The Department of Defense (DoD), in collaboration with the states, has selected Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Texas, Missouri, Utah, and California to host the remaining eight homeland response forces (HRFs), which will be established in fiscal 2012. On June 3, 2010, DoD announced Ohio and Washington as the hosts for the first two HRFs, which will be established in fiscal 2011.
The creation of the HRFs is a part of DoD’s larger reorganization of its domestic chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high yield explosive (CBRNE) consequence management enterprise, initiated during the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review. This reorganization will ensure DoD has a robust ability to respond rapidly to domestic CBRNE incidents while recognizing the primary role that the governors play in controlling the response to incidents that occur in their states.
The homeland response forces (HRF) will be distributed across the nation, with one HRF hosted in each of the ten Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) regions. Each HRF will provide a regional response capability of approximately 570 personnel composed of CBRNE specialists, command and control and security forces. HRFs will self-deploy by ground within six to 12 hours of an event, bringing life-saving medical, search and extraction, decontamination, security, and command and control capabilities -- this represents a dramatic improvement in response time and life-saving capability to the previous construct.
Coincident with the creation of the eight HRFs in fiscal 2012, the department has selected Puerto Rico, Wisconsin, Louisiana, Kentucky, Nevada, Oregon, and Maine to replace existing CBRNE Enhanced Response Force Packages (CERFP) that will evolve into HRFs. These formations composed of existing National Guard units will be trained to respond to a weapons of mass destruction incident, including: locating and extracting victims from a contaminated environment, performing mass patient/casualty decontamination, and providing medical treatment as necessary to stabilize patients for evacuation.
A Fact Sheet on HRFs and CERFPs can be found at http://www.defense.gov/news/HRFCERFP.pdf.