Today, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and several federal, state and local agencies will participate in a scheduled exercise designed to enhance security in the Ohio-West Virginia area. TSA has partnered with local law enforcement to conduct thousands of similar operations from coast to coast. This is a scheduled operation, not related to a specific threat.
The exercise will cover approximately 5,000 square miles throughout Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia. The participating teams are composed of a variety of TSA assets including federal air marshals, canine teams, inspectors and bomb appraisal officers. They will be joined by state and local law enforcement officials to supplement existing resources, provide detection and response capabilities. The exercise will utilize multiple airborne assets, including Blackhawk helicopters and fixed wing aircraft as well as waterborne and surface teams.
"The exercise not only enhances security throughout the region; it gives TSA and our security partners the opportunity to work cooperatively," said TSA Columbus Federal Security Director Donald Barker. "This work increases our preparedness to respond in case of an emergency."
Federal partners participating with TSA in the operation include the Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard, FBI and Federal Air Marshals.
State of Ohio participants include the Ohio National Guard, State Highway Patrol, Emergency Management Agency, Department of Natural Resources, Department of Public Safety, Department of Transportation, Office of Homeland Security, City of Columbus Fire Division bomb squad, Ohio Fusion Center, several sheriff's offices and departments of emergency management.
West Virginia participants include the Department of Military Affairs & Public Safety, Division of Natural Resources, State Police, Office of Homeland Security, West Virginia National Guard, West Virginia Fusion Center, several sheriff's offices and departments of emergency management.
In addition to federal, state, and local assets, several other non-government entities are participating in today's operation.