NORAD, USNORTHCOM train in Ardent Sentry – Northern Edge ‘07

By Petty Officer 1st Class Joaquin Juatai | NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs | May 12, 2007

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command are putting their skills into practice during Exercise Ardent Sentry – Northern Edge ’07, which began April 30 and continues through May 17.

Ardent Sentry-Northern Edge ‘07 is a Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff directed, USNORTHCOM sponsored Homeland Defense and Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) exercise.

The Homeland Security Council designated Ardent Sentry and six associated exercises as a national level exercise for 2007. This exercise is the largest and most complex exercise undertaken by USNORTHCOM.

Personnel and equipment from U.S. Army North were deployed to exercise DSCA response capabilities in the state of Rhode Island, working closely with local, state and National Guard personnel to respond to a simulated hurricane. During this portion of the exercise, close coordination between the interagency partners was vital.

On the heels of the simulated hurricane response, local, state and federal responders as well as military support personnel are responding to the simulated detonation of a nuclear weapon in the state of Indiana. USNORTHCOM’s Joint Task Force – Civil Support is on hand, as well as the involved civil elements who would respond to such a disaster.

A Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High-Yield Explosive Consequence Management Response Force (CCMRF), consisting of more than 1,200 military personnel with aviation, communication and logistics capabilities has deployed from bases throughout the nation to Indiana.

Although large numbers of troops are in action in the continental Unites States, USNORTHCOM’s Joint Task Force – Alaska is also involved, defending against simulated attacks on infrastructure and military facilities throughout the state of Alaska.

ASNE ‘07 also includes cooperative play by and with the government of Canada and NORAD, a bi-national command exercising its capabilities to ensure air sovereignty.

ASNE ‘07 is a significant event and includes several firsts, including the actual deployment of and cooperation between more than 3,000 state, local and federal responders with more than 2,000 active-duty troops in Indiana.

The exercise also features the first deployment of the CCMRF, and DSCA cooperation between USNORTHCOM, deployed units, local, state and federal responders and reflects the successful evolution of interagency support and response which has been developing since the formation of the command in 2002.

“The U.S. Military brings some unique capabilities,” said General Gene Renuart, commander of NORAD and USNORTHCOM. He explained that through exercises like ASNE ‘07, NORAD and USNORTHCOM can “make sure that, paired with federal agencies, state and local authorities, those capabilities can be rapidly put into place to mitigate the effects of such a disaster.”

Renuart explained that through the exercise difficult questions can be asked and answers developed should the need arise for real-world response.

Utilizing the actual personnel in the exercise allows responders to meet each other, share information and practice their skills, making for a stronger national response team overall, and ensuring that capabilities and interagency support continue to develop and improve.

NORAD is a bi-national United States and Canadian organization charged with the missions of aerospace warning and aerospace control for North America. U.S. Northern Command was established to provide command and control of Department of Defense homeland defense efforts and to coordinate defense support of civil authorities. For more information on the commands, please visit www.northcom.mil or www.norad.mil.