Fact, Fiction or both?

As we crest the hill for Vibrant Response 13, it is time to shed a little more light on this whole exercise. Command and Control(C2) elements (C2CRE and DCRF) are the primary training audience for this event. Each “element” has subordinate units assigned to address the needs of the civilian authority requesting assistance. The DoD is subordinate to the local authority, which in many cases will be the State. When state resources are reduced/depleted, they request assistance from the federal government. We usually see this with FEMA assisting during disasters.

National Guard troops are governed under Title 32 of the United States Code which allows them to function under the direction of the Governor to preform basic “maintain order” missions of which disasters are recognized. Federal military forces are governed by Title 10 and are under the direction of the President. Title 32 forces can be federalized into Title 10 forces by order of the President, which is how NG troops are sent to foreign wars. The C2 elements were activated following the events of 9/11 and Katrina. The key guiding principle is that they support the civilian authority. In fact, federal forces are prohibited from carrying weapons on US soil.

The C2 elements bring their assigned resources in aviation, operations, medical and logistics to assist. The exercise is designed by the 5th Army’s training arm – ARNORTH. They are set up in two areas of Indiana to replicate the events I’ve been describing. The Muscatatuck Urban Training Center(MUTC) is located outside of Seymour IN and at Camp Atterbury outside of Edinburg IN. They have venues that include crashed a helicopter and airplane, damaged buildings, subways, rubble piles for victims, ground transportation areas, landing zones and a vacant city that was once the state hospital complex. They use hundreds of people portraying “victims” who go through “make-up” to appear as injured. There is also a news crew that produces twice daily broadcasts using live footage they shoot throughout the day. It’s a real production.

We are running about 15 missions a day now at the two venues, which is significantly less than last week. In addition to overseeing the missions, we also provide current SA/SU (situational awareness/situational understanding) to the group role playing the State agencies and to the ExCon (Exercise Control) group. We are able to provide them with current mission status with our field commanders reports to us in the Area Command.

We have a few more days of events before it ends on Monday. Not a lot will change between now and then which, may make this my last post on the Vibrant Response Exercise. Send me comments if there’s something you want to know about.