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Homeland Security

American Forces Press Service

Northcom's Vibrant Response Exercise Reaches Midpoint

By Army Staff Sgt. Timothy Koster
362nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind., July 28, 2014 – Vibrant Response '14, a major field training exercise directed by U.S. Northern Command and executed by U.S. Army North, has reached its midpoint.

Conducted here and at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Butlerville, Indiana, the exercise brings together service members and civilians from the military and other federal and state agencies throughout the country for training in responding to a catastrophic domestic incident.

The exercise is split into two iterations with different missions based on the same scenario: a simulated nuclear attack in a major U.S. metropolitan area.

The first half of the exercise, which operated July 21-27, focused primarily on training the Defense Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive Response Force, which deals with the initial response to a crisis, including helping displaced citizens and starting investigations into who, or what, caused the catastrophes.

"I feel like we've been pretty effective in training these guys to do their mission and to be confirmed to do it for another year," said Army Lt. Col. Michael Maloney, senior mission oversight officer for Vigilant Response.

Agencies from more than 28 states and territories have participated in the exercise this year.

"So far, I think Vibrant Response is going as planned," said Al Garcia, operations chief of the tactical operations center and a Clearfield, Utah, resident, noting the wide range of personnel and capabilities involved.

This year also marked the first time the Indiana Department of Homeland Security participated in the multi-agency exercise alongside the Defense Department, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Technical, Nuclear Forensics Task Force, and the FBI.

"Partnering with the DoD, the National Guard, the state emergency management agencies and learning how we all operate and how we communicate is essential," Maloney said, "because if this ever actually happened, it would be nice to have a little bit of ground work and some experience that we could build on."

The second half of the exercise, scheduled Aug. 1-9, will focus on the command and control for the chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive response. Officials said the second part of the exercise involves more of the long-term program the participating agencies have to help in recovering the affected area.

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