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Exercise Red Dragon 2009 and the CCMRF.

Red Dragon, which started out as a small exercise in 2004, continues to grow. About 3,000 Soldiers are expected to participate in Red Dragon 2009 at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, 13-27 June. The exercise--which is designed to help improve U.S. Army Reserve defense support to civil authorities (DSCA) operations during an emergency response to a large-scale chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) disaster--encompasses the following diverse military skill sets: chemical, medical, signal, military police, engineer (firefighting), quartermaster, transportation, mortuary affairs, chaplain, and public affairs. This year's exercise will involve interactions with first responders, including ten civilian hospitals, from four metropolitan areas in Wisconsin--Milwaukee, Madison, Lacrosse, and Fort McCoy.

The U.S. Army Reserve Command serves as the director, the 335th Signal Command (Theater) serves as the executive agent, and the 415th Chemical Brigade serves as the action agent for the exercise. Several military units involved are part of the homeland defense (HLD) entity known as the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and High-Yield Explosives Consequence Management Response Force (CCMRF), which was established by the Department of Defense (DOD) as a force that is trained and ready to respond to requests from civil authorities. The CCMRF fielding plan calls for three separate CCMRFs, providing the capability to respond to multiple, nearly simultaneous chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high-yield explosives (CBRNE) events. The primary role of the CCMRF in responding to a CBRNE event is to augment the consequence management efforts of first responders by providing unique and complementary capabilities when the effects of a CBRNE event exceed state civilian and National Guard capabilities.

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An exercise of this magnitude requires extensive coordination and planning, and these efforts began immediately following Red Dragon 2008. Under U.S. Army Reserve Command oversight, Army Reserve planners from the 415th Chemical Brigade and the 209th Regional Support Group (RSG) (who are primarily responsible for scenario development and coordination with Wisconsin state, local, and National Guard officials) have worked with 335th Signal Command personnel to develop a realistic, well-scripted scenario that should provide a challenging training event for military and civilian authorities.

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The end state objectives of Exercise Red Dragon 2009 are to--

* Successfully deploy all assigned units to Fort McCoy and execute intense, safe CBRN HLD training.

* Accomplish successful alerts and rapid responses for DSCA.

* Evaluate the operations of higher echelons to joint task force operations as they pertain to DSCA.

* Successfully integrate combat support and combat service support into brigade operations and integrate the civil support task force into civilian response operations.

* Complete all training events and exercises using evaluations and after-action reviews and safely redeploy to the home station.

The extensive military and civilian response efforts for Exercise Red Dragon 2009 will be unlike those of any other HLD exercise. The stage is set for a truly remarkable training event in which participants will have the opportunity to showcase their CBRNE disaster relief effort capabilities.

Lieutenant Colonel Michael S. Vail

Lieutenant Colonel Vail is the operations officer for the 415th Chemical Brigade, Greenville, South Carolina.
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Author:Vail, Michael S.
Publication:CML Army Chemical Review
Date:Jun 22, 2009
Words:505
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