Doomsday at U.S. Northern Command…
In part two of our series, we show you an inside, and exclusive look at how NORTHCOM deals with multiple emergencies at once as part of an extensive exercise.
Several terrorists attacks, a hurricane and the bird flu all hitting the U.S. at once. This is the doomsday scenario playing out at USNORTHCOM. Part of their mission is to provide military support in a time like this.
However, NORTHCOM can't provide help though until they are asked by the President or Secretary of Defense. That's why the NORTHCOM Commander, ADM Timothy Keating conducts a teleconference with the acting secretary of defense. They decide how many troops are deploying to the Gulf Coast for relief from make-believe hurricane Xena.
NORAD Commander Lt. Gen. Eric Findley said, “We deal in minutes, we respond in minutes." And NORTHCOM knows all too well that minutes are sometimes all they have to react.
In this exercise, helicopters deliver supplies and equipment to the hurricane stricken areas, while still dealing with the bird flu and those suffering from the dirty bombs in Michigan. ADM Keating said that terrorist attacks are the worst challenges they face. "Will we, in worst case scenario, get every single thing we need… probably not. It’s not because of lack of trying and it’s not lack of consideration. We're working hard.” The Admiral is confident that America is ready.
After this exercise, NORTHCOM will be graded to see what they did right and what they did wrong. ADM Keating hopes those lessons learned will be used in a real time of crisis.