I’m in the National Guard and just got home from providing communications support for a Homeland Security simulation exercise involving federal agencies like FEMA, local law enforcement and fire and medical folks from all ove r five counties. My team was using an IC4U (Incident Commander’s Command, Control and Communications Unit) that provides satellite internet, voice over internet protocol phone service, radio interoperability and video streaming. Long days, but this was a great exercise and we met a lot of great people. The Salvation Army fed us, the Red Cross participated, as well as state emergency operations folks. The National Guard provided military support and our role was communications, as I mentioned. Here is what the IC4U looks like:
If you are interested you can read about the exercise at The Anderson Independent Mail web site.
The plotline read like a Tom Clancy novel set in South Carolina: a hurricane devastates the low country, straining the resources of local, state and federal emergency response teams. At the same time, law enforcement officials in the Upstate receive information about a potential terrorist attack centered on the Interstate 85 corridor.
Unfortunately, it is too late. Two bombs explode almost simultaneously in Anderson County, one at the Michelin Plant in Sandy Springs, the other at the Anderson University Athletic Complex in the midst of a monster truck show.
Police, public health officials, medical providers, military units and federal law enforcement officials converge in Anderson County in response, establish an emergency operations center and begin investigating leads.
We learned a lot and met a lot of great people at state and federal levels. Our customers (in the Anderson Emergency Center) were very happy with our efforts to ensure that the communications and computer maintenance support we provided was the best and quickly accomplished. In the Army, one thing that is used to reward excellent performance is “Coins of Excellence,” so it was a real honor to be presented with the South Carolina Joint Forces Headquarters J2 (Military Intelligence) coin. One thing that goes with these coins is that if challenged by another coin holder to produce your coin, if you don’t have it, you have to buy the challenger a drink. If you can produce it, they buy you a drink.