JTF-NCR Tests Readiness Through Contingency Response Exercises

By Capt. Tim HamptonOctober 17, 2023

Members of Joint Task Force-National Capital Region participate in Exercise Ambitious Guardian 2023 at Ft. McNair, Washington, D.C., Sept. 14, 2023.
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Members of Joint Task Force-National Capital Region participate in Exercise Ambitious Guardian 2023 at Ft. McNair, Washington, D.C., Sept. 14, 2023. (Photo Credit: Henry Villarama) VIEW ORIGINAL
Members of Joint Task Force-National Capital Region participate in Exercise Ambitious Guardian 2023 at Ft. McNair, Washington, D.C., Sept. 14, 2023.
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Members of Joint Task Force-National Capital Region participate in Exercise Ambitious Guardian 2023 at Ft. McNair, Washington, D.C., Sept. 14, 2023. (Photo Credit: Henry Villarama) VIEW ORIGINAL
Members of Joint Task Force-National Capital Region participate in Exercise Ambitious Guardian 2023 at Ft. McNair, Washington, D.C., Sept. 14, 2023.
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Members of Joint Task Force-National Capital Region participate in Exercise Ambitious Guardian 2023 at Ft. McNair, Washington, D.C., Sept. 14, 2023. (Photo Credit: Henry Villarama) VIEW ORIGINAL
Joint Task Force-National Capital Region (JTF-NCR) hosted Exercises Ambitious Guardian and Capital Shield, joint training exercises, Sept. 11-22, 2023.

Ambitious Guardian '23 exercise brought federal, state, and local agencies together with JTF-NCR staff to realistically test interagency operability during National Security Special Events (NSSE) and Consequence Management events in the NCR. This exercise identifies strengths and opportunities to improve JTF-NCR's posture; assesses multi-echelon command and control; improves communication and unity of effort between JTF-NCR and Military District of Washington (MDW)-level staff, subordinate commands and select interagency partners; and enables the command, at echelon, to visualize required tactical actions across time, space, and purpose.

The scenarios replicate an operational environment that exercises JTF-NCR’s three lines of operation: Continuity of Government and Continuity of Operations (COG/COOP), Homeland Defense (HD) and Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA). This combined training enhances cooperation, allowing for a well-prepared response to a contingency incident.

“Ambitious Guardian '23 allowed JTF-NCR, along with its allocated NCR Components, Subordinates, and Interagency Partners the opportunity to respond to a simulated emerging crisis in the National Capital Region to include support continuity operations, reinforce the protection of DoD critical infrastructure, and increased force protection of our US Army Installations,” said Col. Jason S. Raub, JTF-NCR/USAMDW Director of Operations. “During Ambitious Guardian, JTF-NCR partnered with the FBI’s Washington Field Office and 55th Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) Company to respond to a simulated radiological threat on Ft. McNair. Additionally, the scenario provided simulated kinetic threats on Joint Base Andrews, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Fort Meade, and the Washington Navy Yard. Each of these threats allowed Naval District of Washington (NDW), Air Force District of Washington (AFDW), and Marine Corps National Capital Region Command (MCNCRC) to exercise force protection strategies to mitigate or resolve a crisis before it starts.”

A member of the Federal Bureau of Investigation participates in Joint Task Force-National Capital Region's Exercise Ambitious Guardian 2023 at Ft. McNair, Washington, D.C., on Sept. 14, 2023.
A member of the Federal Bureau of Investigation participates in Joint Task Force-National Capital Region's Exercise Ambitious Guardian 2023 at Ft. McNair, Washington, D.C., on Sept. 14, 2023. (Photo Credit: Henry Villarama) VIEW ORIGINAL

Following Ambitious Guardian '23, Capital Shield '23 was held Sept. 18-22, 2023. Both weeks of exercises were once simply known as Capital Shield, but now each week has its own name and the two separate exercises test even greater capabilities.

“Exercise Capital Shield has always served as the name for the 911th Technical Rescue Engineer Company’s (TREC) validation exercise. What has changed is the emergence of Ambitious Guardian. JTF-NCR bifurcated the two exercises to allow for a broader simulated environment applicable to the entire Joint Task Force,” said Raub. “The inclusion of the U.S. Marines’ Chemical Biological Incident Response Force (CBIRF) in Exercise Capital Shield aligns with DoD efforts to modernize the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Response Enterprise. Additionally, the partnership between CBIRF and 911th TREC allows each to mutually learn from one another.”

U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to 911th Technical Rescue Engineer Company (TREC) participate in urban search and rescue training during Exercise Capital Shield 2023 at the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Academy, in Fairfax, Virginia, Sept. 21, 2023.
U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to 911th Technical Rescue Engineer Company (TREC) participate in urban search and rescue training during Exercise Capital Shield 2023 at the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Academy, in Fairfax, Virginia, Sept. 21, 2023. (Photo Credit: Henry Villarama) VIEW ORIGINAL
U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to 911th Technical Rescue Engineer Company participate in urban search and rescue training during Exercise Capital Shield 2023 at the Washington D.C. Fire and Emergency Management Services Training Academy in Washington, D.C., Sept. 19, 2023. (U.S. Army photo by Henry Villarama)
U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to 911th Technical Rescue Engineer Company participate in urban search and rescue training during Exercise Capital Shield 2023 at the Washington D.C. Fire and Emergency Management Services Training Academy in Washington, D.C., Sept. 19, 2023. (U.S. Army photo by Henry Villarama) (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Henry Villarama) VIEW ORIGINAL
U.S. Soldiers assigned to 911th Technical Rescue Engineer Company (TREC) participate in urban search and rescue training during Exercise Capital Shield 2023 at the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Academy, in Fairfax, Virginia, Sept. 21, 2023.
U.S. Soldiers assigned to 911th Technical Rescue Engineer Company (TREC) participate in urban search and rescue training during Exercise Capital Shield 2023 at the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Academy, in Fairfax, Virginia, Sept. 21, 2023. (Photo Credit: Henry Villarama) VIEW ORIGINAL

The CBIRF and the 911th TREC were able to maintain proficiency and validate their ability to execute various rescue missions requiring different rescue capabilities.

“This week tests the Company’s ability to execute their five rescue disciplines (trench, structural collapse, confined space, mine/tunnel, and rope rescue) both internally and with outside assistance from the Regional Emergency All-Climate Training Center and Army North,” said Cpt. Todd H. Lowell, Jr., Commander of the 911th TREC. “We include CBIRF in our operations as a mutually beneficial relationship just as they include us in theirs. They have the same capability as us but with more focus on rescue in a contaminated environment.”

When requested, JTF-NCR provides support to federal, state, and local government agencies as part of a whole community approach to provide security, save lives, prevent human suffering, and mitigate collateral damage. JTF-NCR draws together the existing resources of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard into a single-point headquarters that is fully trained, equipped, and ready to perform a wide spectrum of operations in support of civil authorities.