JOINT RESERVE BASE ELLINGTON FIELD, Texas –
Preparing for the next Category 4 hurricane, Defense Logistics Agency Energy Americas personnel exercised DLA contingency information technology and training during the Ardent Sentry 2018 exercise from April 30 to May 10.
Ardent Sentry is an annual North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command exercise and is part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency national level exercise.
Setting up shop in a deployable tent on Joint Reserve Base Ellington Field, Texas, DLA Energy Americas personnel ran operational drills and operated the DLA Mobile Emergency Response Center to test its ability to support communication needs during a contingency.
“Ardent Sentry 18 provided the opportunity to strengthen partnerships with whole of government agencies and ensure DLA Energy is ‘Prepared for Immediate Response’ to emerging disaster response/relief missions as part of our Defense Support to Civil Authorities responsibilities,” said DLA Energy Americas Director of Operations Support David Ray.
Today’s expeditionary environment requires FEMA and DLA to anticipate requirements well before either knows the full impact of a disaster. A formal interagency agreement for logistics support exists between DLA and FEMA that designates DLA as a source for fuel support, commodities and services, including expeditionary capability to manage and operate FEMA incident support bases.
“The MERC comes equipped with an onboard generator and essential satellite and networking equipment, which is critical during many DSCA humanitarian assistance/disaster relief scenarios, as power and commercial communication services often take time to be restored during contingencies,” said Robert Garcia from DLA Information Operations.
DLA Energy Americas exercised the full range of the MERCs capabilities and performed all daily functions to include video teleconference staff meetings with DLA Energy headquarters at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, Ray said.
“DLA Energy Task Force Americas and DLA Information Operations Contingency IT Operations are able to build stronger partnerships during exercises like these, and the feedback provided by both teams is invaluable,” Garcia said. “Exercises like these shape future expeditionary requirements of the DLA organization which in turn allows DLA to provide better real-world support for deployable operations.”
The exercise scenario involved a whole of government response to a Category 4-5 hurricane impacting the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia region and causing severe damage throughout the Middle Atlantic region including power outages and cascading effects to critical infrastructure systems, including impacts to communications, transportation, water, wastewater, and hospital systems.
“While DLA Energy Americas was conducting expeditionary command and control, DLA Energy Customer Operations Directorate was interfacing with FEMA and other interagency partners at the strategic/national level coordinating DLA Energy’s part in the whole of government response to the exercise scenario,” Ray said.
According to FEMA, Ardent Sentry and other national level exercises support the National Preparedness Goal and the National Exercise Program to examine and validate core capabilities nationwide across all preparedness mission areas.