March 12, 2008 —
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – U.S. Northern Command will host more than 50 representatives from military and civilian agencies during the third annual Hurricane Preparation Conference March 13-14 at Peterson Air Force Base.
USNORTHCOM is charged with coordinating Department of Defense disaster relief efforts and is working with other agencies to ensure all potential responders have a better understanding of the state of preparations to successfully deal with any catastrophe, including the upcoming hurricane season which officially begins June 1.
Command officials have invited interagency partners in advance of this hurricane season to facilitate coordination and communication among the leadership of the responder communities. Conference attendees will include state adjutants general and officials from Canada Command, the National Guard Bureau, Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Army North, U.S. Coast Guard, USNORTHCOM, and a variety of other agencies that play critical response roles during natural disasters.
“The hurricane preparation conference is designed to bring these different agencies together so that we can build effective relationships,” said Maj. Gen. Paul Sullivan, NORAD and USNORTHCOM chief of staff. “These relationships will enable us to have a synchronized and integrated response if we have to deal with a challenging hurricane season.”
USNORTHCOM's previous two hurricane preparation conferences in 2006 and 2007 also focused on building effective relationships between agencies and addressed challenges the agencies could face.
Hurricane experts have already predicted there will be 13 named storms in the Atlantic during the 2008 season, seven of them hurricanes and three of them major. USNORTHCOM officials say they are ready to respond whenever and wherever needed.
“USNORTHCOM is prepared to fully engage and support any operation in order to save lives, reduce suffering and protect infrastructure during catastrophic events,” Sullivan said. “Examples of our procedures and interagency coordination this past year could be seen when we responded in support of the Southern California wildfires and the Minnesota bridge collapse. This conference will enable all agencies to learn from those types of experiences and continue an effective collaboration with each other that will help improve our national preparedness and response efforts.”