"We stand ready to respond quickly and effectively to natural and manmade disasters..."

—Gen. Glen D. VanHerck





DoD Support to Humanitarian Assistance & Disaster Relief Efforts 

The Department of Defense (DoD) has a long history of providing defense support to civil authorities (DSCA) when requested by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and approved by the Secretary of Defense (SECDEF). DoD has unique capabilities, including an ability to deploy on short notice into austere environments, which are not readily available in other federal agencies or in the private sector. U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) stands ready to support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) efforts



Supporting FEMA

USNORTHCOM is designated as the DoD synchronizer for hurricane operations within the continental United States, Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, the Bahamas, and Turks and Cacaos. USNORTHCOM exercises this function through coordination and collaboration with other organizations and agencies to ensure application of effective and efficient military capabilities to fulfill the lead federal agency’s request for assistance. Other organizations and agencies may include the National Guard Bureau, Defense Logistics Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Special Operations Command, U.S. Transportation Command, secretaries of the military services, the Joint Staff, and the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security.

The National Response Framework (NRF) is a guide to how the nation responds to all types of disasters and emergencies. It is built on scalable, flexible, and adaptable concepts identified in the National Incident Management System to align key roles and responsibilities.

The NRF is structured to help jurisdictions, citizens, nongovernmental organizations and businesses. Most hurricane response efforts are handled by the respective states and National Guard forces. When federal military forces or capabilities are required for the continental United States, the Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico, USNORTHCOM is called upon to conduct its DSCA mission.

The lead federal agency for hurricane response is normally FEMA. However, because USNORTHCOM’s area of responsibility also includes Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, the Bahamas and Turks and Cacaos, all requests for hurricane response assistance from these countries comes through the Department of State, which serves as the lead federal agency in these instances.

The hurricane season in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico runs from June 1 through Nov. 30, with peak months occurring between August and October.

If formally requested by the lead federal agency, USNORTHCOM’s unique military capabilities for hurricane response may include search and rescue, high water vehicles, fresh water capabilities, road and debris-clearing equipment and more.

Hurricane Preparation 

In the event of a hurricane, here are some simple steps citizens can take to prepare:

Know your Evacuation Route

You may have to evacuate quickly due to a hurricane if you live in an evacuation zone. Learn your evacuation routes, practice with household, pets, and identify where you will stay. Check with local officials about what shelter spaces are available this year. Don’t forget — coronavirus may have altered your community’s plans.

Gather Supplies

Have enough food, water and other supplies for every member of your family to last several days. Consider the unique needs of your family, such as supplies for pets or medication for seniors. Adding extra masks, soap, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes or general household cleaning supplies can help to protect you from COVID-19 when you evacuate to a shelter.

Make an Emergency Plan

Make sure everyone in your household knows and understands your hurricane plan. Don’t forget a plan for the office, daycare center, school and any other locations you frequent.

Plan with Disability in Mind

No two people are the same: each of us moves through, functions in and navigates the world differently. It is important to make your emergency plan based on what works best for you. Creating a support network or planning ahead with accessible transportation can ensure that you stay safe when disaster strikes. Visit Ready.gov/disability for more information on how to plan if, for example, you are blind, hard of hearing or have sensory disabilities.

Remember the Furry Members of Your Family

Pets need their own emergency plans and supply kits. Certain shelters won’t accept pets. Taking action in advance, such as seeking out shelters that DO accept pets, can make a difference. It’s also a good idea to plan with neighbors, friends or relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so.

Download the FEMA Mobile App

Download the FEMA mobile app for disaster resources, weather alerts and safety tips. Available in English and Spanish, this app provides a customizable checklist of emergency supplies, maps of open shelters and recovery centers, disaster survival tips and weather alerts from the National Weather Service.

For more tips on how to prepare for disasters, visit http://www.ready.gov.


June 22, 2022

Iron Dragons assume mission command over domestic CBRN defense response task force

The 110th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) Battalion (Technical Escort) “Iron Dragons” have assumed mission command of Task Force 2 in the Defense CBRN Response Force.

May 25, 2022

US Army North, FEMA, others prepare for 2022 Hurricane Season predicted to be “above average”

As the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane season approaches, U.S. Army North hosted more than 150 military and civilian partners who gathered in person and virtually for a Hurricane Rehearsal of Concept (ROC) Drill at the Army Medical Department ROC Drill Facility at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, May 25.

April 26, 2021

ARNORTH hosts virtual annual disaster response exercise

U.S. Army North, U.S. Northern Command’s Joint Force Land Component Command, will host approximately 750 military and civilian personnel from across the country to take part in its annual disaster response training exercise, Vibrant Response, Apr. 26 to May 8, through virtual collaborative software.

HADR Photos

... loading ...

HADR Video

Video by Staff Sgt. Rito Smith
Hurricane Dorian Response
2019 Hurricane Season DoD Response (Closed)
Sept. 11, 2019 | 4:32
U.S. Air Force Airmen prepare ambulances to be transported from Nassau to Freeport in The Bahamas via an Air Force C-130 as part of the international response to Hurricane Dorian. U.S. Northern Command provided military-unique capabilities to the U.S. Agency for International Development, enabling the broader relief efforts addressing the acute humanitarian needs of the Bahamian people.