Department of National Defence



Department of National Defence

February 18, 2008 12:44 ET

Federal Government Hosts National Counter-Terrorism Exercise in BC

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 18, 2008) - This week, the Government of Canada is conducting Exercise Initial Thunder (ExIT-08) in Vancouver and Victoria. It is the largest multi-jurisdictional chemical, biological, radiological-nuclear and explosives (CBRNE) counter-terrorism exercise ever held in Canada.

More than 250 participants from all levels of government are coming together to collaborate in this exercise.

"The federal Science and Technology community has some of the best and brightest minds in Canada working on solutions to assist our country in responding to emergency situations, whether they are the result of terrorist activity, accidents or natural disasters," said Ted Sykes, Manager of CRTI's Radiological-Nuclear. "ExIT-08 provides an invaluable opportunity to showcase these solutions and improve collaboration between all levels of government for a safer and more secure Canada."

ExIT-08 is among the numerous preparedness activities being undertaken by various departments and agencies throughout Canada on an ongoing basis. It is sponsored by the Government of Canada's Chemical, Biological, Radiological-Nuclear, and Explosives Research and Technology Initiative (CRTI).

Note to Editors: The Centre for Security Science is hosting a Media Event with a briefing and demonstration at the site of the exercise. On-site media registration will take place on Monday, February 18, 2008 in the Waterfront parking lot, between the helijet terminal and C.R.A.B Park at Portside. Media must register themselves and their equipment (with valid photo identification) between 11:30 and 11:45.

BACKGROUNDER

RESPONDERS AND FEDERAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY EXPERTS IMPROVE COLLABORATION THROUGH COUNTER-TERRORISM EXERCISE

Exercise Initial Thunder (ExIT-08)

From 18 to 21 February 2008, the federal government is conducting Exercise Initial Thunder (ExIT-08), the largest and most realistic multi-jurisdictional chemical, biological, radiological-nuclear and explosives (CBRNE) counter-terrorism exercise ever held in Canada. Twelve federal departments and agencies will work in collaboration with provincial and municipal partners to demonstrate the tools, knowledge and expertise that the federal science and technology community can contribute to assist responders in emergency situations involving CBRNE threats. Exercises like ExIT-08 also provide participants with a valuable learning experience to assist in the development of a more efficient and coordinated response to major emergency situations.

The exercise is sponsored by the Government of Canada's CBRNE Research and Technology Initiative (CRTI). It is one in a series of federal exercises being conducted to evaluate different tools, systems and procedures that have been developed through CRTI investments in science and technology projects. Exercises have been hosted across locations across Canada. Each exercise builds on the lessons learned from the previous exercise and provides an opportunity to learn from the federal, provincial and municipal responder communities, develop best practices, and identify areas where further science and technology (S&T) developments are needed.

Over the course of ExIT-08, teams of federal, provincial and municipal responders will work through a number of mock scenarios designed to demonstrate the value and effectiveness of S&T solutions developed through the CRTI. The first segment of the exercise takes place in the Port of Vancouver and involves the illegal shipment of radiological materials, as well as the triage and transport of casualties who have been exposed to radiation.

The second segment of the exercise takes place at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Esquimalt. Scenarios will involve radiological, chemical, biological and explosives materials and exercise how to detect these materials as well as how to handle them from a forensics point of view. All exercise activities will be conducted under strict security protocols and procedures to ensure the safety and security of the participants, the surrounding communities and the environment.

Participants

Federal participants include Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, Canada Border Services Agency, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Defence Research and Development Canada, Department of National Defence, Environment Canada, Health Canada (HC), Natural Resources Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada, Public Safety Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Transport Canada, and Vancouver Port Authority. Provincial and municipal participants include BC Centre for Disease Control, BC Ambulance Services (BCAS), BC Provincial Emergency Program (BC PEP), Vancouver Fire and Rescue Service, and Vancouver Police Department. Other partners include International Safety Research Inc., the organization coordinating the exercise, and Centerm Ltd.

Chemical, Biological, Radiological-Nuclear, and Explosives Research & Technology Initiative (CRTI)

CRTI represents the federal science community's response and commitment to providing S&T solutions to strengthen Canada's ability to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from CBRNE incidents, including terrorist and criminal acts, accidents and natural disasters. CRTI was originally launched as a five-year, $170 million program, in May 2001, as part of the $7.7 billion investment the Government of Canada announced in Budget 2001 to improve Canadian security and counter terrorism efforts. In those five years, a total of $134.2 million was allocated to 136 projects through an annual competitive project selection process. An additional $150 million was leveraged through in-kind and other contributions from partners in academia, industry and other government departments. In December 2006, the initiative was renewed for another five years, receiving more than $175 million in funding.

CRTI is a horizontal, interdepartmental initiative involving 19 federal government departments and agencies who play a role in public safety and security. These departments and agencies are brought together as members of Science Clusters. These are groups of federal laboratories and other government representatives comprised of S&T experts and their laboratories who have a role to play in providing S&T advice and capabilities to protect Canadians against CBRNE threats. CRTI manages four Science Clusters in each of the relevant domains: Chemical Cluster, Biological Cluster, Radiological-nuclear Cluster and Explosives Cluster. An additional cluster spanning across all domains has also been created, which specializes in Forensics. Through these Science Clusters and their many activities, CRTI has become a public security centre of excellence for CBRNE coordination and collaboration across three Canadian S&T sectors: government, industry and academia.

CRTI is managed by the Centre for Security Science, a joint endeavor between Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) and Public Safety Canada. DRDC is an agency of the Department of National Defence, responding to the scientific and technological needs of the Canadian Forces and national security communities. With a broad scientific program, DRDC actively collaborates with industry, international allies, academia, other government departments and the national security community.

Contact Information