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Interagency exercise kicks off

5/8/2007 - ELMENDORF AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska (AFNEWS) -- The annual exercise Alaska Shield/Northern Edge 2007 got under way May 7 and runs through May 18. It is part of the U.S. Northern Command-sponsored, national-level Ardent Sentry/Northern Edge 2007 exercise.

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.

"Because of its size and strategic importance, Alaska is unique in hosting a military command focused on the defense and, when requested, support of the state," said Lt. Gen. Douglas Fraser, the Joint Task Force-Alaska commander. "This exercise is an opportunity to show how the local, state and federal partnership in Alaska provides the highest level of security and response."

As part of that coordination between agencies, a scenario was planned May 7 for the on-alert F-15 Eagles stationed here.

"The scenario was to intercept a simulated drug runner out of the Pacific Northwest," said Maj. Nick Guttman, a 3rd Wing weapons officer.

In this exercise, Canadian air force aircraft would initially respond while the "drug runner's" plane was over Canadian air space. It would then be handed off to a pair of F-15s as the plane approached Alaska.

Joint Task Force-Alaska is the military component of Alaska's integrated response. Its primary missions are to provide military support to civilian agencies and to defend Alaska's borders from unauthorized entry. Commonly called Defense Support to Civil Authorities or Homeland Defense, these missions are performed in conjunction with state and local partners.

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