Joint Task Force Homeland Defense
Exercise Lightning Rescue 2011 a Success

By JTF-HD Public Affairs

Fort Shafter, HAWAII – The annual Joint Task Force Homeland Defense (JTF-HD) Infectious Disease/Biological Threat (ID/BT) exercise "Lightning Rescue" was conducted from September 13-16, 2011 at various locations on the island of Oahu. JTF-HD is U.S. Pacific Command's (USPACOMs) Executive Agent for the conduct of Homeland Defense (HD) and Civil Support (CS) in response to all types hazards including responding to, and recovering from accidental, man-made or natural disasters in Hawaii and other US domestic jurisdictions in the Pacific.

Lightning Rescue is an annual JTF-HD sponsored exercise that began in 2006. The exercise is designed to validate regional Pandemic Influenza and Infectious Disease Response Plans and typically involves participation of more than 20 organizations, including interagency partners from civilian governments at all levels, private companies and nongovernment organizations (NGO), and Department of Defense (DOD) installations and organizations.

"What was unique about this year's exercise," said JTF-HD Deputy J3 Mr. Mel Garcia, "is that USPACOM and the State of Hawaii were able to exercise for the first time a new DOD command and control (C2) construct for domestic response called Dual Status Command (DSC)." Garcia further explained that in December 2010, a Joint Action Plan for DSC was approved by the Council of Governors, DOD, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), stating that the appointment of a DSC is now the "usual and customary command and control arrangement" when State and Federal military forces are employed simultaneously in support of civil authorities in the United States.

(Left) Paul Cruz and Craig Riley of Joint Task Force Homeland Defense (JTF-HD) coordinate efforts at the JTF-HD Joint Operations Center (JOC) during exercise "Lightning Rescue" conducted September 13-16, 2011 on the island of Oahu. (Official DoD photo by Darrell D. Ames) (Right) Members of various organizations confer during the Table Top portion of exercise "Lightning Rescue" conducted September 13-16, 2011 on the island of Oahu. (Official DoD photo by Darrell D. Ames)

JTF-HD, with its Defense Coordinating Element, is based at Fort Shafter, Hawaii and is designated as the Homeland Defense coordinating agency between the DOD and the civilian authorities in Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands as well as three foreign governments in the Pacific to include the Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. Working closely with Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, state and local governments, and military organizations in the Pacific, JTF-HD maintains situational awareness, helps coordinate implementation of a comprehensive Critical Infrastructure Protection Program across the JOA, and when required, coordinates and provides DOD resources to help save lives and mitigate property damage.

JTF-HD also maintains situational awareness of all domains within the JTF-HD Joint Operations Area; executes mission command of assigned forces in the land domain to conduct Homeland Defense operations to deter and defeat threats to critical infrastructure and key resources and when requested/validated, conducts Civil Support operations in response to all hazards to mitigate human suffering and reduce infrastructure damage.