FORT LEWIS, Wash. — Terrorists have blown up a chemical facility near a highway viaduct in Seattle. Toxic fumes escape into the downtown area. When first responders arrive to evacuate residents and provide medical treatment, a second explosion causes additional casualties among the city’s emergency services personnel‚Ä¶
That’s the fictional setting for the first phase of National Level National Level Exercise 02-08, a massive homeland security training exercise that will test local, state, and federal agencies ability to work together during a national crisis. Lessons learned during this exercise will help agencies and emergency responders at every level of government prepare for everything from an industrial accident, to a terrorist attack, to a natural disaster.
Monday at 10 a.m. at Fort Lewis, the Commanding General of U. S. Army North Operational Command Post 1 will offer a media opportunity to highlight the active military forces involvement in National Level Exercise 02-08.
Major Gen. John Basilica, Jr. will explain the role of USARNORTH forces in supporting local, state and federal civil authorities during a coordinated response to multiple, simulated, terrorist attacks in the Pacific Northwest.
Media will be provided a tour of the Operational Command Post, a mobile unit designed to transition quickly into a Joint Task Force Headquarters in command of military forces during Homeland Defense (HLD) and Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) operations.
Following the tour, media will be offered the opportunity to observe Soldiers from military chemical, biological, nuclear and high yield explosive teams responding to the attack site (simulated at the Leschi Town training area on Fort Lewis), and military medical personnel treating simulated casualties (the old Madigan Hospital complex, simulating Seattle’s SAFECO Field).
Fort Lewis’ role as the host location for this exercise is similar to the installations’ role should a real-world disaster strike the Pacific Northwest. During an actual national-level emergency, Fort Lewis could become a ‚ÄúBase Support Installation,‚Äù and would provide logistical support- such as fuel, transportation, meals, and lodging- to military units and other agencies providing services in the affected area.