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Northern Edge

Ardent Sentry/Northern Edge 2007

ARDENT SENTRY-NORTHERN EDGE 07 (AS-NE 07) was a Joint Chiefs of Staffdirected, U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) sponsored homeland defense and Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) exercise that took place 30 April - 17 May 2007. The Homeland Security Council designated ARDENT SENTRY-NORTHERN EDGE(and associated exercises VIGILANT GUARD, ALASKA SHIELD, INDIANA SENTRY, BLUE FLAG, POSITIVE RESPONSE, and the 2007 National Hurricane Preparedness Exercise) as a National Level Exercise for 2007. This exercise included Canada Command as a full partner, and was the largest (number of personnel, length of exercise, number of venues, and cost) and most complex exercise undertaken in the exercise series.

The 4th and 7th Battalions, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division deployed six helicopters and 42 soldiers in support of the field training exercise portion of Ardent Sentry/Northern Edge 2007. Soldiers and Airmen from the 103rd Civil Support Team of the Alaska National Guard and the 101st Civil Support Team of the Idaho National Guard assisted in the exercise. Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 52nd Aviation regiment's "Flying Dragons" based at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, worked with Air National Guardsmen from Kulis Air National Guard Base, Alaska, and active duty Air Force aircrew from nearby Eielson Air Force Base.

Ardent Sentry is designed to hone coordination between the Department of Defense as well as federal, state, local and private agencies in a series of challenging scenarios ranging from natural disasters to terrorist incidents. As part of that coordination between agencies, a scenario was planned for the on-alert F-15C Eagles stationed at Elmendorf. The scenario was to intercept a simulated drug runner out of the Pacific Northwest. In this example, the Canadian Air Force would initially respond while the plane was over their air space. It would then be handed off to the pair of F-15s as the drug runner's plane approached Alaska.

The objectives of Ardent Sentry/Northern Edge 2007 were to:

  • Demonstrate multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional unity of effort in support of a civilian-led response to a national crisis through collaboration with local, state, and federal responders.
  • State leaders are provided an opportunity to orchestrate and lead response efforts within their state to include the use of state assets, emergency management assistance compacts, and support from federal resources, including active duty military forces.
  • The National Guard is provided with an opportunity to exercise with USNORTHCOM, other federal agencies, and representatives from local, state, and non-governmental organizations involved in homeland security.
  • USNORTHCOM is provided an opportunity to exercise support of civil authorities in the execution of DOD Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, or High-yield Explosive (CBRNE) response plans and Joint Task Force operations.
  • North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) will exercise against a variety of threats.
  • Improve coordination with Canadian partners in cross-border events.
  • Explore seams in homeland defense and DSCA processes with DOD, U.S. Pacific Command, U.S. Strategic Command, and non-DOD government agencies.
  • Build on previous exercises and real-world lessons learned.

AS-NE 07 was a full-scale exercise involving the strategic and operational coordination between key incident management centers at the local, state, regional, national, and international levels, as well as the deployment of tactical response forces. To provide training for the DOD, USNORTHCOM deployed a Joint Task Force headquarters to each of the main exercise venues to command and control active duty military forces in support of the state and federal response. Specifically, DOD involvement included:

  • Joint Task Force Civil Support deploying to a catastrophic CBRNE Consequence Management event.
  • Joint Task Force Alaska deploying within in the state of Alaska in response to a variety of scenarios.
  • One U.S. Army North Operational Command Post deploying to prepare for a catastrophic hurricane event.
  • U.S. Pacific Fleet and U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area vessels along with the Canadian Navy conducting operations in the Gulf of Alaska.

The primary exercise events took place in Indiana and New England, as well as Alaska and its adjacent waters. NORAD events (simulated and live-fly) took place over multiple locations in the United States and Canada. With the exception of Indiana, there was minimal deployment of active duty forces with little to no direct impact on local communities. There was no crossborder deployments.

National Planning Scenario One (detonation of a 10-kiloton improvised nuclear device) provided the scenario where local, state, and federal responders had the opportunity to work together to handle a national crisis. Several local and state organizations provided the initial response to the event. The National Guard of Indiana, Illinois and Ohio were part of the state response and more than 2,000 active duty military personnel assisted with the federal response. All exercise events for this scenario took place at Camp Atterbury and the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center. This exercise presented an opportunity for federal active duty and State National Guard forces to work together. Other participants in the federal support of local and state efforts included the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region V.

AS-NE 07 included a hurricane scenario - impacting the New England area - that was the capstone event for hurricane season preparations. Participants included the six New England states, New York, FEMA Regions I and II, and numerous federal agencies. The event was intended to test the full range of domestic incident management procedures in response to a hurricane under the National Response Plan and 2007 Hurricane Concept of Operations Plan. This event was co-sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security/FEMA and DOD.

The state of Alaska, in coordination with Joint Task Force Alaska, conducted multiple homeland defense, homeland security, and critical infrastructure protection events throughout the state. Major participants included the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security, and FEMA Region X along with state, local and private sector organizations. Maritime events took place in the waters adjacent to Alaska and include U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, and Canadian Navy forces.

Aerospace events took place across all the exercise venues, exercising the ability to mobilize resources for aerospace defense, aerospace control, maritime warning, drug interdiction, and coordination of air operations in a disaster area.



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