As part of an effort to promote preparedness in the event of a disaster, several federal agencies as well as military service members will participate in an upcoming exercise this November.
Along with their federal partners, several military leaders gathered at the Guam Army National Guard recently to make the final arrangements for Vigilant Guard 2020, an upcoming full-scale disaster readiness exercise that will take place this November.
Vigilant Guard will be bringing together numerous members of active duty service members, National Guardsmen, as well as civilian emergency responders in an event organized by the United States Northern Command. According to Lt. Col. Darcy Swain, the US NORTHCOM provides guidance for homeland defense efforts.
“We work with all the states and territories – all 54 of them – to design exercises that are large enough to where the state civil authorities would have to call on the National Guard for assistance. As well, the National Guard will then ask the other states for assistance in the exercise,” Swain said.
According to Lt. Col. Swain, the importance of exercises such as the Vigilant Guard is that they allow the local National Guard an opportunity to build relationships with other emergency respondents and see what kind of methods would work in an emergency situation in a safe and real world simulation.
“Essentially, we create the worst day that could possibly happen on Guam. By that, we have civil support teams and decontamination, air evac units, and extraction teams…We also set up the dual-status commander, who is the person who’s either a 1- or 2-star general and they can control the Title 32 as well as the active Title 10 members on Guam,” Swain said.
According to Major Josephine Blas, the public affairs officer of the Guam Army National Guard, the Vigilant Guard exercise will have a “soft start” from Nov. 13 to the 17th, which will involve activities that will mirror the planning and preparation period for a possible emergency.