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AFNORTH conducting Vigilent Shield 08

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla -- Warfighters assigned to Air Forces Northern and the Continental U.S. NORAD Region are honing their homeland defense skills during Vigilant Shield 08 which began Oct. 15 and runs through Oct. 20 here.

The annual homeland defense Vigilant Shield exercise, sponsored by the North American Aerospace Defense Command, U.S. Northern Command and U.S. Strategic Command, tests the synchronization of various commands around the world in responding to complex scenarios that challenge the homeland defense matrix in the U.S. and Canada.

So far in the exercise, those involved have dealt with a simulated major aircraft accident in Alaska, and the aftermath of a simulated radiological dispersal device in Guam.

The five-day exercise challenges the joint team's ability to respond to asymmetric, around-the-clock attacks to better practice crucial warfighting skills, said Col. Mike Beale, AFNORTH Director of Operations.

"I've worked on many staffs in my 25 years of service and this is one of the most challenging and rewarding assignments I've been associated with," Colonel Beale said.

"The U.S. and North America are becoming increasingly hardened targets for any adversary, and our homeland defense is comprehensive, sophisticated and effective, but only because we train the way we fight, and that's what we're doing right now."

For more information contact AFNORTH Public Affairs at 850-283-8657.