Saturday, November 03, 2007

CTF 59, Coalition Forces Conduct Crisis Response Exercise

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Commander, Task Force (CTF) 59, responsible for planning and carrying out contingency operations in the region, and coalition forces are conducting the second phase of a crisis response exercise in the region Nov. 1-7.

Phase 1 was a table-top discussion which focused on the planning phase of the exercise.

This second phase moves operational assets into action and transports relief supplies and equipment ashore from USS Wasp (LHD 1) to a staging base in Bahrain.

The exercise scenario involves a tropical cyclone that devastates a notional regional nation, destroying its critical infrastructure, shutting down its international airport, desalination and electrical plants, and displacing thousands of citizens. Additionally, the scenario includes an oil spill from a damaged tanker at sea.

"One cannot predict when or where a natural disaster is going to take place," said Rear Adm. Terence E. McKnight, CTF 59 commander. "But we can train to improve our response when a host nation requests our assistance. Coalition forces are committed to helping a host nation that requests our assistance by providing support, security and stability to the region."

In addition to the CTF 59 staff, exercise participants include: U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, task force commanders responsible for logistics (CTF 53); MH-53 helicopters which will be conducting most of the personnel and equipment transfers from ship to shore (CTF 55); the U.S. Navy Seabees or construction battalion (CTF 56); and maritime air patrol (CTF 57); U.S. Embassy in Bahrain, Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team, Wasp, Joint Communications Support Element, Standing Joint Forces Head Quarters, U.S. Air Force Central Command, and various Coalition forces and regional countries.

"As the lead task force of planning and executing a crisis response, it is imperative to coordinate with all those involved," said Lt. Col. Douglas Scott, CTF 59 plans officer. "We've completed the planning phase, now it's time to put things in motion."