View Full Version : NORAD Currently Involved In Wargames

05-16-2006, 11:09 AM
Nightmares aplenty at NORAD

http://news.yahoo.com/s/usatoday/20060516/ts_usatoday/nightmaresaplentyatnorad;_ylt=AgcSuIqDRJ2GjpjfP0a8 SCSs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA3b2NibDltBHNlYwM3MTY-

By Patrick O'Driscoll, USA TODAY Tue May 16, 6:46 AM ET

Last week, terrorists exploded a radioactive bomb across the river from Detroit, blew up a couple of Michigan railcars full of deadly chemicals, hijacked a U.S. airliner to Canada and triggered a lethal outbreak of plague in Mexico, just as another hurricane was slamming into New Orleans.

Fortunately, the mayhem was make-believe, an elaborate drill staged by U.S. and Canadian defense agencies. But the aim was real: to gauge military, medical and humanitarian response to multiple threats and natural catastrophes.

The exercise, dubbed Ardent Sentry, began May 8 and ends Thursday. It uses imaginary disasters to test U.S. Northern Command, or NorthCom, the military arm of homeland defense, and its air-defense partner, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). Participants include more than 5,000 U.S. and Canadian military personnel and civilians, including dozens of federal agencies and several state teams. They must deal with an onslaught of worst-case scenarios:

• A terrorist "dirty bomb" attack, which scatters radioactive material, in Windsor, Ontario, near Detroit. The attack kills more than 5,000 Canadians.

• More explosions in Detroit as terrorists blow up railcars full of poisonous chlorine and phosgene gas. Nearly 13,000 people die, 85,000 are hurt, and 3.5 million are forced to evacuate.

• The hijacking of an American airliner, which U.S. warplanes chase to the border and Canadian fighter jets shoot down, killing more than 100 passengers and crewmembers.

• Thousands of Mexicans arriving at the U.S.-Mexican border, fleeing the deliberate release of plague bacteria in Mexico City. Nearly 8,000 people die.

• A human-to-human outbreak of bird flu that began in Africa but has reached the USA.

• A Category 3 hurricane blasting New Orleans again, just 81/2 months after Hurricane Katrina.

On Monday, exercise planners threw a Sept. 11-style crisis into the mix using real aircraft. Four executive jets aiming for targets in the USA and Canada were chased down by U.S. F-15 fighters and Canadian CF-18 jets.

One rogue plane was "shot down," another "crashed" short of a power plant, a third was intercepted successfully and the fourth "crashed" into a hotel in Vancouver, British Columbia, after the building was evacuated.

Adm. Timothy Keating, commander of NorthCom and NORAD at Peterson Air Force Base here, says the exercise is stretching the system, "but the cord hasn't snapped. That will matter as we come into hurricane season."

NorthCom's primary job is to prevent and repel foreign attacks on U.S. soil. Another key role, heightened last year during Katrina, is to help civilian agencies and state and local governments in emergencies, including severe weather and disease outbreaks. Keating's command can step in only if ordered by the president or the Defense secretary to offer emergency support.

Ardent Sentry tests both sides of NorthCom's duty. On paper, hundreds of military doctors, nurses and technicians were sent to Michigan. Three Army brigades and a Marine unit were deployed to the fake disasters. Dozens of planes, helicopters, trucks and cranes and several ships were en route.

"When they have an exercise here, America's having a bad day," says Ronald Eller, the Army Corps of Engineers' representative at NorthCom. "They come up with a lot of Armageddon."

Eller, once stationed in New Orleans, advises NorthCom bosses on the damage that the make-believe Hurricane Xena could inflict on a city still recovering from Katrina.

The doomsday settings were invented by trainers who inject the fake crises each day into NorthCom's normal operations. Details of the imaginary threats arrive by e-mails, memos, phone calls and other communications. The made-up messages are labeled "EXERCISE" so no one on duty mistakes the drill for a real threat.

"Organizations that will go unnamed have said to me: 'Your exercises are unrealistic. All those events would never happen at the same time,' " says Gene Pino, a retired Marine colonel who runs the exercise. "But there are two ways to train people: provide them an environment they succeed in, or an environment that pushes them to the breaking point."

Pino says training to cope with several disasters at once will help NorthCom deal with one or two real crises at once, a more likely case.

After the exercise ends, Pino's team will grade how NorthCom performed and what needs fixing.

05-16-2006, 11:35 AM
now that i think about it more and more 9/11 was merely symbolic.

if they want to create REAL chaos, they could have done so much more.

and so when the martial law take over comes i suspect a perfect shit storm of all the scenarios mentioned above, and a few others.