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News Release


Release No: 200-03
April 04, 2003


Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness David S. C. Chu has issued the Reponse to the Terrorist Attack on the Pentagon: Pentagon Family Assistance Center (PFAC) After-Action Report. The report captures the support provided to the victims' family members immediately after the Sept. 11 attack. It also provides insights gained and recommendations, and outlines a conceptual model for future joint family assistance centers.

"We learned many lessons from operating a joint family assistance center in the aftermath of this tragedy and we wanted to share these lessons with others," Chu said. "Our hope is that the lessons will never be needed again, but we have documented them so the support provided in the wake of future tragedies will be the best possible." The report will be distributed throughout the department, as well as to a variety of other federal and non-federal organizations.

Chu ordered the establishment of the PFAC on the afternoon of Sept. 11, after terrorists hijacked a civilian airliner, American Airlines Flight 77, and crashed it into the Pentagon. Military bases typically have contingency plans for emergencies and disasters, but no plan existed for such a massive, unprovoked attack on the Pentagon. His staff immediately took steps to establish what would become the first joint family assistance center. The initial response efforts began within hours of the attack, and the PFAC opened its doors at 7 a.m. on Sept.12. Over the course of the next few weeks, the center provided intervention, support and services to the families of all Pentagon victims, including the passengers and crew on board American Airlines Flight 77.

The response effort involved the Department of Defense and military service staffs, federal, state and local government agencies, plus private and non-profit organizations. This partnership and close collaboration contributed significantly to the success of the operation. A number of organizations and jurisdictions have requested copies of this report in order to assist them in planning their own response plans. The department is pleased to make this report available to them and to all other interested parties.

The report is available electronically at http://www.mfrc-dodqol.org/Enduring_Freedom/homeland_security.htm.

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