U.S. Army North, North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) Command and U.S. Northern Command’s Joint Force Land Component Command, participated in Exercise VIGILANT SHIELD 23, a bi-national homeland defense exercise between the U.S. and Canada from 11-19 April.
The exercise evaluated and enhanced the ability of NORAD and NORTHCOM, their supporting service components, and mission partners to defend North America in the event of an attack on the homeland. Vigilant Shield 23 focused on total force sustainment, support operations, and communications within and between the headquarters and supporting units.
“It is critical that the American public maintains confidence in the U.S. Army and the U.S. joint force to remain prepared and ready to defend our homeland,” said Lt. Gen. John R. Evans, Jr., U.S. Army North commander. “It also demonstrates to our allies and partners, and those wanting to harm us, our commitment to defending the homeland and ensuring our strategic advantage remains high.”
During the exercise, ARNORTH simulated its real-world mission of commanding and controlling ground forces to detect, deter, and defeat threats against the American people. ARNORTH’s ability to mobilize, deploy, and sustain mission ready land forces throughout the U.S. remains integral to the homeland defense mission.
Effective homeland defense requires synchronization across multiple domains to move equipment and material at speed and scale rapidly and effectively. To leverage this support, ARNORTH employs the 377th Theater Support Command, which provides logistical support to the joint force, and Joint Task Force Civil Support, to exercise lifesaving and disaster mitigation while assisting local authorities in the event of a real-world attack.
According to U.S. Army Col. Andy Sanchez, U.S. Army North’s Vigilant Shield 23 Joint Operations Center director, the command leveraged an innovative common operating picture application to assist in streamlining and flattening communications across the commands to improve situational awareness at the decision-making level.
“Multi-domain operations across a joint and interagency operating environment can produce both challenges and opportunities,” Sanchez said. “It’s our job to use our available resources to assess and attempt to mitigate any challenges we face while supporting the joint forces during their missions.”
Vigilant Shield 23 provided ARNORTH and its mission partners opportunities to examine and refine strategies, evaluate processes and procedures, and demonstrate the ability to address threats in various environments and domains.
“We will continue to work closely with our government and interagency partners to tackle and solve problems…even before they arise,” Evans said. “Exercises like Vigilant Shield fortify those partnerships and enhance our readiness to defend the homeland.”