Military joins multi-agency response force to react to nuclear disaster

28th Public Affairs Detachment
Story by Staff Sgt. Patricia McMurphy

Date: 05.01.2016
Posted: 05.02.2016 09:55
News ID: 197044
Military joins multi-agency response force to react to nuclear disaster

More than 1,000 service members plus hundreds of civilian emergency personnel across the nation are training this week for a nightmare scenario that nobody wishes to happen but could – the detonation of a nuclear device in a major U.S. city.
Exercise Vibrant Response 2016, hosted by U.S. Northern Command and its Army component, U.S. Army North (Fifth Army), began May 1. It is the military’s premier annual disaster response exercise and replicates a nuclear explosion in a highly-populated area using computer simulations.
Although the exercise is military-led, civilian agencies are also playing a large role in Vibrant Response, reflecting the civilian-led nature of disaster response in the homeland.
“We have FEMA, the state emergency department of management, National Guard and the Reserves all participating this week,” said Lt Col. Michael Bugaj, Vibrant Response Exercise Chief, United States Army North G7.
“We are running a confirmation exercise for the (command and control) elements and running through scenarios for them to support federal, state and local agencies if a disaster were to happen,” he said.
While the majority of United States military fighting forces focus much of their time and energy preparing for deployment overseas to fight and win the nation’s wars, the support of U.S. civil authorities is also a priority mission for the Department of Defense. Vibrant Response validates the units that have been tapped by DOD to support civil authorities.
That includes military units from 28 states participating this year. Camp Atterbury, Indiana, serves as the hub for the exercise, but the computer-driven nature of the exercise allows many of those units to take part without leaving their home station. 4th Infantry Division’s 4th Sustainment Brigade from Fort Carson, Colorado, however, is sending many of its soldiers to the Hoosier state.
“We will be serving as a support installation for the active duty military,” said Maj. Jason Cannon of the 4th Sustainment Brigade. “We will be receiving all the personnel and processing them as they arrive. We will also receive equipment and get it marshaled into the area so the units can be matched to their equipment, and exercise mission assignments.”
More than 800 Army Soldiers are participating this week, alongside numerous Air Force and Marine personnel, under the command of Joint Task Force – Civil Support (JTF-CS), an active duty command based at Fort Eustis, Virginia.
After JTF-CS is finished training, exercise directors will reset the scenario and the Indiana National Guard’s Task Force 38 (38th Infantry Division) and Army Reserve’s Task Force 76 (76th Operational Response Command), with more than 1,200 combined soldiers, will come in next week and exercise their procedures.