Exercise Checkered Flag- Preparing for Domestic Emergency Response

  • Published
  • By Major Frank Howard
  • 181st Intelligence Wing/Executive Staff Officer
On March 7th and 8th the 181st Intelligence Wing (181st IW) and 76th Brigade Special Troops Battalion (BSTB) partnered for the first joint Exercise Checkered Flag hosted at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. Capt Christopher Brownell (181st IW) and Capt Christopher Silbaugh (76th BSTB) came up with concept for Exercise Checkered Flag, based on the capabilities each unit provided to the state and looked for a way to exercise a joint Indiana domestic emergency response.

The "proof-of-concept" exercise created an environment where Indiana Air National Guard Geospatial Analysts and Indiana Army National Guard, RQ-7 Shadow Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) soldiers could integrate their separate skill sets to provide real-time video to a ground station manned by the 181st Intelligence Wing. Analysts from the 181st have already proven the capability to analyze video from RQ-11 Raven UASs, as well as Civil Air Patrol aircraft.

The 181st Intelligence Wing utilized a Geospatial Information Interoperability Exploitation Portable go kit (GIIEP) and a Remote Optical Video Enhanced Receiver (ROVER) to receive a data-linked video from the 76th BSTB RQ-7 Shadow UAS. According to Capt Christopher Brownell, 181st IW, "this exercise will increase our State leadership's organic ability to manage crisis situations and the Indiana Guard's joint capability to support the incident commander during a disaster."

The ROVER allows Indiana Guardsmen the capability to receive imagery and video directly from unmanned and manned aircraft. The GIIEP provides the capability to integrate multiple forms of data to include aerial and terrestrial data into a common operating picture, to support homeland domestic event response operations. According to Col Kip Clark, 181st IW, "In the near future, airmen from the 181st IW may be co-located in incident response command posts utilizing their GIIEP kits to provide commanders a real-time capability to assess natural disaster areas and more effectively manage their personnel."