By Marina Malenic

U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) this week is conducting the third phase of a multi-year effort to improve the joint force commander’s ability to operate with interagency, international and non-government partners during a potential attack or natural disaster on U.S. territory.

“Noble Resolve” is a series of experiments designed to address these cooperation issues in support of U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) efforts to create Homeland Defense and civil support contingency plans.

Two phases of the experiment were conducted in 2007. The first identified gaps in response efforts during the 9/11 terror attacks and Hurricane Katrina that could still hamper the National Guard in responding to a future disaster. It identified solutions for those gaps that would be tested in future experimentation. The second phase identified policies and procedures that improve civil support defense decision-making and experimented with information-sharing solutions that contribute to a “common operating picture” for all first responders.

Rear Adm. Dan Davenport, director of joint concept development and experimentation for JFCOM, explained that this week’s effort is focused on information sharing.

“It’s the culmination event for a series of work that has been ongoing throughout the year for information sharing,” Davenport told reporters yesterday. “But it also ties together with some work we are doing to counter [weapons of mass destruction] and Maritime Domain Awareness efforts.”

He added that JFCOM is also working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and NORTHCOM to study mass population migrations as part of this week’s work.

This week’s experiment will examine the response to scenarios such as massive earthquakes in Indiana and Oregon, as well as a derailed train in Virginia, according to a JFCOM press release on the effort. The work will take place at JFCOM facilities in Suffolk, Va., and at sites in Colorado, Indiana, Virginia and Oregon.

Participants in this week’s activities represent U.S. military and government organizations and NGOs. In addition, several international partners–Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Morocco, Portugal, South Korea, Romania, Spain, Sweden and NATO-Allied Command Transformation–have sent observers or representatives.