By John B. SnyderJanuary 13, 2012
WATERVLIET ARSENAL, N.Y. - Ten agents from the FBI's Albany SWAT team responded to a simulated attack last week by an active-shooter who was attempting to perform a terrorist act. This simulated attack was part of a monthly exercise conducted by the New York-area agents and was the first time the FBI had conducted this type of training at the Watervliet Arsenal.
"Because we have numerous types of situations that we call mission sets, we must conduct an exercise at least four times a month in order to remain proficient," said Mark Shelhamer, lead agent. "For today's exercise, we rehearsed the basics of clearing hallways and rooms, which allowed us to train on our basic tactics, techniques, and procedures that we can apply to multiple crisis situations."
Shelhamer said he selected the Arsenal's site for this training due to an earlier active-shooter exercise the arsenal security team had conducted last August.
"I was an evaluator during the Arsenal's exercise and thought that the Arsenal would provide a great opportunity for training due to its diverse infrastructure," Shelhamer said.
But for whatever reason why the Arsenal was selected, the Arsenal commander said he was very pleased to host the FBI.
"This is a great opportunity for us to develop a better relationship with an organization that we may someday need to call upon," said Col. Mark F. Migaleddi, the Arsenal commander. "It is important that we learn from the FBI today, who by the way are the experts in this area, so that we may improve our tactics, techniques, and procedures to how we respond to a crisis situation."
The Arsenal was more than a host today, it also participated in the training.
Arsenal Emergency Services Chief Joe Claus said that he had eight of his security officers join the training.
"It is one thing to observe the FBI, but something magical happens when you participate with the FBI in their training," Claus said. "Today's exercise was truly the varsity level of crisis response training and we received the training at no cost. It truly was a win-win situation."
Claus said the key take away is a continuing commitment from the Arsenal to improve communications and response times with supporting agencies from outside the Arsenal fence line.
The Watervliet Arsenal (pronounced water-vleet") is an Army-owned and -operated manufacturing facility located in Watervliet, New York. The Arsenal is the oldest, continuously active arsenal in the United States having begun operations during the War of 1812.
Today's Arsenal is relied upon by U.S. and foreign militaries to produce the most advanced, high tech, high powered weaponry for cannon, howitzer, and mortar systems. This National Historic Registered Landmark has an annual economic benefit to the local community in excess of $100 million.