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    JB McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Pulls the Plug

    JB McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Pulls the Plug

    Photo By Gianna Greben | On 19 Nov 2020, JB McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, conducted its first Energy...... read more read more

    CE Weekly Submission by 1st Lt James Stapleton //

    In the early morning hours of 19 Nov 2020, the lights went out across JB McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JBMDL), New Jersey. At some base facilities, the roar of a generator immediately followed and at others, there was silence. As units began assessing their ability to operate in the face of an extended installation-wide power outage, JBMDL kicked off its first Energy Resilience Readiness Exercise (ERRE).

    Also known as “black start” or “pull the plug” exercises, ERREs offer bases an opportunity to test their resilience to catastrophic targeted infrastructure attacks, large-scale equipment failures, or natural disasters. Many installations assume they will always have access to reliable, uninterrupted power, but threats such as hurricanes, aging assets, and terrorist attacks undermine the validity of this assumption. To prepare for these scenarios, JBMDL conducted an ERRE, becoming the third Air Force-led base and first joint base to do so.

    “ERREs are an important assessment tool from the installation level all the way up the chain. They test what we think will happen versus what actually happens,” said Mr Mark Correll, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Environment, Safety, and Infrastructure. “With the recent ERRE executed at JBMDL, we will continue to expand and deepen our work in assessing the resilience of energy and other essential infrastructure against attacks, natural disasters, and other threats.”

    While the 87 CEG played a significant leadership role in the planning and execution of the ERRE, Mr Correll commended the joint participation of the entire installation which included Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard units. “The ERRE is an operations exercise, not a CE exercise,” said Lt Col Andrew Clemmensen, 87 CES commander. “The ERRE allowed units to exercise ‘unplugged’ conditions, which in turn allowed them to understand limiting factors to generating missions.”

    From start to finish, JBMDL’s exercise lasted over 12 hours, impacting nearly every building and range across the installation’s three annexes, with some limited exceptions such as privatized housing. Although the 87 CEG’s Power Production technicians regularly test the generators at individual facilities, the scope of the ERRE revealed vulnerabilities and interdependencies that had previously been overlooked. “We uncovered that emergency circuits, uninterrupted power supplies, and power generation do not always align to serve the mission as intended,” said 787 CES Chief of Portfolio Optimization, Mr Matthew Bell. “Interdependent vulnerabilities between facilities, such as those in communications networks, are not apparent during short-term and localized outages. They can also go unnoticed without the observation-heavy focus of an exercise.” In addition to examining weaknesses in its infrastructure, JBMDL also tested the interdependencies of its organizational structure. In particular, the exercise examined Prime BEEF and Base Operating Support contracted maintenance, government-owned and privately-owned utilities, and the wide spectrum of tenants and units on base.

    With the exercise behind them, the 87 CEG looks forward to working with the installation to implement solutions that will address the vulnerabilities identified by the ERRE. “The report we get from this exercise becomes a baseline. That report will identify facilities upgrades, renovations, and locate vulnerabilities,” said Mr Alexander Vincent, 787 CES Energy and Utilities Supervisor. “We knew there were risks involved with leaving everyone in the dark for a full day, but the findings and lessons we gained from the ERRE made that risk well worth it.”



    Date Taken: 12.28.2020
    Date Posted: 12.28.2020 10:02
    Story ID: 385859
    Location: US

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