National Capital Region Exercise Tests Urban Search and Rescue Response

By NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs | October 13, 2011

FORT LESLEY J. MCNAIR, D.C. - More than 70 federal and non-federal agencies will participate in Joint Force Headquarters – National Capital Region’s Exercise Capital Shield 12, an annual joint training exercise October 18 and 19 at the former Lorton Youth Detention Center in Lorton, Va.

These scenarios will be taking place in the air and on the ground. The Army's 12th Aviation Battalion, the Air Force’s 1st Helicopter Squadron and the 121st Medical Company (Air Ambulance) of the DC National Guard will be performing the air missions. These units will be transporting elements from the Army's 911th Technical Rescue Engineer Company to the exercise site and conduct medical evacuations of personnel with simulated injuries.

Because of these scenarios, Fairfax County Residents can expect a minor increase in helicopter traffic in the vicinity of Interstate 95 Exit 161 and the Lorton Training Facility. The helicopter activity is scheduled for 7 a.m. – 8 a.m. on October 18 and 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. on October 19.

Exercise Capital Shield 12 is designed to test and evaluate joint operations, techniques, procedures, and command and control relationships and enhance interoperability among Department of Defense and interagency partners. The goal of the exercise is to ensure that government agencies at every level are prepared to take coordinated action to protect the public in the event of an actual emergency in the case of either natural or man-made disasters inside the National Capital Region.

The exercise scenario will include response actions to mass casualty incidents and collapsed structures that require urban search and rescue and mass casualty evacuations. Participants outside DoD include Fairfax County Fire Department, Arlington County Fire Department, DC Fire and Emergency Medical Support, and over a dozen hospitals throughout the National Capital Region.

Joint Force Headquarters – National Capital Region, a regional subordinate of U.S. Northern Command, is charged with ground-based homeland defense and defense support of civil authorities in the National Capital Region. When called upon it must be ready to operate as a joint task force for whatever period may be necessary.