News: Guard partners with first responders for disaster training
Story by Maj. Kristen Augé
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. – Imagine a solar flare from the sun knocking out electricity in the Twin Cities area during the coldest part of winter and not being restored for more than three days.
The effects of a magnetic storm can include disruption of communication and navigation systems and in severe cases can cause large areas of power disruption otherwise known as a natural cyber event. One such storm in March 1989 resulted in severe power disruption across the province of Quebec. This type of cyber scenario was used in an exercise, Jan. 10, 2013, at Camp Ripley between the Minnesota National Guard, Homeland Security Emergency Management, Xcel Energy, Minnesota Department of Public Safety and other interagency partners.
“The goal of this exercise is about getting us together to put names with faces and to not be handing out business cards when a disaster strikes,” said Army Brig. Gen. William J. Lieder, Minnesota National Guard Director of the Joint Staff.
The mission of the Minnesota National Guard is to provide trained and ready forces in order to support federal, state and community missions. Working effectively with HSEM, nongovernmental organizations, private organizations and other interagency partners requires a unified approach and a common language. More than 25 civilians from various agencies and critical infrastructure organizations participated in the exercise.
The exercise provided participants with an opportunity to evaluate current response concepts, plans and capabilities for a response to a cyber event whether natural, an act of terrorism or crime. This discussion-based exercise was the first of 10 exercises which will culminate in the Vigilant Guard exercise planned for 2015.
As the exercise concluded, business cards were exchanged, a good first step in developing those important relationships before disaster strikes.