DHS concluded Ardent Sentry â€“ Northern Edge, a full scale exercise testing DOD, state/local, and interagency responses to a range of scenarios to stress test capacity and knowledge of NIMS, the NRP, etc.Â Even the Canadians are involved.Â
AS/NE introduced an interesting new role that reflects progress from the post-Katrina position to consider turning to the Pentagon as lead federal agency too quickly.Â The â€œDefense Coordinating Officerâ€ (DCO) debuted to coordinate information and requests between FEMA and the Department of Defense. Â Apparently it worked so well that DCOs will be assigned to each of FEMAâ€™s 10 regions.Â It probably helps that even before Katrina the Homeland Defense team at DOD was steadily writing up â€œprescripted requests for assistanceâ€ to anticipate the kinds of state and local needs that might arise in any of the 15 national planning scenarios.Â
But I digress.Â The Ardent Sentry-Northern Edge war game kicked off a five-year schedule of national level exercises. Â It began with FEMA Regions I and II dealing with hurricanes from New York to Maine.Â Region Xâ€™s (Alaska) scenario even involved terrorist threats to energy infrastructure.Â FEMA Region V got the real deal with managing response mechanisms and practices following the fictitious detonation of a 10-kiloton nuclear device in Indianapolis.
Iâ€™m traveling until Memorial Day.