CAMP DAWSON, W.Va. – With the backdrop of the Appalachian Mountains, the District of Columbia National Guard's Multi-Agency Augmentation Command conducted annual training Aug. 2-8.
The MAC provides trained personnel to support the D.C. Joint Force Headquarters, D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, the National Guard Joint Operations Center, National Guard Bureau – Legislative Liaison, the Joint Force Headquarters National Capital Region, the White House Military Officer, and other Federal and District mission partners.
"We had several training opportunities that we wanted to accomplish while at our annual training. Due to the unique nature of the MAC mission, we don't usually train together often," said Maj. Jason Hanslovan, operations officer for the MAC. "These unique training opportunities were created for our service members to help them refamiliarize themselves with the basics because once a Soldier, always a Soldier, and some of those skills are perishable."
Soldiers demonstrated their capabilities and team-building skills at Camp Dawson's live-fire weapons familiarization range and an obstacle course. There was also an all-hazards exercise and Army Combat Fitness Test familiarization.
"The all-hazard exercise was really one of the main events," said Hanslovan. "The focus was on a CBRN [Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear] related incident."
The exercise enabled Soldiers to think through the DCNG's response and support efforts during a CBRN incident. Each team presented its findings to the leadership team, including Col. Paul Franken, MAC commander.
"The MAC has a pool of highly trained and credentialed officers, both from their military and civilian experience, [whom] I can send [to assist in] a crisis," said Franken. "Exercises like this provide us an opportunity to bring together these experts, work through a specific scenario and gain a lot of learning points that we can take back and incorporate into our larger all-hazards plan."
In addition to assisting during crises, the MAC supports National Special Security Events and the State of the Union Address and can augment the Joint Task Force-DC for Domestic Support to Civil Authorities operations.
"The MAC also has the National Guard's only criminal investigative and protective services capability," said Franken. "That is the only element like that currently in the National Guard that can provide support to either complex investigations or protective services."
While many units within the DCNG are the visible face of the organization, often the specialized Soldiers of the MAC are behind the scenes, providing analysis to support the senior decision-making process.
"We're looking at how we better support the District of Columbia National Guard in the future since the operational dynamic in the District has changed from prior years," said Franken. "Our support to COVID-19 missions, First Amendment and security activities in the National Capital Region over the past 18 months demonstrates a need for deeper integration with our federal and district mission partners. We go where the missions take us, we try to shape the outcome and we're trained and ready."