By Staff Sgt. Corey Baltos, Army North PAONovember 14, 2013
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- U.S. Army North (Fifth Army) practiced its response capabilities Oct. 28-Nov. 5 during an annual command post exercise.
As the Army service component command and joint force land component command to U.S. Northern Command, Army North plays a key supporting role during catastrophic events in the homeland.
The purpose of the exercise was to plan and conduct operations that take into account less likely possibilities but which still need to be prepared for due to their potential severity, said Lt. Col. Philip Halliburton, Army North exercise planner.
"We also incorporated continuity of operations, Defense Support of Civil Authorities and Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear planning," he added.
The exercise featured the combined efforts of most of Army North's staff sections working together in the Current Operations and Integration Center.
"The scenarios in the exercise have to be realistic. We have to be prepared and have a plan to support relief efforts," said Lt. Col. Michael Brough, operations center team leader.
Sgt. Dustin Rdiall, and other members of the Army North finance section, tracked the notional "money" being spent to move troops and supplies. Meanwhile, the personnel section tracked where and how many troops were moving around the homeland.
"Working together in one room, seeing each other every day, makes it easier to get answers during the exercise -- and it will make everything (simpler) if we have to do this for real," Rdiall said.
While the tasks may seem difficult, working together in the Current Operations and Integration Center made the job easier for the teammates because help was always nearby.
"When we come together for these exercises, we get reintroduced to the people who work in the different sections and practice the skills needed in a real world event," said Brough. "When we have to do this for real, it's a whole lot easier when everyone knows the people in the other sections, what they do and how to accomplish the mission."