Bridge Terror Drills

Title: Marlyland Defense Force Joins National Guard For Major Homeland Security/Terrorist Response Exercise [M&T Bank Stadium]
September 7, 2007
Militatry Defense Force

Abstract: The Maryland Defense Force (MDDF) joined the National Guard (NG) for Exercise Vigilant Guard, a major homeland security/terrorist response exercise held in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC, during the week ending 7 September, 2007 (Maryland Army National Guard press release, 2007; Maryland Defense Force press release, 2007). Vigilant Guard is a National Guard Bureau sponsored series of national and regional exercises (Maryland National Guard Joint Force Headquarters, 2007) designed to enhance the preparedness of National Guard forces in performing their role as the first military responder in all domestic emergencies.

The State of Maryland’s military participation in Vigilant Guard involved the Maryland NG Joint Force Headquarters (JFHQs), Maryland Joint Task Force (JTF) and operational units from all four agencies of the Maryland Military Department; the Maryland Army National Guard (MDARNG), the Maryland Air National Guard (MDANG), the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), and the MDDF.
Participating agencies also included the Virginia NG and Department of Emergency
Management, the District of Columbia NG and Emergency Management Agency; Joint Force

Headquarters - National Capital Region; elements of the North Carolina NG; and county and municipal first responders from across the three jurisdictions. The exercise followed a simulated terrorist attack scenario which unfolded over the course of the three-day exercise. The first two days were played out on computer screens and communication equipment in the CPX at the Joint Operations Center at Camp Fretterd Military Reservation in Reisterstown, Maryland, primarily testing the Maryland NG’s ability to coordinate and interoperate with other state and local agencies.

Using simulated reports – “notional injects” in exercise parlance – from a variety of sources, the scenario unfolded. First a truck bomb collapsed a span of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge during rush hour traffic. Next, a bomb exploded on a rail line, derailing a train near the Baltimore-Washington International Airport. As public concern spread, traffic approached gridlock and telephone lines became overwhelmed. Suspected terrorists next fired an anti-tank rocket at a train in downtown Baltimore, followed by a shoot-out with city police who found a suspicious white powder in their vehicle near the M&T Bank Stadium (Military Defense Force, 2007).