Army set for large disaster response exercise

A large disaster response exercise planned by U.S. Army North will take place throughout southern Indiana and northern Kentucky between August 16 and August 28 to train federal military forces for CBRN incidents.

The Vibrant Response 12 and 12A planning conference in Camp Atterbury, Ind., on June 23 was the last chance for those planning the exercise to assemble. The event, which is the fourth field training event in the Vibrant Response series, will help federal forces train in their role in supporting civilian consequent managers in response to chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incidents.

The 5,200 person Defense CBRN Response Force replaces the 4,500 person CBRN Consequence Management Response Force. It is designed to faster provide more life-saving capability to an incident.

“We have forged a strong training partnership with the Indiana National Guard and the people who run Camp Atterbury and Muscatatuck Urban Training Complex,” Paul Condon, Army North’s lead Vibrant Response exercise planner, said. “We’ve worked with them to add several new venues at both Camp Atterbury and Muscatatuck Urban Training Complex in order to accommodate the larger DCRF.”

Organizations participating in the exercise include the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Fort Knox Fire Department, the Army’s 9th Area Medical Laboratory, National Guard elements from California, Indiana, Michigan, West Virginia, Minnesota and Illinois, and Verizon Wireless.

“Verizon will be using Vibrant Response to train their crews to repair equipment in a contaminated environment,” Clark Wigley, the Army North joint exercise planner, said. “They also are providing some of their mock equipment for the military to transport.”

The DCRF and the similar Command and Control CBRN Response Element A group were created as part of the Department of Defense’s transformation of the nation’s tiered CBRN response enterprise. The units will assume their mission Oct. 1.