ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford today announced Maryland’s response to the 2018 National Level Exercise taking place May 7-10, 2018. Nearly 2,000 members of the National Guard, active duty military, and civilians from six states and the District of Columbia are taking part in the Vigilant Guard 18 emergency response exercise. Vigilant Guard is an exercise that allows the Maryland Military Department a chance to collaborate and test interoperability as part of a National Level Exercise. The Maryland Military Department includes the Maryland National Guard, the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), and the Maryland Defense Force.

MEMA, along with 42 other federal, state, and local agencies are exercising their hurricane plans and testing how well local, state, and federal agencies work together to address hurricane damage as part of the National Level Exercise. In the fictional training scenario, Hurricane Cora has caused severe loss of life and damage to residences, businesses, and critical infrastructure throughout the mid-Atlantic region. The storm also has caused long-term power outages and cascading effects to critical infrastructure in the region, including transportation and communications systems.

The agencies are evaluated on preparing for and recovering from a catastrophic hurricane making landfall. International partners are also present, observing the exercise to take home lessons learned.

“This exercise will test how the Maryland National Guard will assist in the state’s response in the event of a catastrophic event,” said Lt. Governor Rutherford. “It is critical to ensure that our federal, state, and local governments work together as efficiently and effectively as possible.”

Multiple locations in Maryland, including Perry Point VA Medical Center; Aberdeen Proving Ground; Edgewood Area of Aberdeen Proving Ground; Camp Fretterd Military Reservation; Springfield Hospital Center; Baltimore City Fire Academy; Curtis Bay; and Montgomery County Public Safety Training Academy will be used to improve their ability to respond to a natural disaster and enhance relationships with local, state, and federal emergency response partners.

“The purpose of Vigilant Guard is to improve coordination, operational relationships, plans, and processes in preparation for emergencies and catastrophic events,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Linda L. Singh, the adjutant general of Maryland.

The Vigilant Guard exercise is hosted by the Maryland National Guard in partnership with the Maryland Emergency Management Agency. It is one of multiple exercises taking place the first two weeks in May as part of the Federal Emergency Management Association’s National Level Exercise using a common scenario. The National Level Exercise is sponsored by the United States Northern Command in conjunction with National Guard Bureau.