Exercise United Defense 02-2 was held in Colorado Springs on Sept. 16-19, 2002. The Department of Defense exercise was the first test of the Northern Command staff's abilities to respond to several types of terrorist incidents within the United States, including an attack on an oil refinery, and to work with other government agencies.
Northern Command prepared plans for defending the United States homeland if US forces invade Iraq. Northern Command has to be prepared here to protect the homeland, and an exercise was slated for February 2003 to validate the details of this homeland protection plan. That exercise, United Defense '03, established a baseline for homeland protection in addition to the expanded duties of Northern Command in providing consistent protection. The exercise was a means for validating NORTHCOM plans in support of the CENTCOM (US Central Command) plan.
The exercise "United Defense '04" involved the simulated detonation of a portable nuclear weapon in Cotulla, and a radiation leak from the Comanche Peak Power Plant in Glen Rose, as well as a fierce hurricane in Corpus Christi. UD '04 illustrated the evolving nature of Homeland Security.
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