A General Alert

Okay, all drama aside; here’s a little insight into Vibrant Response. We are running a live mission and simulation exercise that is training and in some cases, evaluating the military forces. The land component command staff is the Joint Task Force Civil Support, which is directed by a Lt. General (2 star). This group, known as JTF-CS has four subordinate task forces that control aviation, medical, operations and logistics. Under those groups are brigades, battalions, companies, platoons and squads, all of which total 4632 people. The simulated forces total over 17,000. They move those simulated troops as well by issuing orders and tracking their movement. The JTF-CS is comprised of Navy, Marines, Air Force and Army personnel. The Command is rotated by each branch, this year it’s from the Army, the past two years it was from the Air Force.

They have reported rescuing 12,000 victims so far of which 2500 have been real rescues by real people. My role in the Area Command post is to direct the operations of those forces to achieve our desired missions. I am one of 50 contractors working on just the coordination and execution of live missions. There are another 450 people working on the exercise control and role playing of the various state officers and victims. We are running this segment of the exercise through Friday and then we’ll reset to do it again starting Sunday with a different command element.

Wednesday 8/1, we will have the NorthCom Commander (4 stars) and a Deputy Secretary of Defense visit the exercise. NorthCom (Northern Command) is responsible for all forces in North America and is a member of the joint chiefs. In addition, The Adjutant General, also known as the TAG (3 stars) from Indiana and a Rear Admiral will visit. The TAG is the Indiana National Guard’s Commander. We have had several Generals from various commands visit over the past two days which is keeping the Public Affairs Office (PAO) and the Joint Visitors Bureau (JVB) very busy. I’m thinking a lesson in acronyms is needed soon.

Below is a photo of the sky following the massive thunderstorm that came through on Tuesday night. The weather is always part of the story.