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Background Attack Aftermath Evidence Misinformation Analysis Memorial

War Games

Multiple War Games Were Being Conducted on 9/11/01

Several different war game exercises were in play on the day of the attack. The limited public information on these exercises shows that they simulated the following events:

  • Hijackings
  • Attacks on buildings using aircraft as missiles
  • Attacks using toxic or infectious substances

These events are all elements of the actual attack, which involved four alleged hijackings, three jetliner crashes into buildings, and the toxic calamity at Ground Zero in the wake of the World Trade Center's destruction.


Operation Northern Vigilance

Conducted from September 9-11, this exercise redeployed jets that normally patrolled the northeast sector to northern Canada and Alaska. It echoed a Russian exercise scheduled from September 10-14 in which long-range bombers were dispatched to their northern territory. 1  


The Vigilant Warrior and Vigilant Guardian Training Exercises

These were apparently a pair of war games (attacker versus defender) which involved live-fly simulations of hijackings. Both this pair of exercises and Northern Vigilance probably involved the use of "injects" into screens to simulate aircraft. These games apparently resembled the actual attack sufficiently to confuse military officers, as suggested by the following transcript.

FAA Boston Center contacts NEADS, saying, "We need someone to scramble some F-16s or something up there, help us out."

“Is this real world or an exercise?” asked the military liaison officer?

"No, this is not an exercise," responded the FAA official. "Not a test." 2  

The only known source for the exercise named Vigilant Warrior is Richard Clarke's book, Against All Enemies. 3   It is possible that the exercise referred to by Clarke was actually Amalgam Warrior, a NORAD field training exercise involving life-fly air interception, held twice yearly, in the spring on the East Coast and the fall on the East Coast. 4  


The Global Guardian Exercise

On the morning of the attack, a large-scale military training exercise called Global Guardian was "in full swing." Global Guardian is an annual exercise involving Stratcom (the US Strategic Command), the US Space Command, and NORAD. 5  

There is evidence that the date of the 2001 Global Guardian exercise was changed to correspond with the the terrorist attack. NBC News military analyst William Arkin, in his book Code Names, gives the date of the exercise as October 22-31, 2001. 6   Also, a military newspaper, the Space Observer, reported in an article dated 3/23/01 that the exercise was scheduled for October of that year.

Stratcon directed the exercise, which included all the US strategic forces, from Offutt Air Force Base. 7  


The National Reconnaissance Office Plane Crash Drill

The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) "provides our nation its eyes and ears in space." It operates a system of reconnaissance satellites to provide real-time monitoring of objects in the skies. On 9/11/01 the NRO headquarters in Chantilly, VA, were evacuated as part of a "plane into building" drill. The scenario involved a small corporate jet crashing into one of the campus' four towers. 8  


The Timely Alert II Terrorism Drill

On the morning of the attack, personnel at the Fort Monmouth Army base in New Jersey were preparing to hold a drill, for the days of September 11 and 12, to test preparedness to respond to a chemical attack. The exercise was to involve law enforcement and emergency responders including the New Jersey State Police and Fort Monmouth Fire Department. 9   Just before the exercise was to commence, reports of the attack in New York City surfaced and "real world events overtook the exercise," in the words of Army spokesman Timothy L. Rider. 10  

FEMA training manual cover

The Tripod II Biowarfare Exercise

FEMA had deployed to New York City on September 10 to set up a command post at Pier 29, supposedly in preparation for a biowarfare exercise scheduled for September 12. 11  


1. The scene at NORAD on Sept. 11: Playing Russian war games ... and then someone shouted to look at the monitor, Toronto Star, 12/9/01 [cached]
2. To the Minute, Panel Paints a Grim Portrait of Day's Terror, New York Times, 6/17/04 [cached]
3. Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror, 2004
4. Complete 911 Timeline: Military Exercises Up to 9/11, CooperativeResearch.org,
5. Complete 911 Timeline: Military Exercises ..., CooperativeResearch.org,
6. Code Names, 2005
7. Stratcom commander: Mission is broadening in fight against terrorism, Associated Press, 2/21/02 [cached]
8. Agency planned exercise on Sept. 11 built around a plane crashing into a building, AP, 8/21/02 [cached]
9. Exercise tests force protection, monmouth.army.mil, [cached]
10. Training exercise quickly became reality, the Hub, [cached]
11. Tripod II and FEMA: Lack of NORAD Response on 9/11 Explained, FromTheWilderness.com, 2004 [cached]

page last modified: 2011-09-08