Client: US Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) J7
Mission Area: Joint Operations
Successfully executing responses to disasters requires experience, timely staff coordination, and integrated execution at local, state, and federal levels. Imagine an 8.5 magnitude earthquake that shuts down major ports and airfields, decimating the capability to care for the citizens who rely on those facilities to survive. Now place yourself in Alaska’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, with your nearest regional partner over 1,400 miles away. What are your initial actions? What resources are available within the state? When can you expect federal and regional support? What do you tell your citizens?
Fortunately, USNORTHCOM, the National Guard Bureau, and Analytic Services have been helping states prepare for such scenarios under a regional exercise program entitled Vigilant Guard. When USNORTHCOM, Vigilant Guard’s executive agent, needed an experienced practitioner to develop regional exercises to ensure the integrated efforts of local, state, and federal emergency services, we supplied a solution. Since August 2005, ANSER has developed and supported 22 Vigilant Guard exercises, providing realistic disaster response training for over 31,000 civil and military staff members and operational personnel addressing a myriad of man-made and natural challenges.
In April 2010, ANSER completed a six-day earthquake exercise in Anchorage to test over 4,600 exercise participants: staff and operators from 22 civilian agencies, National Guard forces from 10 states, and personnel from 24 federal agencies providing integrated planning and response to citizen needs and 19 separate field training events. ANSER provides opportunities to better communicate and respond to local populations in crisis and to fix the kinks in the system. Exercise products, realistic forums, focused data collection, spot-on analysis, and relevant after-action reporting ensure improved integrated preparedness.
Alexander Graham Bell said: “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” Our Nation faces a vast amount of natural and man-made threats. Although we can’t foresee disasters, we can always prepare ourselves for likely risks by realistically exercising responder processes and procedures in stressful, demanding environments.
National Guard support to citizens in times of crisis stretches as far back as the efforts to protect citizens from hostile Native Americans to recent flooding responses throughout the Midwest. Preparing for these threats helps our Nation’s responders, citizen soldiers, and the civilian agencies they support, anticipate challenges, and take action.
For more information, contact us.