ARNORTH deploys defense coordinating element to Baton Rouge

By NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs | September 21, 2007

FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas – At the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Army North has deployed a defense coordinating element to Baton Rouge, La. as a precautionary measure in response to a tropical depression weather system moving through the eastern Gulf of Mexico, threatening the northern Gulf Coast.

Responding to a U.S. Northern Command execution order, the Region VI DCE team deployed a three-vehicle tactical (TAC) operations center. Their Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) provides additional communications and video support to FEMA representatives on the ground, as well as other federal and state organizations who require additional command and control support.

The seven-person Region VI DCE, based in Denton, Texas, prepares for civil support missions by working daily with federal and state emergency planners and consequence managers in the five-state region of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas.

The ERV is a communications platform that allows Army North elements to provide command and control operations of assigned forces in a Defense Support of Civil Authorities or Homeland Defense mission. It is designed for quick deployment and is equipped with computer networks, radio interoperability capability, and video and audio packages.

Army Col. Laverm “Bullett” Young, Region VI defense coordinating officer, will facilitate requests for any additional DOD support.

“We are deploying at the request of FEMA,” Young said. “We’re providing real-time information to the FEMA Region VI leadership so they have situational awareness of the storm’s potential effects to assist them in their planning should federal assistance be required.”

Young and the DCE are assigned to Army North, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Army North provides defense support to civil authorities as the Army component of U.S. Northern Command, the unified command on Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., that is responsible for homeland defense and civil support.

The Department of Defense will assist FEMA and other federal agencies when requested and approved by the president or the secretary of defense.