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Homeland Security

USAG-HI to host realistic ATEX scenarios

June 21, 2011

By Elliott W. Ross, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii will conduct its annual antiterrorism exercise, or ATEX, “Rapid Response 2011,” on Sills Field, here, June 23-24.

This exercise is a continuing effort to test, assess and validate emergency response plans and procedures to an act of terrorism.

The mass notification/giant voice system will begin with “exercise, exercise, exercise” and will announce general public information and all incidents that have occurred on post.

The system will initially state that everyone should remain indoors, stay off the roads and await further instructions. To alleviate confusion and anxiety, everyone is encouraged to follow instructions as the scenario unfolds.

However, do not be alarmed or panic. Real-world announcements would not begin with “exercise, exercise, exercise.”

Soldiers and civilians may also receive email updates with “exercise, exercise, exercise.”

All Schofield Barracks gates will close around 10:30 a.m., June 23, for about 10 minutes. Motorists should plan for additional travel time, due to expected traffic congestion.

Community members with appointments on post, like at the Schofield Barracks Health Clinic, are encouraged to either arrive very early for their appointment or postpone appointments occurring from 10-11 a.m., June 23.

Heightened security measures, including a temporarily increased elevation of force protection conditions, will also take place at all gates, here, throughout the exercise. USAG-HI’s Directorate of Emergency Services asks for the community’s patience at the entry control points.

Garrison response forces will implement baseline antiterrorism physical security measures, as well as random antiterrorism measures throughout the exercise.

Soldiers, families and civilians need to take this exercise and its actions seriously.

The ATEX takes proactive measures to ensure the installation and the workforce are prepared to react in case of a real act of terrorism. The ATEX also promotes the idea of situational awareness, safety and personal responsibility in preventing attacks.

Col. Douglas Mulbury, commander, USAG-HI, asks for the community’s patience and understanding, as the garrison conducts this important exercise that will enhance USAG-HI’s ability to protect its most valuable assets and resources: the Soldiers, families and civilians of USAG-HI.

While the ATEX scenarios may inconvenience community members temporarily, the positive outweigh the negatives, with Soldiers, civilians and families learning what to do and how to react instinctively in a man-made disaster.

Part of the intent of this year’s exercise is to demonstrate the ability to execute an aggressive antiterrorism program that protects USAG-HI personnel, families, facilities and material resources against a terrorist attack.

Antiterrorism is a defensive action intended to reduce the chance of an attack using terrorist tactics at specific points, or to reduce the vulnerability of possible targets to such tactics.

When properly employed, these defensive measures reduce the vulnerability of individuals and property to terrorist acts. Defensive measures include USAG-HI’s military and civilian forces’ response and containment of a situation.

Every individual has a personal responsibility to employ force protection and antiterrorism countermeasures daily.

For the duration of the ATEX, there will be an increased visibility of first responders, such as law enforcement, federal firefighters and health clinic personnel. They will be responding to assist Soldiers, who are acting as victims, spectators and witnesses.

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