By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
July 30, 2008 - Defense Department agencies as well as state and local emergency-preparedness organizations in Virginia, Oregon, Colorado and Indiana are honing their communication and coordination capabilities as part of the current iteration of the Noble Resolve homeland defense and disaster-response experiment. Noble Resolve '08, which began July 28 and ends Aug. 1, is the latest in a series of tests of disaster-preparedness communications and coordination systems sponsored by U.S. Joint Forces Command, based in Norfolk, Va.
Testing information and coordination links among Defense Department organizations, state emergency-response agencies, the National Guard, other first responders such as local fire and police departments, and nongovernmental organizations is a key purpose of Noble Resolve, exercise leader Air Force Col. Gene Taylor told reporters today during a video-teleconference at Joint Forces Command facilities in Suffolk, Va.
"We can't afford to wait. ... The timeliness and robustness of response is too important to leave it to a sort of 'pickup game'" in the event of natural or man-made disasters, Taylor said.
Elements of U.S. Northern Command, as well as the National Guard Bureau and the Department of Homeland Security, also are participating in Noble Resolve.
This year's Noble Resolve experiment features disaster scenarios such as massive earthquakes occurring in Indiana and Oregon and a faux Virginia train derailment producing a huge fire, according to a Joint Forces Command news release.
A Noble Resolve fact sheet lists the following areas of emphasis:
-- Overcoming communication barriers;
-- Sharing integrated global maritime intelligence and situational awareness;
-- Improving defenses against weapons of mass destruction threats against the homeland; and
-- Managing population movement in the event of a natural disaster and ensuring long-term sustainment of consequence management forces following a possible chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield-explosive event.
Multinational participation in this iteration of Noble Resolve includes representatives from Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Morocco, Portugal, South Korea, Romania, Spain and Sweden, as well as NATO Allied Command Transformation.
Noble Resolve is "really about helping Joint Forces Command operate seamlessly" with its homeland defense partners in the event of natural or man-made disasters, Taylor said.