DOD, FEMA team on Irene recovery

In a week where the East Coast suffered an earthquake and a hurricane, federal agencies found their disaster response capabilities tested. The Defense Department and the Federal Emergency Management Agency teamed up for the hurricane to make for effective disaster preparedness and mitigation.

As Hurricane Irene churned northward, heading first for the Carolinas and then the Middle Atlantic and northeastern states, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta ordered the U.S. Northern Command to support FEMA with bases, personnel, ships, and ground and air transport. The military facilities at Fort Bragg, N.C.; Joint Base McGuire-Dix at Lakehurst, N.J.; Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass; and Fort A.P. Hill, Va., were designated as FEMA incident support bases where supplies and equipment were prepositioned ahead of the storm. For example, DOD officials said that 225 non-DOD trucks loaded with food, water, generators and equipment were prepositioned at Fort Bragg.

According to DOD, the Northern Command is supporting 16 FEMA-requested mission assignments. Eighteen military helicopters were deployed to the East Coast to support supply, recovery and search and rescue operations. Eight of the aircraft deployed from Fort Stewart, Ga., to Fort Drum N.Y. Ten helicopters are aboard the amphibious assault ship U.S.S. Wasp, which left the naval base at Norfolk, Va. ahead of the storm and is now moving up the coast to support recovery operations in the Northeast.

DOD also signed memorandums of agreement with states to allow for the rapid designation of a dual-status commander when and where they are needed. Dual-status commanders command both state National Guard and federal military forces on the behalf of a state governor and the president and the secretary of defense. This dual-role allows all military forces to work together in a coordinated manner, DOD officials said.

As of Saturday, Aug. 27, four dual-status commanders have been appointed:

  • Brig. Gen. James Trogden III, North Carolina Army National Guard.
  • Brig. Gen. Carolyn Protzmann, New Hampshire Air National Guard.
  • Brig. Gen. Michael Swezey, New York Army National Guard.
  • Col. Donald Lagor, Rhode Island Air National Guard.

Featured

  • Cybersecurity

    DHS floats 'collective defense' model for cybersecurity

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wants her department to have a more direct role in defending the private sector and critical infrastructure entities from cyberthreats.

  • Defense
    Defense Secretary James Mattis testifies at an April 12 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee.

    Mattis: Cloud deal not tailored for Amazon

    On Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sought to quell "rumors" that the Pentagon's planned single-award cloud acquisition was designed with Amazon Web Services in mind.

  • Census
    shutterstock image

    2020 Census to include citizenship question

    The Department of Commerce is breaking with recent practice and restoring a question about respondent citizenship last used in 1950, despite being urged not to by former Census directors and outside experts.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.