U.S. Fleet Forces Command Tailors Operational Support for Vigilant Shield 09

By NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs


NORFOLK (NNS) -- U.S. Fleet Forces Command's (USFF) staff enhanced its capabilities to support global regional combatant commanders while simultaneously supporting U.S. federal disaster response efforts as it wrapped up its participation in Vigilant Shield 2009 (VS09) Nov. 12-18.

The focus of the North American Aerospace Defense Command- and U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM)-led exercise was on homeland defense and defense support to civil authorities. The exercise included scenarios to achieve exercise objectives within the maritime, aerospace, ballistic missile defense, cyber, consequence management, strategic communications and counter terrorism domains. A variety of interagency as well as international partners participated.

"Working closely with our partners in North America to support NORTHCOM's mission of homeland defense is essential to improve our responses to continental events," explained Rear Adm. Dennis FitzPatrick, director of USFF's Joint Operation Division.

"Vigilant Shield 09 was an ideal venue to continue increasing our international partnering efforts which will enable more seamless multinational cooperation as we constantly improve our plans and abilities to protect our citizens," FitzPatrick added.

VS09 ran concurrently with other exercises including U.S. Strategic Command's Global Lightning 09 and Bulwark Defender 09, Canada Command's Determined Dragon, California National Guard's Vigilant Guard and the State of California's Golden Guardian.

All of the exercises and participants focused on improving responses to crisis-type scenarios and enhancing interoperability between agencies, services and countries.

Another training objective for USFF's staff was to move toward obtaining full certification as a maritime operations center (MOC).

The MOC is designed to function in a global network with maritime operations centers linked to share information and develop a seamless common operating picture across theater boundaries.

"Operating in the MOC construct improves USFF's ability to operate more efficiently and effectively in the joint arena by using cross-functional organization to streamline information flow. This leverages organizational knowledge to speed and improve operational decisions," said Rear Adm. Mark Buzby, USFF's deputy chief of staff for Global Force Management and Joint Operations (N3/N5).

"We, as a staff, took significant strides towards enabling our commander to make more informed operational decisions while supporting regional combatant commanders. I'm sure we'll continue improving throughout our certification process, but this was a substantial step forward for our team," Buzby explained.

The next major step in USFF's MOC certification process is the pre-accreditation exercise of Ardent Sentry 09, another NORAD/NORTHCOM annually scheduled exercise slated for early next summer.

For more news from U.S. Fleet Forces Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/clf.