By Columnist Jim Kouri
Sunday’s Super Bowl location may become the safest place on the planet with federal, state and local law enforcement joining the U.S. intelligence community and Armed Forces to enhance public safety during the Denver Broncos-Seattle Seahawks championship football game, New Jersey police officials told the Examiner on Tuesday night.
According to Lt. Anthony Gracia of New Jersey’s North Newfield Police Department, U.S. fighter jets from the Continental United States Aerospace Defense Command Region (CONR) are aready preparing to protect the skies above and around MetLife Stadium in New Jersey’s Meadowlands, which is the site of Super Bowl XLVII on February 2.
In fact, the air defense exercise flights in the area of the stadium are scheduled to begin at about 4:00 a.m. EST and will continue for about one-hour.
Exercise Amalgam Virgo 14-01, a North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) air-defense exercise, will be conducted in the East Rutherford, N.J., area so that interagency partners can practice procedures for responding to airspace violations, according to the American Forces Press Service.
The exercise is a series of training flights in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the FBI, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Civil Air Patrol, the 601st Air and Space Operations Center, and the CONR’s Eastern Air Defense Sector.
“There are a lot of interagency partners involved in the air defense of this year’s Super Bowl,” said Air Force Lt. Gen. William H. Etter, CONR commander.
“With multiple agencies involved, coordination between all air-defense partners is crucial. This exercise allows all of the interagency partners to come together before the game to hone their air defense skills and ensure communications are working properly,” he noted.
These exercises are carefully planned and closely controlled to ensure CONR’s rapid response capability, officials said. CONR has conducted exercise flights of this nature throughout the United States since the start of Operation Noble Eagle, the command’s ongoing response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, officials said in a press statement.
“On Super Bowl Sunday and every other day, the men and women of the Continental U.S. NORAD Region are on watch, making sure our skies are safe,” Etter said.
Since 9/11, CONR fighters have responded to more than 5,000 possible air threats in the United States and have flown more than 62,500 sorties with the support of Airborne Warning and Control System and air-to-air-refueling aircraft for Operation Noble Eagle, officials said.