Guardian Shield 2010 tests 7th Civil Support Command, partner nation crisis response

By Spc. Glenn M. Anderson, 7th CSC Public Affairs Office
Sept. 10, 2010

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany -- A chemical plant in a foreign country accidentally releases a plume of toxic fumes, causing panic, sickness and numerous deaths. Officials in the beleaguered nation call for U.S. assistance. Who will go?

This was the test scenario for Guardian Shield 10, a yearly joint and combined exercise that is one of several designed to train members of the 7th Civil Support Command to conduct consequence management and civil affairs operations in response to a crisis.

Activated in September 2009, the 7th CSC is the only consequence management and civil affairs Reserve unit in Europe. The command's sole purpose is to respond to incidents and provide immediate assistance so the affected region can return to normal. The members of the 7th provide command and control, civil support teams, and civil affairs capabilities.

The recently completed Guardian Shield called upon the 7th CSC to respond to an alert and move to Plock, Poland. The focus of this year's exercise was to conduct command and control, said Capt. Major Robinson, a 7th CSC training officer.

Robinson said the 7th CSC is moving in "a real-world direction," and will soon be ready to handle real contingencies.

“The 7th has its own challenges because of personnel rotations. The beauty of the 7th CSC is that there is a strong desire to do well and to learn. And if you have that, you are golden,” said Mark Terry, a consequence management defense contractor supporting the Defense Threat Reduction Agency who served as a planner and observer-controller for the exercise.

These exercises allow strengths and weaknesses to be pinpointed and built upon or corrected, and as long as dedicated people are conducting the exercise the unit will gain a good grasp on how things are done, said Terry.

7th CSC has a great team that wants to work toward an attainable goal, he added, and DTRA helps by bringing realism to consequence management training involving events in a foreign land.

“GS10 provided some of the most realistic training for the 7th CSC, with members of the Polish fire services, the Polish police force (and) U.S. Air Force and Navy, to give the exercise the feel of a real-world event,” said James Otto, 7th CSC director of emergency services.