Army North to deploy for hurricane capstone exercise

By NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs


FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas – Elements of U.S. Army North will deploy tomorrow from Fort Sam Houston, Texas, to Rhode Island to participate in the nation’s capstone training event for the 2007 hurricane season.

Exercise Ardent Sentry-Northern Edge 07 will offer Operational Command Post 2 and the 167th Theater Sustainment Command unique training opportunities during a hurricane scenario in Providence.

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

The Homeland Security Council has designated Ardent Sentry and associated exercises (Northern Edge, Vigilant Guard, 2007 National Hurricane Preparedness Exercise, Blue Flag, Positive Response and Alaska Shield) as a national level exercise for 2007.  This exercise will be the largest and most complex exercise undertaken by USNORTHCOM. 

Operational Command Post 2 is exercising how it would deploy and command and control military forces responding as part of a federal hurricane relief effort, said Lt. Col. Joe Stawick, operations officer of the deploying element.

Stawick said this is the first time that Operational Command Post 2 will be collocated with a Joint Field Office, a temporary multiagency center that coordinates federal response across 15 Emergency Support Functions ranging from transportation and communications to public works, medical support and search and rescue. 

“Collocating with the JFO will allow us to see how they operate,” Stawick said. “We want to learn how they process information and how the Emergency Support Functions interact so we can do a better job of anticipating needs and provide more timely response.”

This also is the first time that the 167th Theater Sustainment Command will assume from Army North a support mission called reception, staging, onward movement and integration.

Sgt. Maj. Sherman Hargrove, the 167th’s liaison, explained that a team from Army North will begin receiving notional active duty forces that flow into the disaster area. The team’s mission is to ensure that the responding forces have food and shelter until moving to their assigned locations in support of civil authorities.

“We’ll be looking at our processes after Army North hands off the RSOI mission to us,” he said. “The 167th will also review our procedures for our Early Entry Module, which is designed to provide sustainment like food, fuel and equipment to support active duty forces during a deployment.”

Ardent Sentry 07 is part of an ongoing cycle of training that prepares people to face real challenges, said Lt. Col. Paul Condon, Army North exercise planner.

Exercises like this provide an excellent opportunity for federal, state, and local agencies to build stronger relationships, he said.

“This exercise is designed to be challenging and complex,” Condon said. “It allows participants to work together, to examine their response plans and look at new options and solutions.”

As the Army’s service component to U.S. Northern Command, Army North’s mission includes homeland defense and civil support.

In addition to deploying the Operational Command Post, Army North will have a defense coordinating officer at both the hurricane scenario and at a nuclear detonation scenario in Indiana. The defense coordinating officers serve as the Department of Defense’s first responders to validate requests for civil support and to command and control initial responding active-duty forces.

Thousands of federal, state, local, and private sector individuals will exercise in several other events, including a maritime venue, an aerospace venue, an Alaska venue and a cross-border venue on the U.S. border with Canada.  

Ardent Sentry-Northern Edge 07 is a bi-lateral exercise that involves Canada and numerous federal, state and local agencies in the United States and is designed to test the full range of domestic incident management procedures under the National Response Plan and 2007 Hurricane Concept of Operations.

The Homeland Security Council has designated the exercise as one of only two National Level Exercises for 2007.

This event is co-sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Defense.