The probability of a ballistic missile attack on Guam may be small — at least for now, with President Trump poised to meet with Kim Jong-un in North Korea "within the next few months"— but military and civil defense officials will take no chances as they underscore the importance of testing the island’s all-hazard response and recovery plans.
Military commands and civil defense offices will hold another joint drill billed “Ballistic Missile Nuclear Detonation Command Post Exercise” on April 24.
“This joint exercise between the Department of Defense, local and federal agencies affords us the opportunity to enhance our collaborative preparedness and evaluate the processes we have in place in the event of a nuclear detonation,” said Joint Region Marianas commander, Rear Adm. Shoshana Chatfield.
The military exercise will include Offices of Guam Homeland Security and Civil Defense, Joint Region Marianas, U.S. Naval Base Guam, Andersen Air Force Base, and other local and federal strategic entities.
“Though our respective agencies have plans in place should an event occur, the ability to test our joint response benefits not just the military or local community, but the entire One Guam community,” Chatfield said.
The United States faced a crisis during the “fire-and-fury” August last year, amid an exchange of threats between Trump and Kim and mutual display of powers. Guam has since been on alert mode, testing its communications and first response systems.
George Charfauros, Homeland Security advisor, said the focus of next week’s exercise will be immediate command and control response after a nuclear detonation.
“Although the probability of a ballistic missile attack is small, it is important to exercise our all-hazards response and recovery plans,” he said. “We look forward to the outcome of the exercise to identify shortfalls or gaps so we can address them prior to any real world events. Additionally, it is an excellent opportunity to work with all stakeholders, Government of Guam agencies, federal partners and military partners to understand and identify roles and responsibilities ahead of time.”
On April 11, instructors from the Counterterrorism Operations Support’s Center for Radiological/Nuclear Training facilitated a similar training exercise at the Sheraton Laguna Guam Resort.
The drills, officials said, were meant as a functional exercise to improve procedures and processes as well as increase collaboration among staff of incident commands, unified commands, Intel centers and other command centers in the event of a nuclear detonation.
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The end goal is to exercise immediate action drills, share information with partners, expand coordination and cooperation between the different participants and to establish recommendations for future preparedness exercises and efforts.
There will be no impact to the public as actionable items will be conducted from within respective agency operations centers and intelligence centers.
On Wednesday, Trump confirmed that his CIA chief secretly met with Kim in North Korea and said “a good relationship was formed” heading into the adversaries’ anticipated summit.
Mike Pompeo’s highly unusual talks “went smoothly,” Trump tweeted, with details about a presidential meeting within the next few months “being worked out now.”
“Denuclearisation will be a great thing for World, but also for North Korea!” Trump wrote while at his Florida estate, where he was hosting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Governor Eddie Calvo joined Rear Admiral Shoshana
Chatfield, Commander Joint Region Marianas, to greet
the men and women of the Terminal High Altitude Area
Defense Unit, Task Force Talon, at Andersen Air Force
Base in this Dec. 20, 2017 file photo. Photo courtesy of
the Office of the governor