A State of Constant Vigilance

As the recent host of Vigilant Guard 17, conducted from March 23 to 31, the state of Georgia had a chance to test out their training to ensure readiness in the face of future disasters. Involving two years of planning, the event involved large scale exercises, as hosted by the Georgia Department of Defense and the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency, and sponsored by the United States Northern Command and the National Guard Bureau.

Observed Governor Nathan Deal of the largest Vigilant Guard exercise yet held, “The purpose of this large-scale and comprehensive exercise is to simulate a real-world natural disaster in order to improve cooperation among local, state, and federal stakeholders in preparing for emergencies and any sort of catastrophic event.”

With over 50 federal and local agencies involved, this represented Georgia's first opportunity to host. Exercises included such activities as collapsed building search and decontamination missions, search and rescue training, maritime response missions, aerial firefighting, mass-casualty medical evacuation training, and cyber-attack defense, with the goal being both training and evaluation, to ensure future readiness.