The Department of Defense announced today the appointment of four dual-status commanders in support of relief efforts for Hurricane Irene, marking the first time the dual commander concept has been implemented in support of a natural disaster.
While others may be appointed in the coming days, the initial list of dual-status commanders appointed by the state governors and the Department of Defense for Hurricane Irene is as follows:
Brig. Gen. James Trogden III, North Carolina Army National Guard;
Brig. Gen. Carolyn Protzmann, New Hampshire Air National Guard;
Brig. Gen. Michael Swezey, New York Army National Guard; and
Col. Donald Lagor, Rhode Island Air National Guard.
When agreed upon by the Secretary of Defense and the governor of an affected state, dual-status commanders can direct both federal active-duty forces and state National Guard forces in response to domestic incidents. The concept is intended to foster greater cooperation among federal and state assets during a disaster.
The nation’s governors led the creation of this new opportunity for collaboration. Dual-status commanders ensure that state and federal military forces will work effectively together, when states request federal forces through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Through this improved leadership, forces responding to Hurricane Irene will be better able to avoid duplication of effort, and provide the life-saving capabilities that governors request.
The dual-status commander concept was formulated in 2009. In March 2011, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security and the bipartisan 10-member Council of Governors adopted the “Joint Action Plan for Unity of Effort,” strengthening support to governors when they request military assistance for disaster response.