The North Dakota National Guard will partner with several civilian agencies state-wide next week in a joint exercise called Vigilant Guard. The exercise will take place Aug. 3 - 6 in several areas across the state. The North Dakota National Guard regularly conducts emergency response exercise scenarios to help develop, validate, and refine plans and capabilities. This helps ensure its ability to support real-world disaster and emergency operations for our state and communities particularly in supporting response efforts such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

The exercise kicks off Monday, Aug. 3 with Dual Status Commander (DSC) discussions at Fraine Barracks. The DSC is an Army or Air National Guard officer or U.S. Army or U.S. Air Force officer, who has completed specialized training and certification. They may serve in two statuses (federal and state) simultaneously and command military forces in domestic response.

In areas where exercises are conducted as identified below, the public may notice a greater than usual presence of military personnel, aircraft and equipment, first responders and emergency vehicles during the timeframe of the exercise.

Vigilant Guard is an exercise program sponsored by U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) in conjunction with National Guard Bureau (NGB) that enables civilian-military first responders and emergency management personnel to evaluate their capabilities in emergency scenarios. A primary objective of this exercise is to expand and strengthen first responder partnerships through building relationships, communication, coordination and integration.

When ordered by the governor in response to requests through the N.D. Department of Emergency Services, the N.D. National Guard serves as the first military responder during a natural disaster or emergency within the state.

The N.D. National Guard is a dynamic and adaptive force, capable of exercising simulated disaster and emergency operations while supporting real-world response to the global pandemic of COVID-19.