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2019 TN Interoperability Exercise at McGhee Tyson Base

posted Jul 25, 2019, 7:17 PM by Gardener Person


You are invited to the 2019 Tennessee Public Safety Interoperability Exercise, which will be held August 22-25, 2019 at Joint Base McGhee Tyson 10 miles south of Knoxville. See additional information attached and below.  Please share this invitation with any public safety, amateur radio, military or other individuals and organizations who may benefit from interoperable communications now or in the future.


For those who have received the invitation previously and for those who are seeing it for the first time, this email will serve as a reminder that registration for the exercise will close 08AUG2019 2400L. There will be no onsite registration in compliance with Joint Base McGhee Tyson access regulations.


We look forward to seeing you at the exercise as we work together to improve our communication capabilities prior to the next major emergency or disaster. 


Best Regards,



Colin F. Ickes, MS, NRP


Knoxville-Knox County Emergency Management Agency

605 Bernard Ave

Knoxville, TN 37921


Knoxville-Knox County Emergency Management Agency 605 Bernard Avenue

Knoxville, Tennessee 37921

May 24, 2019



TO:            Tennessee Public Safety CommunicationsPractitioners and Partners 

What:            Tennessee Public Safety Interoperability Exercise (TNPSIE 2019)

When:                  August 22-25, 2019

Where:          134th Air Refueling Wing, Building 416 SpruanceHall, 134 Briscoe Drive, Knoxville, TN, 37777. Joint Base McGhee Tyson.

(United States National Grid 16SGE7081967660)

Sponsors:    The Knoxville-Knox County Emergency Management Agency (KEMA), Tennessee Emergency ManagementAgency (TEMA), Tennessee Advanced Communications Network (TACN), and the Tennessee National Guard

This letter serves as an official call for participation to individuals and agencies that support emergency communications in Tennessee and collaborating states.

Who Should Attend:

The Tennessee Public Safety Interoperability Exercise (TNPSIE) will provide value to military, EMS, Fire, Law enforcement, amateur and auxiliary communications operators, NGOs, nontraditional emergency responders and elected officials from various local, state, Federal agencies and jurisdictions.

Recent disasters including train derailments, floods, and fires have all demonstrated that effective, interoperable communications are a key element in the execution of a successful emergency response and recovery. To be adequately prepared for such events, the communications community must gather together periodically to practice itstradecraft in a multi- agency, multi-discipline environment.

Exercise objectives:

1.           Foster relationship building among local, state, and federal government agencies, non- governmental organizations, and auxiliary communications groups involved in emergency communications;

2.           Give All-Hazards Communications Leaders (COML) and Communications Technicians (COMT) an opportunity to demonstrateproficiency with task book items in order to progress towardcertification;

3.           Provide communications-related training and relationship buildingopportunities;

4.           Demonstrate agency communications platform capabilities andincrease awareness of communications assets available through mutual aid;

5.           Share assessments of emerging technologies aimed at improvingaccuracy and timeliness of emergency communications.


August 22nd pre-exercise classes include:

·       ACU Bootcamp – patch incompatible radio networks, connect radio networks to telephone or SATRAD MSATsystems, and network RoIP/VoIP voice paths.

·       High Frequency (HF) Academy: a visual learning approach with field lab.

·       Incident Command System (ICS) Refresher.

·        FEMA All-Hazards Communications Unit Leader (COML) Bootcamp.

·        Winlink (email-internet and radio-only) Hands-On and Lab.



The All-Hazards Communications Leader (COML) Bootcamp on August 22 is for those personnel who have completed the 40-hour COML course and were certified three or more years prior to the exercise. The bootcamp is a required refresher for previously certified COMLs only. Personnel who do not wish to participate in the pre-exercise classes or the COML Boot Camp may use the 22nd as a travel day.



All personnel are invited to participate in the communications exercise centered at Joint Base McGhee Tyson August 23-25 to practice and improve their communications interoperability skills. This event is designed to strengthen interoperability and proficiencies within the Tennessee public safety and auxiliary communications communities in preparation for real- world emergencies and disasters. Attendees are encouraged to bring communications equipment, platforms (vehicles, trailers, etc.) and/or drop kits.



While participation on site is preferred, remote sites will have an opportunity to participate in the exercise through a communication check list and by accepting assignments representing exercise-defined roles.

All participants and attendees MUST register before August 8, 2019 to be permitted entry to Joint Base McGhee Tyson.

On the afternoons of August 23-24, the COMEX will be paused to allowclasses and breakout sessions to be conducted. Additional sessionsduring the evening could be possible for topics with sufficient interest.

Potential Classes and Breakout Sessions August 23-24.

1.                       APX and XTS Radio Programming Refresher

2.                       Working with the Military Auxiliary Radio Service

3.                       Comparing Satellite Phone Options

4.                       The Role of TEMA in Emergency Response

5.                       ICS - What is My Role and Where Do I Fit?

6.                       Leveraging Cellular Push to Talk

7.                       Cisco Network Emergency Response Vehicle Capabilities Brief

8.                       TN Advanced Communications Network (TACN) Update

9.                       HF Antenna Shootout: Your opportunity to demonstrate howyour antenna selections and operating procedures enable bestsignal propagation. Show us what you got!

10.                  FirstNet Update: Status and plans

11.                  The role of Winlink in Emergency Response

12.                  FEMA Region IV Communications Services Update

13.                  MESH-Application, cost and minimum requirements/equipment forstartup

14.                  DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)Update

15.                  How a Public Safety Agency Can Build an Effective AUXCOMMProgram

16.                  Interoperability Strategies for Military, PublicSafety, and Amateur Radio Communicators (Panel Discussion)

17.                  Programming the AN/PRC-150 High Frequency Radio

18.                  Tennessee Department of Health Communications CapabilitiesBrief

19.                  Communication Platforms - Static and Interactive Displays

20.                  Datacasting: Using Public Broadcast System Spectrum toSupport Tennessee Public Safety

21.                  Hurricane Florence After Action Report with theNorth Carolina Statewide Interoperability Coordinator (SWIC).

22.                  Using Common Operating Pictures to Share Situational Awareness

23.                  Tactical Dispatchers and Emerging Technologies

Location, Site Regulations & Registration

The 134th Air Refueling Wing at Joint Base McGhee Tyson is located adjacent to the north side of the Knoxville McGhee Tyson Airport-TYS. This is an active Tennessee National Guard installation.

You will not be permitted to enter the base unless you complete these three steps:

1.                                                                                                 Complete registration before the August 8th deadline

2.                                                                                                 Provide your state-issued driver’s license number:

·       Call (865) 582-4451 – leave voicemail with DL number

·       Fax to (865) 215-1178

·       Mail to: Attention: TNPSIE, 605 Bernard Avenue, Knoxville,TN 37921

3.                                                                                                 Present a valid government-issued photo ID at front gate of base on day of exercise



These options are provided to protect your information and to give you a choice for transmitting your driver’s license information. All other information will be acquired through the registration link. Include your name, state and DL number for any of the three modes chosen. Your DL number will be used to confirm that you have no circumstances that would preclude your admittance to JBMT.



Site Regulations


·       Law enforcement, TEMA and Military ID holders will beadmitted with their current credentials.

·       All drones and unmanned aerial vehicles are prohibited from flying.

·       Photography is restricted to the TNPSIE ‘play areas’. Photographyoutside these areas is prohibited.

·       No pets are allowed. Military, law enforcement and other service dogsare permitted.

·        No personally owned firearms or other weapons (pepper spray,nunchuks, batons, etc. are permitted on the base.

·       All vehicles entering JBMT are subject to search.

·       Additional guidance will be issued on site.

Lodging and Meals



JBMT housing is limited to currently serving military personnel. Information you provide during the registration process will be used to create your reservation for base billeting at no charge.


For all others, the following hotels in or near JBMT are advertising government rates ($94) and availability for this time period: Limited blocks of rooms have been set aside at:


Knoxville Airport Hilton--Book by August 1st to reserve your room!



Hampton Inn-Knoxville Airport—Book by August 8th to reserve your room!,WW,HILTO NLINK,EN,DirectLink&fromId=HILTONLINKDIRECT



Lower rates may be available at other properties in the immediate area or in Knoxville.

·       Comfort Suites Airport

140 Cusick Rd, Alcoa, TN, 37701, (520)257-4526

·       Candlewood Suites Knoxville Airport-Alcoa

176 Cusick Road, Alcoa, TN, 37701, Hotel (865)233-4411

·       La Quinta Inn& SuitesKnoxvilleAirport 126 Cusick Road, Alcoa, TN,37701

·       Mainstay Suites Knoxville Airport

361 Fountain View Cir, Alcoa, TN, 37701, (865)379-7799

·       Quality Inn Alcoa / Maryville

206 Corporate Pl, Alcoa, TN, 37701, (865)984-6800

·       Holiday Inn Express & SuitesAlcoa (Knoxville Airport) 130Associates Blvd, Alcoa, TN,37701, (865)981-9008


Available at the JBMT Dining Facility (DFAC) on a cash basis. An ATM is located in an adjacent building. The DFAC is a full-service food facility with good food available at reasonable prices. Times of operation follow, but are subject to change:










Everyone must register at to gain access to JBMT for the exercise, classes, breakout sessions or the COML Boot Camp.

If you plan to attend the COML Boot Camp, you must also register at the link below for the COML Boot Camp on August 22 after you have registered for the exercise above to gain base access. GK4595CA/viewform?vc=0&c=0&w=1

Remote sites planning to participate in the communications exercise 23-25 are also asked to register as participants. Registration for the exercise and breakout sessions is required by August 8, 2019 to allowadequate time for vetting by JBMT security. JBMT is an active military base, and a background check will be performed for all participants.Successful registrants will receive an acknowledgement letter with final instructions in the next few weeks.


We look forward to your participation in TNPSIE 2019 and believe it will support the development of a more robust communications mutual aid capability for Tennessee and our partner states.


If you require additional information or have further questions, please contact Jim Snyder, .


Best regards,

Colin Ickes, MS, NRP Director

Knoxville-Knox County Emergency Management Agency 605 Bernard Ave

Knoxville, TN 37921