Coordinating Military Response to Disasters
AIR WAR COLLEGE MONTGOMERY United States
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The attacks by terrorist on September 11, 2001, prompted the Department of Defense DoD to formulate a new set of capabilities support to civilian authorities during natural disasters and emergencies. In April 2002, the DoD created a new geographic combatant command Northern Command U.S.NORTHCOM.1 The Unified Command Plan UCP established the United States Northern Command NORTHCOM to provide command and control of the departments homeland defense efforts and to coordinate Defense Support of Civil Authorities DSCA.2 The need for the DoD to adapt to the changing environment requires a more prudent response. The action and response efforts of the past are to upgrade to meet the challenges of disasters and emergencies within the homeland. While key steps in planning, preparation, funding, and training in support of civil support occurred, identification of a dedicated force to respond to the U.S. territories remains a challenge. In reviewing the required capabilities for support of civil authorities, it is clear the majority of the assets are located in the Army National Guard. They are geographically and organizationally dispersed throughout the National Guard. The DoD needs to identify a tailored response force of Army National Guard Soldiers as the optimal solution for disaster response specifically to the territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
- Civil Defense