Oct. 20, 2005 —
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – U.S. Northern Command is prepared to meet Requests for Assistance that the Federal Emergency Management Agency may issue prior to and in the wake of Hurricane Wilma.
USNORTHCOM’s Joint Operations Center continues 24-hour operations in Colorado Springs, Colo., to monitor the storm’s progress and to facilitate subsequent RFAs that may come from FEMA representatives. Defense Coordinating Officers and a Defense Coordinating Elements are on their way to Tallahassee, Fla. to liaison between USNORTHCOM, FEMA and the Department of Defense.
Additionally, USNORTHCOM established Homestead Air Reserve Base as an operational staging area to pre-position food, water and ice at the request of FEMA.
To prepare for possible landfall on Florida’s Gulf of Mexico coastline, USNORTHCOM planners are watching the storm closely in order to identify what and when further resources may be needed. Commitment of resources will be wholly dependent on the track the storm takes and the areas impacted.
DoD assets are employed in support of a Lead Federal Agency [in this case FEMA] when local and state assets are overwhelmed or exhausted, and when DoD assistance is requested by the Primary Federal Agency and subsequently approved by the Secretary of Defense. The impact of providing such assistance will not adversely affect military preparedness.
DoD support is provided on a reimbursable basis in accordance with the Robert T. Stafford Act. USNORTHCOM is the supported Unified Command for Hurricane Wilma.
In addition to Hurricane Wilma, USNORTHCOM continues assisting with Hurricane Katrina recovery and providing for the defense of the United States.