USNORTHCOM announces Operation Pacific Passage

By NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs | March 22, 2011

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - Operation Pacific Passage is the U.S.Northern Command led voluntary return of military family members from Japan in the aftermath of the deadly earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan March 11.

U.S. Army North Defense Coordinating Elements, lead by a Defense Coordinating Officer, in FEMA Regions IX and X have established Joint Reception Coordination Centers for military family member returning from Japan. The DCOs and DCEs work closely with federal, state, tribal and local officials to determine what unique DOD capabilities may be needed to assist civil authorities.

Current arrival locations have been established at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and Travis Air Force Base, Calif. The arriving families, including their pets are being met by military representatives from U.S. Army North, who help them with follow-on arrangements that could include temporary lodging, food and other support requirements.

Air Forces Northern National Security Emergency Preparedness Directorate has deployed two emergency preparedness liaison officers in support of the voluntary return of the families from Japan, and is posed to support with others if needed. The EPLOs are working at the SEATAC International Airport. JRCCs have been set up at each facility to assist the military dependents as they arrive in the states and transition to their next location.

U. S. Northern Command's Standing Joint Force Headquarters is on standby to establish an additional arrival location, as necessary. USNORTHCOM is the joint combatant command formed in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to provide homeland defense and defense support of civil authorities.

U.S. Army North, is the Joint Force Land Component Command to USNORTHCOM and provides homeland defense and defense support of civil authorities as the Army component of USNORTHCOM.

U.S. Air Forces Northern, as the Air Force component of USNORTHCOM has the responsibility of ensuring the air sovereignty and air defense of the continental United States. As the contiguous U. S. geographical component of the binational North American Aerospace Defense Command, it provides airspace surveillance and control and directs all air sovereignty activities for the continental United States.

U.S. Northern Command Standing Joint Force Headquarters' mission is to provide the Commander, USNORTHCOM with the scalable capability to form the core of a Joint Task Force or to augment multiple organizations in order to anticipate and conduct homeland defense and civil support missions anywhere in the USNORTHCOM Area of Responsibility.

For more on Operation Pacific Passage and useful information for returning family members visit the U.S. Northern Command web site: www.northcom.mil/japan.