Secretary of Defense William S.
Cohen today announced the establishment of a Consequence Management Program Integration Office to oversee the integration of the Reserve components into domestic preparations to respond to terrorist or other incidents involving weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
The office will be led by Air Force Lt. Col. Jay Steinmetz and will report to the director of Military Support.
The secretary of the Army, as the executive agent for domestic preparedness, will supervise the office and its integration efforts.
Integrating the reserves into national plans to respond to domestic WMD incidents is another step in fulfilling Cohen's recent mandate to achieve full integration of the Reserve and active components.
In his Sept. 4, 1997 Memo on the Integration of the Active and Reserve Components, he called on the military services to provide the National Command Authorities with a total force that provides "the flexibility and interoperability necessary for the full range of military operations."
The new office's primary function will be to bring Reserve Component integration in synch with current interagency WMD preparedness programs; and to establish 10 Rapid Assessment and Initial Detection (RAID) elements.
The RAID elements will enhance DoD's immediate response capability.
Each RAID element, consisting of 22 highly trained, full-time National Guard personnel, will have the mission of providing early assessment, initial detection, and technical advice to local incident commanders during an incident involving a weapon of mass destruction; and then initiating requests for additional state or federal response assets.
Their goal is to deploy rapidly and arrive quickly at the site of a domestic WMD incident.
The Department will also leverage the capabilities of existing National Guard and Reserve component reconnaissance and decontamination units to provide additional support to civilian authorities during an incident involving domestic WMD.
With guidance from the Program Integration Office, these units will be given additional training and equipment to accomplish this mission.
Reserve component medical personnel also will receive training to better prepare them to perform their duties while operating in potentially contaminated areas.
The office will integrate overall WMD training and exercises, purchase equipment for the military response elements, and coordinate the necessary training for each.
It will also work closely with the Departments of Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and other federal agencies.
As with any operation involving military assistance to civilian authorities, the Department will play a support role.
Local authorities will retain their overall jurisdiction and FEMA will retain its role as the lead federal agency for consequence management.
$49.2 million has been requested in the FY99 President's Budget and forwarded with the following recommendations:
- $19.9 million for 220 Active Guard/Reserve positions to stand up Army National Guard RAID elements.
- $15.9 million for patient decontamination and WMD reconnaissance element training (over two years).
- $6.9 million to establish and staff the Consequence Management Program Integration Office.
- $3.3 million to prepare medical personnel for operating in contaminated areas.
- $1.8 million for additional Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer training days.
- $1.4 million to upgrade simulation systems with WMD-effects modeling.
A copy of the report "Integrating National Guard and Reserve Component Support for Response to Attacks Using Weapons of Mass Destruction" is available at: http://www.defenselink.mil/pubs/wmdresponse/