Joint Task Force-Alaska, State of Alaska participates in interagency exercise

By NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs

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ELMENDORF AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska — Joint Task Force-Alaska and the State of Alaska are among several federal, state, local government and private sector agencies that are participating in exercise Alaska Shield/Northern Edge 2007 beginning Monday and continuing through May 18. 

Alaskans living near or on military bases across the state may see a heightened level of activity during this exercise, potentially including emergency response vehicles, warning sirens, unannounced gate closures, and increased flying and maritime operations.  These activities are part of artificial scenarios testing Alaska’s integrated response to emergency situations, and the public should not be alarmed.  People with questions or concerns can call the Joint Task Force-Alaska media center at (907) 552-0592.

AKS/NE 07 is part of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command-sponsored, national-level Ardent Sentry/Northern Edge 2007 exercise.  Ardent Sentry is designed to challenge the coordination between Department of Defense, federal, state, local and private agencies in a series of challenging scenarios ranging from natural disasters to terrorist incidents. 

“Alaska has valuable natural resources and infrastructure to protect, as well as a vast border to secure,” said Maj. Gen. Craig Campbell, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Military & Veterans Affairs.  “This exercise will sharpen the state’s interoperability with other agencies to respond to possible terrorist attacks and disasters, as well as protect Alaskans during crisis.”

AKS/NE 07 will be the largest and most complex exercise undertaken in the history of Joint Task Force-Alaska. Joint Task Force-Alaska is the military component of Alaska’s integrated response, and its primary missions are to provide military support to civilian agencies when those agencies are overwhelmed, and to defend Alaska’s borders from unauthorized entry.  These missions are commonly called Defense Support of Civil Authorities and Homeland Defense.  They are performed in conjunction with state and local partners, like the Alaska National Guard, the FBI, the Municipality of Anchorage, the Alaska State Troopers, and many others. 

“Because of its size and strategic importance, Alaska is unique in hosting a military command focused on the defense and, when requested, support of the state,” said Lt. Gen. Fraser.  “This exercise is an opportunity to show how the local, state and federal partnership in Alaska provides the highest level of security and response.”

U.S. Northern Command was established Oct. 1, 2002, to provide command and control of Department of Defense homeland defense efforts and to coordinate defense support of civil authorities. NORAD is a bi-national United States and Canadian organization charged with the missions of aerospace warning and aerospace control for North America.

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Media interested in covering Alaska Shield/Northern Edge 2007 can call the Department of Military & Veterans Affairs Public Affairs Office at 428-6031 or the Joint Task Force-Alaska Media Center at 552-0592.