Guam hosting international terrorism exercise
by Sabrina Salas Matanane, KUAM News
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Planning continues in the meantime for TOPOFF 4, scheduled to take place on Guam in October. TOPOFF 4 is U.S. Department of Homeland Security's most comprehensive terrorism response exercise. It's an honor bestowed to only a select few homeland security offices once every two years, and Guam was selected for the location of the exercise this year.
Former Guam homeland security advisor Senator Frank Blas, Jr. says he's still actively involved in the planning process, telling KUAM News, "Preliminarily, there are a number of countries that are going to be involved not only as participants, but observers. I do know that there is interest from Canada and Mexico, from the Southeast Asian countries, the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan, Korea as well as Australia, New Zealand; as well there's interest from European nations. Great Britain was involved last TOPOFF, they want to be involved with this one as well. There's a lot of interest from those nations to participate in these exercise, and it also involves the people on island and those to arrive to assist in this homeland security effort."
Senator Blas (R) who has oversight over homeland security issues, says upwards of 600 people could be on Guam to participate in the exercise. TOPOFF 4 is expected to be the culmination of a two-year cycle of seminars, planning events, and exercises. Guam participants for the exercise will include federal, state, local, private sector agencies and organizations, as well as volunteer groups.