US Army North recently participated in Vigilant Shield '07, an exercise designed to test the Department of Defense's ability to response to an attack on the homeland.

The exercise emphasized the synchronized response of various DOD agencies to a variety of homeland defense scenarios, including cyber attacks, border security breaches, missile defense operations and a nuclear accident.

"This was the first true exercise where we could test the integration between US NORTHERN COMMAND, Joint Forces Command, Headquarters-NCR and USARNORTH in response to an attack on our homeland," said LTC Andrew Lucke, Chief, Homeland Defense and Special Plans for U.S. Army North.

Troops from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard, along with Canadian Forces in the U.S. and at the three North American Air Defense regions took part in this exercise.

Interagency participants included the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Energy, state of Arizona, and the city of Tucson, Ariz.

The various types of real-world scenarios developed for this exercise provided a realistic training opportunity for members of the command.

"The scenarios used during this exercise highlighted the importance of interagency coordination and cooperation needed in the initial response phase of a catastrophic event," said Lt. Col. John Baniwicz, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers liaison to USARNORTH.

"The goals of this exercise were to improve the DOD's capacity to manage a series of extreme events; improve seamless interaction of DOD with interagency response, validate authorities, strategies, plans, policies, procedures, andprotocols," said MSG David Morrison, Senior Plans NCO. "It emphasized a sustainable, systematic, integrated DOD exercise program to support the national strategy for homeland defense.