The United States has been holding a week-long nuclear training exercise in Houston. Drills started May 1 and will wrap up May 5. The exercise is being led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the military, and interestingly, Russia claimed drone strikes were carried out against them during the same week. The Kremlin said they thwarted the strikes on May 2.
According to the FBI, the “large scale” exercise is to learn how best to deal with a nuke dropped on a U.S. city, The Daily Mail reported. The agency warned residents of Harris County and southeast Houston of the “multi-agency” exercises that began May 1 to simulate a nuclear attack. The FBI also advised people not to be alarmed by the presence of “military personnel and aircraft, and people in protective equipment,” ABC 7 reported.
The exercise called “Cobalt Magnet 22” involves than 30 local, state, and federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, the National Nuclear Security Administration, the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security. Local agencies involved include Houston’s fire, emergency management, and public health agencies and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and the Houston Police Department.
The FBI Houston said the drills were “part of a series of regularly scheduled .. government biannual exercises.”
Drills have been carried out at various locations including joint military base Ellington Field, a military compound in south Houston. The base is home to military units from all five of the U.S. armed forces, including the Texas Air National Guard 147th Reconnaissance Wing and a NASA Flight Operations unit under the aegis of the nearby Johnson Space Center.
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“The exercise is an opportunity for participating entities to practice and enhance operational readiness to respond in the event of a nuclear incident in the United States or overseas,” the FBI said in a press statement. “The training exercise will not pose any risk or interference to the public.”
The FBI did explain why Houston, whose population is 46.8 percent white and 22.6 percent Black people, had been chosen to host the training. A map originally released by the Natural Resources Defense Council in 2002, however, shows Houston could be a prime target for a nuclear attack due to its dense population and critical infrastructure, The Daily Mail reported. The population of the Greater Houston area is 7.34 million, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data conducted by the Greater Houston Partnership.
In May 2022, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration conducted a similar “major radiological incident exercise” in Austin, Texas.
The training comes as the Kremlin revealed on May 3 that there had been two thwarted two drone attacks to assassinate President Vladimir Putin in Moscow’s Kremlin on the night of May 2. Although there has been no evidence presented, Russia blamed Ukraine, which it invaded in February 2022.
Ukrainian presidential spokesman Serhiy Nykyforov dismissed his country’s involvement, saying, “We have no information about the so-called night attacks on the Kremlin,” Bloomberg reported.
According to Russia, the drones were disabled and crashed without causing injuries or damage. There was no way to verify the alleged attack.
Photo by Art Guzman: https://www.pexels.com/photo/us-army-men-in-vigorous-drill-exercise-13742002/