The Muscatatuck Urban Training Center is a 1,000 acre urban training facility located near Butlerville, Indiana. In 2005 Governor Mitch Daniels relinquished control of the facility to the Indiana National Guard. According to their website: “MUTC is a consortium of governmental, public, and private entities that are pooling their unique capabilities in order to provide the most realistic training experience possible." The training center is used for a variety of training scenarios by a multitude of civilian and military organizations, both foreign and domestic. Included on the premise is a newly created subway simulation complex used for WMD attack simulations on subways for both rescue and military personnel. Also on the premise are 14 single-level buildings, 9 buildings with basements, over a mile of tunnels, 120+ training structures, a seven-story building, a five-story building, 20 three-story buildings and 16 two-story buildings. The base is home to the Wolf Ops, a training group of the National Guard Bureau that helps lead simulations. The base also includes an active farm used to train soldiers how to handle animals and crops, especially those that are found on Afghan farms.
In 2007 Ardent Sentry, a major exercise at MUTC, was the largest full scale training exercise ever conducted in Indiana. More than 1,000 emergency responders and exercise support staff were on hand participating bringing the total number of participants to 4,794. There were also several full-scale earthquake exercises simulated during the year with several local Indiana Emergency Agencies and Indiana District 9. On November 14-15 MUTC housed the Pandemic Response Indiana Defense Exercise or PRIDE. In the exercise IDHS, Indiana State Department of Health, Indiana Board of Animal Health along with Districts 6 and 10 collaborated for pandemic response. The purpose was to demonstrate the capabilities of local, state, private and federal agencies to establish and maintain response communications systems that are required to sustain a common operating picture and response during a pandemic. Volunteers from around Indiana came to take part in the operation acting as victims of the pandemic.
The simple beauty of an installation like MUTC lies in the ability to conduct multiple training exercises simultaneously, allowing interaction between a military unit escorting State Department officials with international role players in coordination with international military and police units through a combined diplomatic and military exercise, while a county sheriff’s department from any of the 50 united states conducts K-9 training alongside Federal Emergency Management Agency employees involved in a disaster exercise.
In order to perform missions effectively, one has to train effectively. The more realistic the training, the more likely the real mission will be successful. For this reason, Muscatatuck has established LTA Panther, a local training area collocated on the North Vernon Municipal Airport, about five miles from the “failed city” of Muscatatuck. This replicates the actual theater environment where both military and civilian personnel gather at a Contingency Operating Base (COB) or Forward Operating Base (FOB) before proceeding to or after returning from the less secure urban area where missions are accomplished.
Through another agreement with the Indiana National Guard, the Center provides experiential training and student internships for first responder activities at Muscatatuck, supporting the unmanned systems learning initiative, the development of crisis leaders for homeland security, and the research for first responder activities. The ISU Center for Unmanned Systems is also the Safety of Flight Assessment Manager for the State of Indiana’s restricted airspace at Camp Atterbury and JPG per an agreement with the Indiana National Guard.
Because it is difficult to imagine the scale and variety of possible “real world” training scenarios possible, a short list has been included below. The list is hardly inclusive.
Tornado Alley Exercise
- IDHS led District Response Task Forces in a state-level exercise from April 24-26, 2012.
- Full task forces from districts 2, 3, 4, and 6 participated in the realistic full-scale tornado exercise. Fire suppression, law enforcement, search and rescue, incident management and emergency public information response capabilities were exercised.
- This exercise simulated a catastrophic nature of a major F5 tornado in the southeastern corner of Indiana in the city of Greensburg, IN.
- The exercise offered agencies and jurisdictions a way to test their plans and skills in a real-time, realistic environment and to gain the in-depth knowledge that only experience can provide. Participants will exercise response and recovery functions that are critical to responding to a catastrophic event.
September, 2012 Exercise
- The Indiana Department of Homeland Security will host the State Level Exercise for Districts 7, 8, 9 and 10 on September 24th through the 28th 2012.
- This event will include validating four of the five remaining task forces totaling around 100 District Response Task Force (DRTF) players.
- In addition, the exercise will mobilize all four task forces with more than 100 controllers and evaluators.
- Each district is expected to mobilize all of its core elements during the exercise. State level and other participants will include the Indiana State Police, Indiana National Guard, Indiana Building Emergency Assessment and Monitoring (IBEAM, organized by IDHS’s Fire and Building Safety Division), Indiana State Excise Police, Indiana Department of Transportation and the Indiana State Health Department. All Hazards Incident Management Teams from San Diego and Illinois will also be involved.
Shaking Bedrock–National Level Exercise 2011
- On May 16-19th, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) participated in the 2011 National Level Exercise called Shaking Bedrock. IDHS led Indiana’s portion of the exercise.
- The situation was a catastrophic earthquake, and consisted of an enormous number of incidents affecting all aspects of public and private infrastructure.
- The 2011 National Level Exercise (NLE 2011) included multiple federal, state, regional and local governmental agencies as well as international, nongovernmental, and private sector partners.
- Indiana’s portion of the exercise include about 1,200 responders and numerous role players, evaluators and exercise support personnel.
- With over 10,000 multidisciplinary players including federal, state, regional and local governmental agencies at more than 135 sites across the country and 7,800 individuals from the private sector and not-for-profit community participating virtually, the scope and scale of the exercise was the capstone event of a White House directed, Congressionally mandated cycle of planning and preparedness events.
- FEMA Director Craig Fugate along with local, state, national and international public safety professionals and dignitaries attended the exercise in Indiana.
Pandemic Response Indiana Defense Exercise (PRIDE)
- November 14-15, IDHS, Indiana State Department of Health, Indiana Board of Animal Health and Districts 6 and 10 collaborated for the Pandemic Response.
- The purpose was to demonstrate the capabilities of Local, State, Private and Federal agencies to establish and maintain response communications systems required to sustain a common operating picture and response capabilities during a pandemic. This exercise was used to evaluate the effectiveness of Federal, State, Local and Private Sector continuity of operation and continuity of government plans during a pandemic, as well as the ability to establish NIMS compliant incident management systems to manage local and state response to a pandemic.
- Volunteers acted the part of survivors.
- At that time, Ardent Sentry was the largest full scale training exercise ever conducted in Indiana with more than 1,000 Indiana emergency responders and exercise support staff participating. Total number of Participants: 4,794
- Also included more than 130 local and state agencies, several private businesses, 14 Federal, 7 Department of Defense, 5 EMAC agencies, 3 contractors, the National Guard Bureau, and two other organizations.
- The overarching goal was to test the ability of Title 10 (Active Duty) and Title 32 (National Guard) military forces to integrate and collaborate with the civilian command structure and non-military emergency responders while conducting tactical operations on the ground.
D9 Earthquake Full–Scale Exercise
- Several local Indiana Emergency Management Agencies and Indiana District 9.
- The exercise was built around a major earthquake occurring in Indiana.
Senator Joe Donnelly observes Vibrant Response
“This is an extraordinary resource for our state. We can be very, very proud of this as Hoosiers, and know this; every American is safer because of what is done here in Southern Indiana.” - Senator Donnelly
Indiana at center of national terror response training exercise
More than 5,000 members of the military and civilians from across the country are taking part in the two-week, large-scale disaster response exercise. The scenario is a nuclear terrorist attack in Columbus, Ohio—and the backdrop is as close to the real thing as it gets.