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Falcon Crystal 2013
Falcon Crystal 2013 was a tabletop exercise designed to help AFNORTH participants think about response procedures to complex catastrophes, those events that wreak destruction and chaos 10 times worse than above. This destruction was the result of the Tomodachi earthquake in Japan. (Courtesy Photo)
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AFNORTH exercise focuses on managing mayhem

Posted 2/15/2013   Updated 2/15/2013 Email story   Print story

    


by Mary McHale
AFNORTH Public Affairs


2/15/2013 - TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- With a goal of training to devise ways to mitigate mayhem during extraordinary disaster events, also known as complex catastrophes, representatives from Air Forces Northern met to participate in a day-long tabletop exercise February 6.

"Falcon Crystal 2013" served up a scenario whose characteristics were specifically designed to go not only beyond, but way beyond any scenario, even real world, that the AFNORTH enterprise has responded to during its history of Defense to Civil Authority operations.

Given an interim definition in DOD documents, a complex catastrophe is "any natural or mad-made incident, including terrorism, which results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the population, infrastructure, environment, economy, national morale, and/or government functions."

The exercise scenario presented participants with a 9.0 magnitude earthquake on the U.S. west coast and its subsequent effects. These effects ran the extreme gamut, from personal to economic to destroyed infrastructure. One participant said to think of the affected area as a "land island" with all matter of accessing it - airports, ports, railroads - gone or extremely damaged.

Following the scenario presentation, a series of briefings and discussions about each phase of the response operation was explored. These phases go from 0, shaping the environment to I, anticipating; II, responding; III, operating; IV stabilizing and V, transitioning.

LCol Darron Bazin, director, assessments, lessons learned, and exercises (A9), said the primary focus was to consider the potential magnitude of a complex catastrophe.

"DoD will be thinking more about complex catastrophes in the future," he said. "At 1AF we wanted to go beyond existing plans and experiences and consider a scenario featuring limited warning time and unprecedented levels of damage," he said. "Our ultimate goal was to identify and propose ways to mitigate gaps and shortfalls in our response."

"There were several lessons learned from this valuable exercise," said Maj. J.J. Grindrod, deputy director, A9. "From reviewing and updating checklists for both regular and complex catastrophic events, to reviewing training and identifying appropriate response techniques and authorities, it was a day well spent looking at our processes and procedures and learning how we can improve on them through some dynamic discussions."



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