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US Army North Hosts Hurricane Rehearsal of Concept Drill

By Nicole Hawk U.S. Army North

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U.S. Army North, federal, state, tribal and territorial partners are ready to respond as we near peak hurricane season for the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.

More than 250 leaders gathered both in-person and virtually for a Hurricane Rehearsal of Concept (ROC) Drill, held at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, July 9.

U.S. Army North, the Army component command of U.S. Northern Command, organized the Hurricane ROC Drill as part of its mission to support civil authorities during disasters and synchronize active duty military support efforts with federal, state, and local partners.

Participants included state, tribal, and territorial partners as well as representatives from U.S. Northern Command, the National Guard Bureau, U.S. Transportation Command, U.S. Army Forces Command, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

According to Lt. Gen. Laura J. Richardson, Commanding General of U.S. Army North and Senior Commander, Fort Sam Houston and Camp Bullis, the stakes are especially high this hurricane season.

“Our nation is still very much in the fight against COVID-19 and we have to build health and safety considerations into all of our hurricane response planning efforts,” said Lt. Gen. Richardson. “Having the ability to plan with all of our partners during the Hurricane ROC Drill helps us think through the types of support we may be asked to provide to states, territories and FEMA during a major hurricane response in a COVID-19 environment.”

Hurricanes are categorized from 1 to 5 with Category 5 hurricanes having winds that exceed 155 mph and the potential to cause catastrophic damage. The U.S. Army North ROC Drill focused on a Category 4 or 5 hurricane scenario with multiple landfalls in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Florida.

"The entire event provided a valuable opportunity for U.S. Army North, the National Guard, and our interagency partners to identify and create solutions, enabling intergovernmental success in our efforts to save lives and stabilize devastated areas," said Major Ian Benson, U.S. Army North G3 Future Operations Planner.

In addition to providing time for hurricane season planning, the day-long event, also gave senior leaders the chance to meet each other in-person and via videoconference before a major hurricane threatens America’s Atlantic and gulf coasts.

“We all need to think quickly and react fast when it comes to crisis planning and response,” said Lt. Gen. Richardson. “These types of training and exercise events help ensure that all of us - military, federal, state, local, tribal and territorial partners - will be ready to rapidly deploy and seamlessly work together to help communities in need during a hurricane and amidst a pandemic.”