FORT HAMILTON, N.Y. – One of the U.S. Army’s guiding priorities is readiness. In alignment with this priority, Fort Hamilton’s Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security kicked-off their annual protection-themed exercise program with a Continuity of Operations Program training event, Feb. 1, at the Community Club. This program is essential for garrisons to enhance readiness, respond to threats, and improve interoperability with mission partners.
“Taking care of our people remains paramount,” said Col. Craig Martin, garrison commander. “This exercise allows our team to test our abilities and work through challenges to keep our community safe.”
The COOP is part of a five-month lead up to the full-scale exercise scheduled for May. Following a briefing with city, state, and federal partners, the DPTMS team mapped out a plan for directorates and units to train on mission-essential tasks. James Steinberg, Fort Hamilton’s Emergency Manager, lead the coordination for this important endeavor.
“The objective of these lead-up exercises is to ensure that our staff is prepared to take on more complex problems during our later exercises and real-world incidents,” Steinberg said. “If we can get these relatively simple tasks right, we can perform at a higher level when it really matters.”
The first in-person training event was the setting up of an Emergency Relocation Facility in accordance with the COOP plan. The intent of the exercise was to establish an operations center in an alternate location on short notice.
“This is a small but extremely important part of our ability to conduct our mission, and could mean the difference between success and failure during exercises or real-world events,” Steinberg added.
One of the focuses throughout this year’s exercise is to conduct training on Fort Hamilton’s protection requirements and Defense Support to Civil Authorities mission. Fort Hamilton conducted DSCA operations during 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy, and was prepared to act as a Base Support Installation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Fort Hamilton has mutually supportive relationships with our inter-agency partners, both federal and here in the city,” Martin said. “It’s crucial that we train our personnel on these systems for both how they will support us and how we will support them. Exercising the team together and maintaining our relationships will ensure our readiness during a real-world situation.”