by 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Public Affairs
3/2/2015 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz -- Air
Forces Southern joined forces with the Department of Homeland Security,
U.S. Southern Command and multiple other federal agencies to improve
their ability to operate as a team in the event of a mass migration,
Feb. 20-27, in Exercise Integrated Advance 2015.
Integrated Advance (IA) is a biennial U.S. Southern Command
(SOUTHCOM)-sponsored interagency exercise that focuses on supporting the
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of State (DOS) in
the event of a humanitarian crisis in the Caribbean.
"IA provides a great platform to train command and control efforts not
only across the DOD but across the full spectrum of U.S. government
response to crises," said Lt. Gen. Chris Nowland, 12th Air Force (Air
Forces Southern) commander.
The exercise anticipated the mass migration of people from multiple
Caribbean islands after a series of hurricanes devastate the area. The
goal of the exercise scenario was to effectively interdict and
repatriate the migrants at sea who were attempting to enter the United
The majority of the exercise is simulated and designed to improve
command and control among governmental agencies focusing on
interoperability with DHS and SOUTHCOM.
During the scenario-driven exercise, Joint Task Force - Migrant
Operations (JTF-MIGOPS) operated out of Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio,
Texas and practiced the ability to temporarily house migrants in a safe
and humane manner until they could be repatriated to their country of
The Air Force's role focused on providing airlift, medical care and
surveillance capabilities to other agencies during the simulated
"Our goal was to move people, equipment and supplies as quickly as
possible to the affected areas, as well as provide the Navy and Coast
Guard with additional surveillance assets to locate migrants at sea,"
the general said.
"The Air Force brings some unique capabilities to this sort of
operation," he said, adding, "Not only technologically through the use
of air, space and cyber assets, but especially through our expeditionary
medical squadrons and engineers who supported JTF-MIGOPS."
About 600 personnel from Department of Defense, Department of State,
Department of Homeland Security, Health and Human Services and state of
Florida agencies participated in the week-long exercise.
By training with interagency partners on complex scenarios involving
interdicting migrants at sea - most of whom are in unseaworthy and
overloaded craft - U.S. Southern Command and its components are better
prepared to respond should such humanitarian assistance be required.