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News | May 21, 2018

Command Members Sharpen Skills in Indiana Exercise

By Air Force Lt. Col. Karen Roganov Joint Task Force-Civil Support

Joint Task Force Civil Support (JTF-CS) recently completed its annual command post exercise Vibrant Response 2018 (VR 18) at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, April 19 to 26. It involved a notional nuclear detonation, which is one of America’s National Planning Scenarios.


“We met key goals with getting lighter, faster and more capable in responding to a catastrophic disaster scenario,” said Army Maj. Gen. Richard Gallant, commander of JTF-CS. “We want our fellow citizens to know that there’s a dedicated Department of Defense unit that is capable of supporting our local communities in their greatest time of need.”


During the exercise JTF-CS successfully confirmed its ability to command and control the Defense Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear Response Forces (DCRF), who are set to assume their CBRN mission June 1. About 3,000 people participated in the training.


If such a need for a CBRN response were required, the country plans for a whole-of-nation approach in doing so.


“Our task force is just one part of the military forces that make up the CBRN Response Enterprise (CRE) that feeds into the National Response Framework,” he said. “The NRF is a guide for how our country responds to all disasters and emergencies.”


As such, understanding how the military teams train to be part of this framework can be a bit complicated, according to Kevin Woodrum, a joint exercises planner at JTF-CS.


VR 18 involved two phases. The first ran from April 7-17 and primarily exercised the CBRN Response Elements named A and B from the Reserve Component which are headquartered by the 76th Operational Response Command in Utah and the 46th Military Police Command Michigan National Guard, respectively, he said.


The second phase of VR-18 exercised JTF-CS. The two exercises were conducted using the same crisis scenario.VR-18 ran simultaneously with Guardian Response 18 that was held at the nearby at Muscatatuck Urban Training Complex. GR-18 was a capstone field training exercise that validated the mission readiness of the Defense CBRN Response Force (DCRF). That Response Force is comprised of more than 5,000 active-duty and reserve service members in 56 units located in 13 states from the east to west coasts.


“The DCRF are the muscle of the response and would be working directly to help the public,” said Woodrum. “The units rehearsed key lifesaving operations to include casualty search and rescue, patient decontamination and emergency medical assistance to include air and ground evacuation.”


Directed by the commander, U.S. Northern Command, and executed by the USNORTHCOM Joint Forces Land Component Command (JFLCC) the VR-18 consequence management exercise included State and local emergency response forces from the civil community as well and members from Federal Agencies like FEMA.


“In the end, we accomplished key training objectives so we can continue to improve and provide a stronger capability to our country,” said Gallant. “Our goal is helping civil authorities by saving lives, mitigating human suffering and facilitating recovery operations.”


Additional information about JTF-CS and the capabilities of the DCRF can be found online here: or at