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Defense Department Continues Supporting Storm Response

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31, 2012 – The Defense Department continues to provide disaster response resources and capabilities as requested by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other federal agencies in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Given the size and scope of the storm and its continuing impact throughout the eastern and northeastern United States, Pentagon officials said, the department is actively posturing forces to support civil authorities via U.S. Northern Command and the National Guard Bureau, with a particular emphasis on flood mitigation and energy restoration.

Today, DOD has focused on providing recovery support as requested by FEMA in coordination with federal, state and local partners with a single set of objectives -- saving lives, providing shelter, and helping restore communities, officials said.

About 10,000 National Guard soldiers and airmen are on duty supporting the governors in 13 Eastern Seaboard states. Dual-status commanders authorized to command both state National Guard and federal forces have been approved for Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island. The special status enables the commanders to effectively integrate defense support and capabilities the governors request, officials explained.

The National Guard is working closely with state emergency response planners and providing input where necessary to identify and fill capability gaps.

Guard forces under state control are assembling and staging personnel; providing communications, shelter, engineer, evacuation, security, and high-water vehicle support; high-water search and rescue; debris removal; and transportation.

National Guard civil support teams are on stand-by for hazardous material response and providing a communications capability bridge between first responders and other local, state and federal agencies.

In West Virginia, the National Guard is patrolling Interstate 68 for stranded motorists and assisting the power company with generators.

Based on a request from the Department of Health and Human Services, DOD's U.S. Transportation Command airlifted about 120 medical personnel to New York City to augment medical staff providing care to nursing homes and at-risk elderly patients. Aircraft are standing by to support further missions, and medical personnel are being brought in from Colorado, Ohio and Texas.

The Defense Logistics Agency is providing fuel, fuel transportation, commodities and expeditionary teams to support FEMA and the Energy Department.

The Army Corps of Engineers has received 25 mission assignments from FEMA, with more than 400 people engaged to support the response mission.

The Corps of Engineers’ priority is support to the New York City flood mitigation mission, deploying technical assistance and senior leadership oversight while working to identify and deploy 100 high-volume water pumps to FEMA mobilization centers. This is in addition to the 100 water pumps U.S. Northern Command is sourcing at FEMA's request, officials said.

The Corps of Engineers also is supporting states' and FEMA operations centers in three regions to organize response efforts. More than 20 team leaders or assistant team leaders have been alerted or deployed to provide public works and engineering expertise, such as damage modeling, storm surge modeling, and coastal preparations.

Other planning response teams remain on alert for debris management, commodities distribution, infrastructure assessment, temporary roofing, critical public facilities, water planning, and temporary housing. Additional temporary power teams have been placed on alert status.

Corps of Engineers senior leaders, power response teams, 249th Engineer Battalion Technical Assistance personnel and other technical experts are providing assistance at various locations.

To support the emergency temporary power mission in New York and New Jersey, the Corps of Engineers has staged 200 generators at four locations to provide capacity beyond state's capabilities. FEMA will deploy them as they are needed, officials said.

The Corps of Engineers is shipping 25 pumps from New Orleans and is meeting with other private pump suppliers to determine availability and capacity of pumps that could be delivered to the New York area.

Upon receiving a temporary power mission assignment from FEMA, the Corps of Engineers has deployed four planning and response teams, the 249th Engineer Battalion, six emergency command and control vehicles/deployable tactical operating systems and a mobile command vehicle. The Corps of Engineers also received a mission assignment from FEMA to provide 80 truckloads of water to West Virginia.

Army Corps of Engineers operations centers in affected districts have been activated, and emergency response assets are providing support around the clock, officials said. The Corps of Engineers also has assigned a liaison to the Energy Department and to the National Guard Bureau to coordinate combined response actions.

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Related Sites:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
National Guard Bureau
Special Report: Hurricane Sandy

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