U.S Northern Command deploys assets, personnel in preparation to support Southern California firefighting efforts

By NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs


PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – The Department of Defense is deploying unique military capabilities to support emergency response efforts in Southern California.

The following is a list of Department of Defense assets and personnel that are or could become part of U.S. Northern Command’s support efforts:

  • Defense Coordinating Officer, Army Col. Mark Armstrong, Region IX DCO, deployed with a six-person DCE to support the Joint Field Office in Pasadena, Calif., and will arrive today.
  • Army Col. Gary Stanley, Region X DCO, deployed with a four-person DCE to support the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.  DCOs and DCEs work very closely with federal, state and local officials to determine what unique Department of Defense capabilities can be brought to assist in mitigating the effects of a natural or manmade disaster.
  • The National Interagency Firefighting Center has formally requested DoD support for Modular Air Firefighting System (MAFFS) equipped aircraft:
    • Late Monday evening, DoD received a request from NIFC for six C-130 Modular Air Firefighting System (MAFFS) equipped aircraft.
      • Six MAFFS-equipped, Air National Guard C-130 aircraft will deploy today to Naval Air Station Point Magu, Calif.  Estimated time of arrival is Tuesday afternoon, October 23, 2007.  Two are from the 153rd Airlift Wing, Wyoming Air National Guard, two are from the 302d Airlift Wing, Air Force Reserve Command, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., and two are from the 145th Airlift Wing, North Carolina Air National Guard.
  • Ground Firefighting Support:
    • The Navy has 10 fire trucks and 40 personnel supporting local firefighting under Mutual Aid Agreements or Immediate Response Authority.
    • Navy is providing 2 SH-60 helicopters with forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensors.
    • Navy is providing 2 MH-60 helicopters equipped with buckets from Helicopter Combat Support (HSC) Squadron 85, Naval Air Station North Island, Calif.
  • Facilities Support:
    • The gymnasium at Naval Base San Diego has set up 500 cots for evacuees.  A 500 person tent city is being set up at Naval Amphibious Base, Coronado and space for 442 persons is being prepared at Naval Air Station, El Centro.
    • Only key and essential Naval personnel are requested to report to duty.  Orders have been given to all sailors ashore in barracks to move to shipboard billeting to provide room for evacuees.
    • Commander Navy Southwest Region is providing 8,500 cots for the Qualcom Stadium Shelter.  Naval Logistics Center at Point Mugu has Cots and tents available if requested.
    • FEMA has asked DoD to identify a military installation in Southern California to be the Forward Staging Area for Federal supplies flowing south from the FEMA logistics center, Moffitt Field, CA.
  • USNORTHCOM has also designated Air Forces North as the Joint Force Air Component Commander that will provide command and control coordinating authority over the MAFFS. The JFACC’s intent is to rapidly and effectively support USNORTHCOM’s efforts to NIFC in order to mitigate the effects of wildland fires.
  • AFNORTH provides a full spectrum USAF air and space capabilities and conduct Defense Support of Civil Authorities to assist civil authorities during emergencies, natural or man-made disasters, and other approved activities.
  • ARNORTH is deploying a 20-person command assessment element to Pasadena, Calif., arriving late this afternoon.  Defense Support of Civil Authorities as the Army component of U.S. Northern Command, the unified command headquartered at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., that is responsible for homeland defense and civil support.
  • U.S. Northern Command Commander is General Renuart, Colorado Springs, Colorado

USNORTHCOM, based in Colorado Springs, Colo., is the unified combatant command responsible for defending the homeland and providing defense support of civil authorities.

USNORTHCOM anticipates requests, actions and requirements to support developing situations.  Its subordinate commands are Joint Forces Headquarters National Capital Region, Joint Task Force Alaska, Joint Task Force Civil Support, Joint Task Force North and Standing Joint Force Headquarters North.

DoD personnel in the affected area include nearly 300,000 servicemen and women, government employees and their families. The DoD can bring additional capabilities as part of a larger federal response when requested by the state and approved by the Secretary of Defense.