102 IW Conducts Multi-Scenario Training Exercise
By Tech. Sgt. Kerri Spero, 102nd Intelligence Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 06, 2015
OTIS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mass. -- Members of the 102nd Intelligence Wing participated in a large-scale Domestic Operations training exercise June 2 - 4 here. The exercise helped improve the wing's preparedness as incident responders in the Cape Cod area. The primary goal of the three day exercise was to enhance the coordination and response efforts between various wing agencies.
The scenario started with threating remarks directed towards the wing through their official Facebook page. In addition, there was a protest at the main gate, active shooters, a suicide bomber, and a train wreck releasing a toxic gas. This all played out during a simulated cyber-attack to the entire New England region.
"If something were to happen from either an actual organized country or something along the lines of ISIS, and they were to take down power or the internet, those critical infrastructure pieces would shut down a lot of things people don't think about," said Master Sgt. Alicen Hogan, Noncommissioned Officer In Charge of exercise planning. "A lot of automated things are controlled by electronic systems, such as trains for example, which could get derailed. You have crises that are going to occur which require first-responder reaction."
In addition to dealing with the power outage caused by the cyber-attack, which by itself required precision command and control, three other major areas of focus were injected in order to test the wing's response capabilities: an active shooter scenario, a Major Accident Response Exercise, and a Quick Response Force.
Command and control was a major part of the exercise and an Emergency Operations Center directed by Col. Chris Hamilton, 102nd Mission Support Group Commander, swung into action. Using carefully designed scenarios, command elements and emergency response units effectively demonstrated the wing's ability to recover from such attacks.
"I had to reach out and pull information at first," said Hamilton. "We would expect to have growing pains. As it progressed the EOC became a well-oiled machine. Teamwork was evident from day one. We started immediate improvement. "
Hamilton congratulated the team for a job well done and was impressed with the improvement over the three day exercise. He is confident the EOC team we have assembled is well equipped to provide command and control for a real-world crisis, when and if that may occur.
"We were working on Domestic Operations which is really the bread and butter of the National Guard," said Maj. Evan Lagasse, Officer In Charge of exercise planning. "We exist to serve our local communities in their time of need, so we are also practicing search and rescue missions and wellness checks." Training and participation in exercises is critical to the National Guard's ability to respond quickly and effectively to real-world situations.
The exercise finished successfully with enthusiastic participation from various wing agencies. The wing came together and utilized its existing protocols, procedures and processes, to effectively communicate with each other to address the crisis and restore the 102IW to a fully functioning unit.
"The majority of our support agencies played a critical role in this exercise: our medical folks, civil engineers, security forces, logistics, communications, personnel and many more," said Lagasse. "It was a huge team effort. Everybody pitched in with large contributions."
Another unique aspect of the exercise included a site visit from members of the Air Combat Command Inspector General team from Langley Air Force Base, Va. Their purpose here was to evaluate the Wing Inspection Team as the exercise unfolded.
"Essentially what they're looking at is the health of the program and ensuring that our Wing Inspector General is doing a great job of ensuring we're meeting all Air Force requirements and objectives," said Lagasse. "So far the feedback has been very positive, we have a very robust program that is improving every day and this exercise has been a great opportunity to provide additional training and show that we know how to do our jobs." The Wing Inspection Team members were assigned to specific scenarios and briefed on expectations, standards and facilitation needs in order to evaluate the response effort.
To view the video story on the exercise, please visit this link: https://youtu.be/QRpxUJkISPU