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A security exercise aimed at enhancing response capabilities of civilian and military personnel recently was completed at Commander, Naval Forces Marianas on Guam, according to the Navy.

Participants in the July 1 exercise, in which the participants responded to the report of a chemical lab, included members of the Guam Federal Fire Department; the Navy Chemical, Ordnance, Biological and Radiological Tactical Team (COBRA); Port Authority firefighters and police officers from the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands; and a New Mexico Army National Guard unit.

The response teams’ objective was to enter the building, assess the situation, neutralize any resistance, contain all hazards and analyze their findings, the release stated.

The scenario was staged at Tree of Life Chapel, complete with booby traps, tripwires, several armed perpetrators and unidentified chemicals.

Capt. James Diaz, training officer with the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands Port Authority Fire Department, said the civilian and military team concept would improve the island’s ability to tackle terrorism.

“If the people from the Navy come down to Saipan when we have an incident, we can merge and get a good working relationship … for any incidents in or around Guam or Saipan,” he said in the report. “So it pretty much works out well for us.”

Guidelines for working with the military during large-scale incidents are in place, Diaz said, and both the Navy and CNMI teams are creating new operating procedures to follow.

“We’ll make sure that our [procedures] … correspond with each other so there’s no big conflicts when we respond to assist [CNMI authorities] or vice versa,” said Cmdr. Tito Arandela, assistant chief of staff for security and fire for Commander, Naval Forces Marianas in the report.

The next exercise for the COBRA team is scheduled for later this month.

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