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Last week, Unified Defense 2004 was held in the City and Borough of Juneau, as well as many other locations around the country. A national-level exercise hosted by U.S. Northern Command headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colo., it was designed to train participants on homeland security and homeland defense processes.
Here in Alaska, the training required all players to conduct effective interagency coordination and communication to protect residents and facilities in and around Juneau. The exercise scenarios brought large aircraft to the airport, additional boats on the water and an increase of visitors to the city. But throughout the exercise, the most important activity was local, state and federal officials working together as one team to deal with simulated terrorist events.
The world we live in today requires each of us to be more vigilant and aware of what is going on in our communities. I believe this recent exercise helped strengthen the response capabilities of the City and Borough of Juneau as well as our ability in the Department of Defense to be ready to support the leaders of your community when required and requested.
The successes experienced by all involved in Unified Defense 2004 in Alaska are being reviewed at the highest levels of our government. We are setting the pace for other states to follow. From sharing information via Video Teleconferences to leveraging technology to our advantage as in the case of the Alaska Land Mobile Radio system, we are setting the standard. We can all be proud and confident in the abilities of our emergency responders and their leaders.
As we have said many times in DoD, we will win or lose this battle against terrorism based on the relationships we have built between local, state and federal agencies. This exercise was a perfect opportunity to establish those relationships, but we would not have been as successful without the support of the citizens in Juneau.
On behalf of the Department of Defense I want to thank each of you for opening your city to us. I can assure you we will continue to build on our recent achievements.
Lt. Gen Howie Chandler
Commander, Joint Task Force - Alaska
Elmendorf AFB, Anchorage