Fort Bragg issues apology for freaking everyone out with a fake cyber attack

news
An entrance sign at Fort Bragg (Wikimedia Commons)

Fort Bragg officials issued an apology late Thursday, after realizing shutting off power to tens of thousands of post residents created alarm on the post and generated some rather bizarre conspiracy theories in the surrounding community.

This includes suggestions it was a terrorist attack... or a secret Army experiment that shorted out the power grid for miles.


The electricity at the world's largest military post was shut off without warning late Wednesday as part of an exercise to see how post residents would react to a cyber attack, Army officials later explained on Facebook.

"We understand the exercise conducted caused concern for many within our community and surrounding areas... For that, we apologize," said a statement posted late Thursday on the Fort Bragg Facebook page.

"However, we had to identify ways to keep #FortBragg mission capable," the post said. "Department of Defense requires military installations to conduct readiness exercises on an annual basis. The intent is to determine the readiness and resiliency of the installation in a real-world scenario."

The apology was accompanied by a photo of Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers spy movies.

Fort Bragg is spread across 163,000 acres and is home to more than 52,000 active duty service personnel, the Army says.

Post officials shut off the electricity for the entire post overnight Wednesday, including military facilities, businesses and homes.

The tens of thousands of people who live in barracks and post housing were given no warning so the Army could "replicate likely real-world reactions by everyone directly associated with the installation," said post officials.

Residents of the post reported on Facebook that their power was out from four to 12 hours. Post officials said operations returned to normal around 4 p.m. Thursday.

Reaction to the surprise blackout ranged from ardent support to complaints the outage caused refrigerated foods to spoil in thousands of homes.

Among the conspiracy theories was a suggestion that the post had tried to open a Stargate space portal, a reference to the popular science fiction movie and TV series about space traveling scientists.

"So is it true the power outage was Fort Bragg attempting to dial the 2nd Stargate?" asked someone named Bet JL. "I'm not buying this whole it was a training exercise thing."

Others reacted more angrily, claiming post officials "endangered the people you are supposed to protect."

"Does DOD standards recommend killing power to civilian housing?" asked Andrew Diaz in the fort's Facebook page. "How many people on CPAP machines could have suffocated because you targeted an area normally off limits for that very reason. How many carbon monoxide and fire detection systems were knocked offline?"

"What about all the spoiled food?" asked Breanna Lynn Copfer, who says her power was out for more than 10 hours. "Renters insurance is saying Fort Bragg is responsible for reimbursement since it was a planned outage? We literally bought groceries yesterday."

"I know (someone who) was hooked up to a CPAP and woke up gasping for air," wrote Ryan DeRocker. "He could have died because of the ignorance and poor planning with this exercise. You guys messed up big time."

———

©2019 The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

SEE ALSO: Fort Bragg's New Sexual Assault Awareness Event Features A Soldier Chained To A Chair In An 'Escape Room'

WATCH NEXT: That Time The Air Force Dropped A Humvee By Accident

Air Force Tech. Sgt. Cody Smith (Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force)

Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

A U.S. Air Force combat controller will receive the nation's third highest award for valor this week for playing an essential role in two intense firefight missions against the Taliban in Afghanistan last year.

Tech. Sgt. Cody Smith, an airman with the 26th Special Tactics Squadron, 24th Special Operations Wing at Air Force Special Operations Command, will receive the Silver Star at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico on Nov. 22, the service announced Monday.

Read More Show Less
Some dank nugs. (Flickr/Creative Commons/Dank Depot)

SARASOTA, Fla. — With data continuing to roll in that underscores the health benefits of cannabis, two Florida legislators aren't waiting for clarity in the national policy debates and are sponsoring bills designed to give medical marijuana cards to military veterans free of charge.

Read More Show Less

Former Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, whom President Donald Trump recently pardoned of his 2013 murder conviction, claims he was nothing more than a pawn whom generals sacrificed for political expediency.

The infantry officer had been sentenced to 19 years in prison for ordering his soldiers to open fire on three unarmed Afghan men in 2012. Two of the men were killed.

During a Monday interview on Fox & Friends, Lorance accused his superiors of betraying him.

"A service member who knows that their commanders love them will go to the gates of hell for their country and knock them down," Lorance said. "I think that's extremely important. Anybody who is not part of the senior Pentagon brass will tell you the same thing."

"I think folks that start putting stars on their collar — anybody that has got to be confirmed by the Senate for a promotion — they are no longer a soldier, they are a politician," he continued. "And so I think they lose some of their values — and they certainly lose a lot of their respect from their subordinates — when they do what they did to me, which was throw me under the bus."

Read More Show Less
Members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps march during a parade to commemorate the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), in Tehran September 22, 2011. (Reuters photo)

Fifteen years after the U.S. military toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein, the Army's massive two-volume study of the Iraq War closed with a sobering assessment of the campaign's outcome: With nearly 3,500 U.S. service members killed in action and trillions of dollars spent, "an emboldened and expansionist Iran appears to be the only victor.

Thanks to roughly 700 pages of newly-publicized secret Iranian intelligence cables, we now have a good idea as to why.

Read More Show Less
(Associated Press photo)

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Mark Esper expressed confidence on Sunday in the U.S. military justice system's ability to hold troops to account, two days after President Donald Trump pardoned two Army officers accused of war crimes in Afghanistan.

Trump also restored the rank of a Navy SEAL platoon commander who was demoted for actions in Iraq.

Asked how he would reassure countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq in the wake of the pardons, Esper said: "We have a very effective military justice system."

"I have great faith in the military justice system," Esper told reporters during a trip to Bangkok, in his first remarks about the issue since Trump issued the pardons.

Read More Show Less