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PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: We've got to go straight to the Pentagon. We've got some breaking news out of Washington right now.
Bob Franken -- what do you have? Good morning again.
BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning again, Paula.
This is information that has been gleaned by the Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, who is inside the building, as a matter of fact. The work goes on.
There is, in the military, an alert level that starts with Alpha, that's the lowest one, up to Delta. And the news is, is that all Central Command forces in the United States that are based at Tampa, but more importantly in the region, which includes Afghanistan and the Middle East, all of the facilities are now on Force Protection Delta. That is the very highest alert status. That includes all Central Command units in more than 20 countries, and their headquarters in Tampa, Florida.
Now, the military bases in the United States, most of them have gone up from Force Protection Alpha to Force Protection Bravo. So, that is a step up comparable to what's going on in the civilian sector.
There are also, right now around the United States, 10 combat air patrol sites. That means that there are 10 locations where planes are in the air, combat planes, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, always patrolling the skies. In addition to which there are 15 locations which have what they call stripler (ph), which means that the pilots could scramble, and they could be in the air in just a few minutes.
And of course, we have already seen the video. It's quite chilling video, actually. It shows the various portable Avenger missile sites, which are now armed and set up around Washington. We do not have the exact number. There are some operational details that, of course, the Pentagon would not want to give out. But this is the first time that armed missiles have guarded the nation's capital since the Cuban missile crisis in the 1960s.
Of course, all of this is on the day that the remembrances are going to be held here at the Pentagon. So, on the one hand, there is going to be the pause for the reflection on the tragedy that hit the United States and this building just a year ago. But on the other hand, there is the forward move, the war on terror, and the very aggressive efforts to provide security for the United States, particularly on this day -- Paula.
ZAHN: So, Bob, help us better understand what that means when you bump it up to Force Protection Delta in the Middle East and in Afghanistan. Exactly what happens?
FRANKEN: That means that people are at their weapons. There is nothing like being ready, being by your phone. It means that people are ready for attack. That is not that an attack is imminent, of course, but to be prepared if something happens with an expectation that it very well might.
ZAHN: Chilling to think about it. Bob Franken, thanks for the update.
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