to helping individuals and families prepare for life's little surprises.

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