Toward a Unified Military Response: Hurricane Sandy and the Dual Status Commander
ARMY WAR COLLEGE CARLISLE BARRACKS PA STRATEGIC STUDIES INSTITUTE
Pagination or Media Count:
U.S. military forces have played a role in supporting civil authorities in varying locations and capacities from the Whiskey Rebellion to Hurricane Sandy. In a large-scale incident response scenario requiring combined support from the National Guard and federal military, effective management and coordination continues to challenge all involved. There are issues of constitutionality, legality, policy, financial considerations, and even politics, all uniquely situated between individual states interests and those of the Federal Government. In this context, there is a philosophical conflict between federalism and state sovereignty during military civil support missions that continues to present itself as an impediment to success. Balancing these institutionally divergent approaches to achieve a unified, efficient, coordinated, and effective military response has, and will continue to be, a strategic and political imperative. Despite the challenges, military forces are frequently involved in domestic response missions, often in a very public manner. As such, military force allocation and management have evolved into major topics of conversation among policymakers, academics, emergency managers, and military strategists alike. Owing to these issues, State and Federal Government lawmakers adopted policy and law authorizing a single military commander, referred to as a dual status commander, to legally assume simultaneous but mutually exclusive command and control over both Title 32 and Title 10 forces during domestic operations. As a proposed solution to the notable coordination challenges plaguing domestic civil support operations, the dual status commander initiative has been used successfully during planned events since 2004. The coordinated military response to Hurricane Sandy in the fall of 2012 was the first time in U.S. history dual status commanders assumed command of both Title 10 and Title 32 forces during a no-notice limited-notice incident.
- Administration and Management
- Government and Political Science
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics