The National Guard Bureau, on behalf of Department of Defense (DoD) and in collaboration with the states, has selected Ohio and Washington as the first two states to host a homeland response force (HRF), which will be comprised of National Guard soldiers and airmen and established no later than the end of fiscal 2011.
The creation of the HRFs is a part of DoD’s larger reorganization of its 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.
Department of Defense plans to establish a total of 10 homeland response force (HRF) units nation-wide, with one HRF in each of the ten federal emergency management agency (EMA) regions. HRFs 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 Ohio and Washington HRFs, the department will create two new (CBRNE) enhanced response force packages (CERFPs) in Indiana and Alabama to replace the Ohio and Washington CERFPs that will evolve into HRFs. CERFPs are composed of existing National Guard units that are trained to respond to a weapon of mass destruction incident. The CERFP capabilities include: locate and extract victims from a contaminated environment, perform mass patient/casualty decontamination, and provide medical treatment as necessary to stabilize patients for evacuation.
The National Guard Bureau is currently analyzing and staffing the selection for the remaining eight HRFs and potential backfill CERFP states. Further information will be released as it becomes available.
Fact sheets on homeland response force (HRF) and CBRNE enhanced response force packages (CERFPs) can be found at http://www.defense.gov/news/d20100603HRF.pdf and http://www.defense.gov/news/d20100603CERFPs.pdf .