Friday, January 30, 2009

CF participation in 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics security exercises

Lots of activity coming up (the story has a rather excited headline, links added):
The first major security exercise in preparation for the 2010 Winter Olympics will be launched next week using warships, CF-18 fighter aircraft and both RCMP and Canadian Forces units.

The Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit and the Canadian military will take part in what is being called Exercise Pegasus Guardian 2.2, a warm up to a larger event involving all federal, provincial and municipal organizations involved in Olympic security. The event is being dubbed Exercise Silver.

The various security events, running from Feb. 4 to 13, are focused on Vancouver and Whistler, B.C., the sites of the Winter Olympics.

As many as six warships based out of Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt in Victoria, B.C., will take part, including frigates, maritime coastal patrol vessels and other small craft. Canadian Forces Griffon helicopters will operate around Vancouver and Whistler, transporting RCMP emergency response teams [which may cause complications for the Griffon deployment to Kanadhar--see Upperdate here] while CF-18s will conduct practice intercepts.

Security planners have followed a graduated process for preparations for the 2010 Olympics. Exercise Bronze, held last year, was essentially a planning meeting of all agencies involved in the security aspects of the Games. Exercise Silver is to be a rehearsal of how to respond to various security scenarios.

Exercise Gold, to take place in the fall, will be a final test of the various agencies to see if they are ready for the Games in February 2010.

Planners expect to deal with a variety of potential scenarios, ranging from terrorists seizing a ferry off the coast of British Columbia to unidentified aircraft trying to approach Games facilities when events are under way...

Government officials are also expecting the final cost estimates on the Olympic security budget to be announced in February. Those costs were originally given as $175 million, but it is now believed they could reach $1 billion...
More on Exercise Silver:
Whistler – Olympic security personnel could be a source of economic opportunity for Pemberton during the 2010 Games, as the area is likely to find itself playing host to personnel with the RCMP-led group responsible for planning and implementing security next February and March.

Following a recent conversation with the chief operating officer of the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit (ISU), Pemberton Mayor Jordan Sturdy said security personnel have acquired some rooms in Pemberton for lodgings during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and bidding opportunities for providing food and beverages are to be opened.

“There’ll be people who are in Pemberton for a long period of time, or an extended period of time, who wouldn’t normally be there, providing demands for meals and restaurants and gas and fuel and groceries and laundry — you name it,” Sturdy said.

Cst. Bert Paquet, spokesperson for the ISU, confirmed only that the RCMP-led security group has “secured accommodations in the Pemberton area for security personnel during Games time.” In general, he said, Pemberton is factored to some degree into the ISU’s planning because of its proximity to Whistler and the logistics of staging the Games.

“We’re definitely not ignoring Pemberton in our plans, based on location, proximity of the venues, of our transportation (and the) Sea to Sky Highway,” Paquet said.

He also said the ISU is currently using “a small area near the airport,” which will be used in the upcoming Exercise Silver, part of the ISU’s 2010 Integrated Training Program.

The program incorporates the public and private agencies involved in the integrated unit, developing response capabilities through cooperative efforts, Paquet said. Exercise Bronze, a tabletop exercise involving discussions of potential Games-time incidents, was staged in November 2008 in Richmond.

Exercise Silver, a blend of tabletop planning and “boots on the ground” work, is scheduled for the second week of February, Paquet said. Exercise Silver activities are to be held in Vancouver, the Greater Vancouver area and the Whistler area, putting into practice the lessons from the Bronze discussions.

Sturdy said Exercise Silver could require a number of temporary radar installations, with the Pemberton Airport as a potential location.

“(Currently) there’s radar that controls the airspace above Pemberton, but those radar locations don’t see below the tops of the mountains, so there will be some temporary installations which would control or monitor the airspace that has opportunity to access venue sites,” Sturdy said...
Update: More from the Globe and Mail:
An estimated 4,000 members of the armed forces will be seconded to Olympic duties in 2010 – far more than the 2,500 to 2,800 military personnel currently deployed in Afghanistan.

There are concerns that the simultaneous needs of both military operations could strain existing resources. Earlier this month, Colonel Christopher Coates, head of the Air Division, expressed worries about having to juggle helicopter demands for Afghanistan and Olympic duties at the same time.

“Yes, there will be a strain for us to carry out both operations,” a military source said this week. “But will we be able to do it? Yes, of course. We can surge,” he said, referring to the practice of boosting numbers to a location when needed. “Being stretched is nothing new for the military.”..

...[Rear] Adm. Pile [head of the armed forces' Joint Task Force for the 2010 Games], who is based at the Esquimalt naval base on Vancouver Island, will attend a Monday news conference to discuss security arrangements for the Games. Equipment and vehicles to be used by Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit will also be on display. Details of the ISU's first active training exercise, dubbed Operation Silver, running from Feb. 9-13 in Vancouver and Whistler, are also expected to be announced.

“The public are certainly going to see us,” said Bud Mercer, assistant RCMP commissioner and head of the ISU. “There will be a lot more play than in our previous exercise, which was essentially a table-top operation.”

Two frigates and three maritime coastal defence vessels, some aircraft and a light contingent of troops will participate from the military, sources indicated...


Blogger Babbling Brooks said...

I'm not sure how the Griffons' work in Vancouver can really affect what the detachment flying out of Whiskey Ramp at KAF is doing. It's not like we're having to borrow from Peter to pay Paul on this.

1:48 p.m., January 30, 2009  

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