June 19, 2017
CHESAPEAKE—World headlines—and even those coming out of Alexandria, Va. last week with the baseball field shooting—remind us that terrorist acts have become a disturbingly regular part of life in our conflict-filled world. While Hampton Roads has not been the site of one of these major attacks, the region’s strategic civilian, military and economic features make it a potential target for one of these attacks. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM), City of Chesapeake, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are partnering to hold the Joint Counter Terrorism Awareness Workshop Series (JCTAWS) in Chesapeake June 20-21 to address these threats.
The joint exercise will foster collaboration between local, state, federal and private-sector entities to enhance the region’s preparedness to respond to a complex, coordinated terrorist attack. The two-day workshop brings together law enforcement, fire, emergency medical services, maritime response, crisis managers, telecommunications, mass transit, emergency management, private-sector companies and non-governmental organizations to address threats from violent extremism. Attendees will discuss existing response plans, policies, resources, and procedures, and will identify areas where improved coordination is needed. They will also work through exercise scenarios of various types of terrorism threats/attacks.
JCTAWS is a national effort to bring together hundreds of public and private-sector partners to share best practices, discuss potential threats and build capability for regional response to potential terrorist attacks.
“The Commonwealth of Virginia serves as a strategic center for military, public safety and government agencies working together to keep our country safe,” said Virginia’s Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security, Brian Moran. “The Hampton Roads region is an ideal place for this type of cross-jurisdictional training to muster resources from multiple localities, state and federal agencies and private companies. Unfortunately, Virginia was the location of the terrible mass shootings at Virginia Tech and just last week during the Congressional baseball practice in Alexandria. We must collaborate across jurisdictional lines to face these threats head on and to keep our citizens safe.”