Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security Kenneth P. Rapuano and Air Force Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM), briefed the media at the Pentagon today (13 September 2018) on Defense Department preparations for Hurricane Florence. DSJ was in attendance at the 40-minute briefing, a video of which is provided here.
While homeland defense is NORAD and NORTHCOM’s No. 1 priority, NORTHCOM also plays an important role in disaster response by providing unique military capabilities to FEMA in support of state requests. NORTHCOM also serves as the overall synchronizer of all DoD support to FEMA.
Below is a roundup of the DoD support that NORTHCOM and its subordinate commands are postured to provide associated with Hurricane Florence:
— The National Guard has activated more than 2,700 Army and Air National Guard members from multiple states to support response and recovery efforts in the affected states. The National Guard is also postured to support affected states with high water transportation, debris reduction, commodity distribution, shelter management assistance and rotary wing aviation search and rescue operations.
— The Defense Logistics Agency has mobile distribution centers established in the region and is prepared to provide and distribute more than 281,000 gallons of fuel. They have also prestaged 60 generators and transformers, and are prepared to provide shelf stable meals and bottled water in coordination with FEMA.
— The Army Corps of Engineers has deployed 18 personnel on a Temporary Emergency Power Planning and Response Team, and has alerted for deployment other team leader, assistant team leader, logistics subject matter expert, a temporary power planning and response team, a power systems expert, and one company from the 249th Engineer Battalion.
— The Army Corps of Engineers has also deployed thee deployable tactical operations center vehicles to assist with communication capabilities.
— The Army Corps of Engineers has fully-engaged teams actively monitoring and managing dams to make as much water storage available as possible. Teams will continue to monitor and manage these dams throughout the storm.
— NORTHCOM provided Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia, as a federal staging area, and Fort Bragg, North Carolina, North Auxiliary Airfield, South Carolina, and Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, as incident support bases to support forward distribution of supplies/equipment to the affected areas. The Defense Logistics Agency is managing these operations.
— NORTHCOM provided a defense coordinating officer with a defense supporting staff element to the FEMA Regional Response Coordinating Centers in Regions III and IV, Joint Field Office, or other locations as required, to provide DoD regional knowledge, requirements validation and liaison, including as necessary state/emergency preparedness liaison teams.
— U.S. Fleet Forces Command ordered nearly 30 Navy ships in the Hampton Roads, Virginia, area to get underway to reduce the risk of damage to ships and piers during high winds and seas.
— NORTHCOM has available amphibious ships USS Kearsarge and USS Arlington, along with embarked elements of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit and the Expeditionary Strike Group 2 command element. The ships will be positioned to provide defense support to civil authorities from the sea should support be requested.
— In response to potential flooding, DoD is preparing ground transportation/high-water capable vehicles to move personnel and cargo in the affected areas.
— DoD is also preparing to provide rotary wing aircraft, swift water boats and rescue personnel in support of flooding in the affected areas.
— DoD is providing personnel and equipment to support marshalling operations at the incident support base in Delaware.
— NORTHCOM is responsible for homeland defense and defense support to civil authorities. Northcom’s role in disaster response is in support of the lead federal agency, FEMA, while working closely with state and local officials.
Updated information on all DoD efforts in support of Hurricane Florence relief will be posted here.