USNORTHCOM prepared for hurricane response
Aug. 29, 2007
By Petty Officer 1st Class Joaquin Juatai
August 29 marks the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s devastating landfall on the Gulf Coast. Local, state, federal and military responders rushed to New Orleans, one of the most devastated areas, to offer rescue, aid and clean up in the aftermath of the storm.
U.S. Northern Command is responsible for the Department of Defense’s role in response to a disaster such as Hurricane Katrina. In that role, USNORTHCOM coordinates movement of equipment and personnel in support of the primary responding agency, whether that is the Federal Emergency Response Management Agency, the National Guard or another primary responding agency.
“Hurricane Katrina’s impact on this country was unprecedented. There are still many of our fellow Americans whose lives still haven’t returned to normal,” said Gen. Gene Renuart, commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command and USNORTHCOM. “It will take many years for the Gulf Coast to fully recover.
“The United States military was deeply involved in the response to the hurricane and subsequent flooding,” Renuart said. “While our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines helped thousands of people, we also learned many lessons.”
According to Renuart, USNORTHCOM has been using the lessons learned from Katrina to modify plans to respond to both natural disasters and potential terrorist actions.
“We have been conducting exercises and working with our federal partners to be better prepared for a future catastrophe,” Renuart said.
Since Katrina, USNORTHCOM has pursued a robust planning and training program, developing and testing concepts of operation and response to a disaster such as a hurricane.
Personnel at the command have identified many of the resources that may be needed during a disaster and established a process to move them quicker.
The command has continued to work with other federal agencies to improve the overall federal response.
USNORTHCOM is ready to help federal, state and local officials to be prepared for a major hurricane and to be successful at conducting response operations, if necessary and requested by the primary responding agency. Some of the ways these objectives are being achieved are:
The mission of USNORTHCOM is homeland defense and civil support. The command conducts operations to deter, prevent, defeat and mitigate threats and aggression aimed at the United States, its territories and interests within the assigned area of responsibility and, as directed by the President or Secretary of Defense, provides military assistance to civil authorities including consequence management operations.
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