Post exercise evaluates response agencies
June 28, 2013
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (June 25, 2013) -- Fort Campbell quickly reacted to reports of an active shooter with hostages in the northern sector of post Tuesday, placing the installation on lockdown as Fort Campbell military and civilian law enforcement officials, along with emergency services, sprang into action for a post-wide exercise.
With an undisclosed number of hostages and unconfirmed KIAs, military police special agents on location briefed law enforcement personnel on situation reports, intelligence report indicators and their response procedures.
As emergency medical services arrived on the scene to treat fictitious casualties and prepare for more of the wounded as hostage negations began to take place, law and emergency personnel swiftly fell into their prospective roles and took control of the area.
Meanwhile, at another location, reports of an unexploded Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device, near Gate 6 area of installation, forced an additional emergency response.
While events such as these are possible, Tuesday's events were part of a full-scale training exercise to test Fort Campbell's abilities to respond to possible threats and evaluate its current emergency management and antiterrorism plan. Numerous agencies across the installation came together to take part in the exercise.
"The Garrison full-scale exercise enables multi-echelon training among various commands," said Bill Fedak, exercise planner assigned as the garrison antiterrorism officer. "Full-scale means that very little is left to simulation. For participating organizations, an event of this type requires actual people, real equipment, and the application of decision making at all levels. Teamwork is demonstrated throughout."
Fourteen on-post agencies and 16 off-post agencies from the surrounding communities took part this exercise, according to Fedak.
"In addition to staged incidents at the installation, the scenario also established conditions for local police outside of our boundaries to conduct a dragnet to spot vehicles within their jurisdictions that have been identified as 'threat'," said Fedak. "As a result, off-post law and emergency management agencies will be able to focus on communicating with Fort Campbell, conduct communications across county lines with each other and help build a common operating picture that helps benefit incident management."
From coordinating medical transport to conducting hostage negations and bomb disposal operations, the exercise focused on effective communication among response agencies. Additionally, it served as an assessment tool, evaluating whether installation and area response agencies responded effectively.
"Periodically, we test and evaluate ourselves based off of the standards that are established, not only by the Department of the Army, but by the Department of Homeland Security," said Fedak. "The overall goal for a full-scale exercise is to validate emergency management proficiencies under these standards.
While the post-wide exercise took place, care was taken to ensure responses to real-world emergencies across post were not affected.
"We provide a vast amount of garrison services to the community of Fort Campbell," said Fedak. "Full-scale exercises allow us to put training events of this magnitude on the calendar and prepare to segregate time out to train, not only under a garrison umbrella mission statement but within a separate unit or agency -- allowing them to form up tasks and skill sets they want to demonstrate during this specific training event, that they want to evaluate themselves on."
This long-range planning allowed for a smooth flow of events and limited disruption to normal services on the installation.
"[The exercise] allows everyone involved to meet their yearly and bi-annual accreditation, but also, on a high plane, it allows us to work as a team, as we would [in] situations that we outline in our scenarios -- as a Fort Campbell based team," Fedak said.