New Army command supports USNORTHCOM mission

By Patti Bielling | USARNORTH Public Affairs | October 18, 2006

The Army’s newest service component command has a dedicated mission that mirrors and supports the mission of U.S. Northern Command: defending the homeland and supporting civil authorities during times of crisis.

U.S. Army North achieved full operational capability Oct. 16 following a year of intense planning, manning, equipping and training.

“We have come a long way,” said Lt. Gen. Robert T. Clark, U.S. Army North commander. “We conducted a robust training and exercise program and have worked to establish critical relationships with federal, state and local partners in disaster response.”

The command is based at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and is the Army service component of U.S. Northern Command. Its mission includes homeland defense, defense support of civil authorities, and theater security cooperation activities with Canada and Mexico.

To conduct day-to-day disaster response planning, the command has aligned a defense coordinating officer and a five-person defense coordinating element with each of the 10 Federal Emergency Management Agency regions.

The command can also task organize up to two task forces. With augmentation, the task forces can become joint task forces and deploy within an operational area to command and control Defense Department forces responding to homeland defense or civil support operations.

U.S. Army North also oversees the training and readiness of Civil Support Response Teams, National Guard units dedicated to weapons-of-mass destruction and other disaster-response missions.

During its year of building toward full operating capability, U.S. Army North performed various civil support missions, including providing support during the 2006 wildfire season and the 2005 hurricane season.

Upcoming events for the command include Golden Guardian, a California emergency response exercise in November, and Vigilant Shield 07, a U.S. Northern Command exercise in December.

U.S. Army North was conceived in 2004 and traces its lineage to the Fifth United States Army. Its creation as the Army service component command was directed as part of Army Transformation, a Department of the Army effort to adapt the Army headquarters command structure to execute Military Department Title 10 functions more effectively and efficiently.