NORTHCOM Military Support to COVID-19 Response

Release No: 20-002 March 27, 2020 PRINT | E-MAIL
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. —

U.S. Northern Command, in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is executing its Defense Support of Civil Authorities mission by providing military support to local, state and federal agencies. The Department of Defense, through U.S. Northern Command, has unique capabilities that can be adapted to support the whole-of-nation response to the COVID–19 pandemic, as requested by the lead federal agency.

“While we face and work to mitigate the serious challenges posed by the COVID-19 global pandemic, USNORTHCOM continues our sacred mission of defending our Nation, while also contributing forces as part of the whole-of-America response,” said Gen. Terrence J. O'Shaughnessy, commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command.

Below is a current snapshot of current DOD support through U.S. Northern Command to FEMA, as well as state and local partners:

  • Deploying two USNS Hospital Ships:
    • The USNS Mercy went underway on 23 Mar and arrived in the port of Long Beach, outside of Los Angeles, on Friday, March 27.They will begin accepting non-COVID-19 patients Saturday, 28 March.
    • The USNS Comfort is scheduled to depart for New York City area on 28 Mar.
    • Both the USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy have the ability to host up to 1,000 patients. This includes 12 operating rooms, 20 post-anesthesia beds and 80 Intensive Care Unit beds.
  • Deployed three Army field hospitals
    • The 627th Hospital Center from Ft. Carson, Colorado, with the ability to provide up to 248 beds, deployed to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington in support of medical efforts in the Seattle area.
    • The 531st Hospital Center from Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, with the ability to provide up to 148 beds, deployed to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey in support of medical efforts in the New York City area.
    • The 9th Hospital Center from Ft. Hood, Texas, with the ability to provide 136 beds, deployed to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey in support of medical efforts in the New York City area.
  • Approved three Department of Defense installations to support FEMA as Base Support Installations, providing FEMA with staging and storage areas for their response operations. The approved installations are:
    • Beale Air Force Base, California
    • Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington
    • Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey
  • Identified four Incident Support Bases/Federal Staging Areas in support of FEMA COVID-19 response operations, allowing FEMA to expediently move equipment and materials to areas in which they are needed. The DoD installations include:
    • Travis Air Force Base, California
    • Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington
    • Dover Air Force Base, Delaware
    • Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey
  • Activated Dual-Status Commanders, Title 10 deputies and Joint Enabling Capability teams to Washington and New York
    • A DSC gives a state National Guard unit the ability to command both State National Guard members as well as active-duty military members to better allocate military resources across a wide response area. Title 10 deputies and JEC teams work for the Dual-Status Commander and support the active-duty efforts of the DSC team. A JEC team has also been deployed to California to assist in relief efforts.
  • Activated Defense Coordinating Officers across all ten FEMA regions
    • DCOs serve as the Federal Emergency Management Agency's single point of contact for Department of Defense support. They liaise between FEMA and U.S. Northern Command to assist in the flow of relief efforts to the most affected areas.
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