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HURREX/Citadel Gale Tests Region's Emergency Storm Training

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS130523-20

By Patrick Gordon, Naval District Washington Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Naval District Washington (NDW) is participating in the HURREX/Citadel Gale annual exercise, May 13-24, in preparation for the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season. This a commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) and Fleet Forces Command (FFC) exercise.

Hurricane storms can cause great damage to areas they pass over, and the Navy prepares every year to mitigate that damage.

'One of the reasons the annual HURREX is important is the exercise gives the NDW headquarters, NDW installations, and tenant activities an opportunity to validate their destructive weather plans and make adjustments from lessons learned prior to the start of the annual hurricane season,' said Thompson Gerke, NDW senior operations planner.

This year's NDW exercise will consist of three artificially constructed tropical cyclones that will develop and intensify to hurricane strength, and will threaten the Eastern Coast of the U.S., the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean coastal regions.

For exercise preparation, regional commanders, senior officers present afloat (SOPAs), and SOPA administrators will review disaster preparedness plans and conduct individual and team training. Regional commanders will also conduct pre-exercise and pre-tropical cyclone season discussions with disaster preparedness officers of subordinate commands to address exercise scenarios, emergency plans, and recovery efforts.

'The concept of operations for the exercise affects the Navy as a whole because it engages military and civilian personnel in preparedness scenarios that are based on realistic natural weather threats to our Navy installations,' said Larry R. Nelson, NDW director of training and readiness. 'Furthermore, the initiative behind the exercise is to measure the readiness level of Navy resources. This evaluative process can ensure that leadership has an accurate snapshot of the preparedness level for the respective facilities and regions.'

The realism of a hurricane threat is part of the exercise.

'NDW installations have chosen exercises that are designed to specifically challenge, test, and measure objectives that are unique to their geographical area,' said Nelson. 'But installation commanders have the flexibility to balance day-to-day operations while still meeting the exercise schedule requirements. Should a real-world event occur during the exercise, the installation's priority is to utilize their resources to effectively respond to the incident and resume the exercise play when the commanders deem it's feasible to do so.'

The events of last year's devastating Hurricane Sandy bring a greater gravity to this season's HURREX/Citadel Gale event.

'When these pre-exercise processes take place, the regions and installations have an opportunity to review, revise, and discuss contingency plans based on prior issues or lessons learned they may have experienced with Hurricane Sandy,' said Nelson. 'The saying, 'train like you're going to fight,' certainly applies to the mindset in exercise development and participation. Exercises are essential to measure the actual readiness capability of installation and regional resources. Without the exercises, the mistakes or deficiencies made during a real event may be costly in terms of property damages and public safety.'

For more news from Naval District Washington, visit www.navy.mil/local/ndw/ .

This story is part one of a two part series on HURREX/Citadel Gale.

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