Transcript

DOD Briefing on Hurricane Dorian Preparations

Sept. 3, 2019
Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Jonathan Hoffman; General Terrence J. O'Shaughnessy, Commander, U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command; Chief of the National Guard Bureau General Joseph Lengyel; Major General Scott Spellmon, Deputy Commanding General For Civil Works and Emergency Operations, U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers

ASSISTANT TO THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS JONATHAN HOFFMAN:  With that -- all right, to our -- our briefing here today, so on the record here.

Thank you all for joining us today.  Given that many of you are back from a long weekend and tracking Hurricane Dorian closely, we wanted to give you a specific update on what DOD has been doing, in coordination with FEMA and the states, to prepare and respond to Hurricane Dorian.  This briefing will be on the record, embargoed until the conclusion of the briefing.

I'm joined in the room by Chief of the National Guard Bureau Gen. Joseph Lengyel and Maj. Gen. Scott Spellmon, deputy commanding general for civil and emergency operations.  Also on the video, we have NORTHCOM commander, Gen. O'Shaughnessy.  He is with us in Colorado.

While we're going to stick to DOD hurricane (inaudible) questions today, I do want to share a few messages from our interagency partners at FEMA.

The first is that even though the storm's category has changed, it's still a life-threatening storm, with high winds expected to affect Florida and the Carolinas over the next few days.  And even without a landfall, there'll -- there may be some significant impacts, which we're preparing for.

Mandatory evacuations are in place in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina.  We ask that everyone listen to their local officials with regard to evacuations.

Hurricane Dorian, despite its Category 3 status, is a big storm and federal, state and tribal partners are prepared for a response.  FEMA and our partners have resources from southern Florida and North Carolina and beyond to be ready and respond to state requests for support.  We are coordinating with FEMA and with the state governors in that.

We are grateful for the brave and superlative work done by emergency managers and first responders, to include the many volunteers from across the nation who mobilized and stepped forward to save and sustain lives as Hurricane Dorian begins its slow track north.

The Department of Defense remains ready to assist whenever and wherever it is needed.  It will quickly respond to requests for assistance or support.

With that, I want to first turn it over to Gen. O'Shaughnessy for brief introductory remarks, and then we'll go to Gen. Lengyel, and then to Gen. Spellmon. 

General?

GENERAL TERRENCE J. O'SHAUGHNESSY:  Yeah, good morning.  Gen. O'Shaughnessy from the NORTHCOM Headquarters here today.

And let me first start by saying thank you for joining us today. 

And just a reminder, our USNORTHCOM's top priority is homeland defense.  However, we also serve as the Department of Defense's synchronizer for Defense Support to Civil Authorities, or DSCA.  And our efforts are always in support of a lead federal agency working closely with both the state and local officials.

In this particular storm, it's become incredibly important that we work at the speed of need and we recognize that the Department of Defense has capabilities and capacity to deploy on short notice into very austere conditions, which are not necessarily available in other federal agencies or necessarily in the private sector.

And then given the storm's unpredictability and massive strength, the agility and response -- responsiveness of the Department of Defense be able to bring forces is critically important, and as such we remain postured to be able to respond.

Now I'll give you some quick operational update of what USNORTHCOM, as DOD's synchronizer, has done so far.

And we currently have more than 5,000 National Guardsmen and 2,700 active duty personnel either deployed or positioned to respond within 24 hours or less in support of FEMA and other partners.

We have dual-status commanders established in Florida, South Carolina and Georgia, which is incredibly important as we synchronize the efforts that Joe Lengyel will talk about from the National Guard and the amazing, incredible capability and capacity that they bring.

Specific to Title 10, or active duty, we have over -- between 40 and 50 helicopter crews throughout the East Coast, from Fort Hood, Texas, who've deployed forward to Fort Rucker, Alabama.  We have Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, with capability and our SAR, Search and Rescue Center, set up in Moody Air Force Base, with both C-130s and helicopters on alert for operations, should they be needed for rescue operations on the East Coast.

Much like we have in other hurricane responses, we have over 80 high-water vehicles with operators from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, that are on alert, postured and ready to respond as soon as they're needed on the East Coast.

On the naval side, we have multiple naval assets available, all the way from small ships all the way up to the amphibious readiness group with an embarked Marine Expeditionary Unit, which is already underway for pre-planned operations.  That is uniquely positioned now, though, to be potentially part of the response if that robust capability was needed.

For staging bases, we've already identified 14 Department of Defense installations as intermediate staging bases for our, USNORTHCOM's, response, and they will be able to facilitate a speedy movement of Department of Defense supplies, personnel and equipment into the areas affected by the hurricane.

Again, based on the unpredictable nature of this storm, this is even more important as we've had that up and down the East Coast.

Our public affairs does have that entire list, if you want the specifics of what bases have been identified.

We also have 20 Department of Defense installations that -- that have been identified as base support installations, which directs the base to support FEMA and other federal agencies with respect to supplies, personnel and equipment.

And again, our public affairs can provide you the specific list of all of those bases, if you -- if you desire it.

And then for the -- for the hurricane, U.S. Northern Command has activated defense coordinating officers to Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina to synchronize Department of Defense efforts and coordinate with FEMA to provide the assistance as required.

And as you can see, USNORTHCOM is actively postured to support FEMA.  We've been involved in all of the variety of battle rhythm events, the -- the VTCs, et cetera, and our very -- feel we are very well synchronized with FEMA, with the states, the local partners and, of course, our National Guard brethren.

And I recognize there's also great interest in the Bahamas.  The United States Agency for International Development Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, or USAID's OFDA, is the lead federal agency for foreign disaster response.

We're in close coordination with them and have also been in close coordination with the charge d'affaires, Stephanie Bowers, down in the Bahamas.  We're also in coordination with the United Kingdom, who has some capability and capacity and a unique relationship with the Bahamas, as well.

And we're looking to see how our maritime and air capabilities and resources could support the State Department as they support the people of the Bahamas in their time of need.  And the secretary of defense has authorized me to provide logistics, health and engineering support to the Bahamas for up to 14 days as the Department of State works the specific requirements.

And as I think this crowd is well-versed on, the U.S. Coast Guard is supporting the Bahamian National Emergency Management Agency and the Royal Bahamian Defense Force, already in some search and rescue efforts, with 19 people saved yesterday from Marsh Harbor, and they'll continue to work in the Bahamas today. 

We're supporting them with a command center at the U.S. Navy's Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center in Andros, the Bahamas, to coordinate assessment overflights, medevac, search and rescue missions.  And by today, the U.S. Coast Guard will have six helicopters operating out of AUTEC in the Bahamas, to conduct these missions. 

In the end, I think from the NORTHCOM perspective, we have watched this storm from the beginning, when it was -- initially looked like it was going to impact Puerto Rico.  We had postured ourselves to be able to respond to the unpredictable nature of the storm, and we continue to be prepared that, regardless of where the storm makes landfall or if the storm makes landfall, that we will be able to bring our Department of Defense capability to help the local, state and FEMA officials work the disaster response. 

And I'll pause there, and I'll be ready for questions, following the other briefing members and Gen. Joe Lengyel from the National Guard Bureau.  

MR. HOFFMAN:  Joe?

GENERAL JOE LENGYEL:  OK.  Thank you for coming today.  And so as I stand here with you, there's 5,500 National Guard members in four states, the preponderance of those are in Florida.  But the other states, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina have -- are posturing those forces ahead of the hurricane, as it proceeds along this path.  They're ready to provide full-spectrum recovery support to all those impacted by Hurricane Dorian. 

The National Guard can also draw upon -- from a proven and highly trained force of over 450,000 men and women, National Guard soldiers and airmen, from all 50 states, three territories and the District of Columbia, if needed. 

So they will be there.  They'll be poised to work, ready for their communities and states, and they will be there from the inception of the preparation through the response, through the recovery until the hurricane responders can handle this without any military assistance. 

We stay in sync with NORTHCOM, with all our partners, FEMA and the other partners associated with the hurricane response.  And I'll stop there.

MAJOR GENERAL SCOTT SPELLMON:  Great, sir.  Thanks.  

Hey, good afternoon, everyone.  My name is Maj. Gen. Scott Spellmon.  Again, I'm the deputy commanding general for civil works and emergency operations with the Army Corps of Engineers.  As you may know, the Army Corps of Engineers plays a supporting role in the support -- in supporting NORTHCOM, in FEMA, Department of Defense and in these responses.  

Currently, we have our resources deployed to five states in the projected path of the storm.  That's 220 personnel either forward-deployed or supporting from their respective home stations. 

We're working 18 mission assignments currently in support of FEMA, and then we're out in the field, exercising our own authorities under flood control and our coastal engineering teams. 

I spent the last couple days, down in Florida and Georgia with our emergency power teams, our debris removal teams and our temporary roofing teams.  Proud to report that they all are set and ready to go, if they are in fact needed by the – by the states. 

And then out in the field, we also have our coastal engineers, our infrastructure assessment teams and our dam and levee safety experts.  Again, available to states and local communities in the event that they're needed. 

It's been a -- it's been a very busy year for us.  We've been fighting floods, record floods, out in the Missouri River, the Arkansas River, the Mississippi River, this year.  But we're ready.  We've been running fast, running hard, but we're ready for more and look forward to any questions that you may have. 

MR. HOFFMAN:  OK, we'll start with (inaudible)?  

Q:  Hi.  I think this is probably mainly for Gen. O'Shaughnessy.  

Just back on the Bahamas for a minute, is it only the Coast Guard so far that has actually deployed?  Or are any other U.S. military assets, unless there are some Guard – Gen. Lengyel, if you could answer that -- is there anything else that the U.S. has already done or is doing for the Bahamas at this point? 

GEN. O'SHAUGHNESSY:  Yeah.  At this point, the Coast Guard was already postured there, and it's able to have some fairly significant search-and-rescue capability that they've been employing. 

Our forces there is principally at the AUTEC installation, that's been providing the support to the Coast Guard in particular for fueling, logistics and enabling some of their operations. 

That said, we are working closely to determine what is it, the help and assistance -- but as you have seen, from all the reporting, it's very difficult to fully understand the situation there now.  The charge d'affaires has been very helpful, in trying to -- we're keeping coordination with her, to the extent we can work the communication. 

As we look into the future, what we are postured to be able to provide is initial assessments of the airports are going to be challenged, and we have the capability to both do the assessments for the airfields, we have the ability to potentially add some opening capability, which we think will probably be key in our initial coordination and discussion with both the on-scene folks in the Bahamas, as well as USAID and the State Department. 

Clearly, we've been working from a transportation standpoint, helping USAID, for example, to be postured.  We have stratlift capability and capacity on order, to be able to respond.  

And so as the State Department and USAID further flesh out what is the assistance that they need from the Department of Defense, because of course they'll be getting assistance from all the interagency as well as civilian capability and capacity that can be applied, we'll determine what exactly the role of the Department of Defense will be here. 

But the unique capabilities that we do bring are things like the airfield opening and strategic lift, that can get into austere conditions, would be what I would expect in the upcoming hours and days, over. 

Q:  And just as a quick follow-up, is there any thought toward any medical or other, sort of, life-saving hospital ship or any other medical-type ships? 

GEN. O'SHAUGHNESSY:  Yes.  Clearly, there's going to be, some need for sort of medical capability.  What we don't know yet is if that need is applicable to the things that the Department of Defense would bring.  Clearly, a question will likely be, from you, is "Where's the Comfort?"  It's off about four to five-day sail off the coast of South America.  

It is a tool in our toolkit.  They're -- at this point, it's premature to determine whether that would be applicable or not applicable to this situation.  But it's clearly one of the things that we will look at, as we better understand the conditions. 

There's also other medical capability that we could bring, either afloat or bring an airborne -- and/or bring -- bring in medical-evacuation capability, to bring the patients somewhere else. 

And so these are all considerations that we have.  But at this point, it's premature to determine exactly what the path forward, and what resources will apply to this challenge, over. 

Q:  If I could just follow up very quickly, you mentioned some of the initial sort of stuff you could be looking at, whether that's serving the airfield or clearing the airfield.  Is there a sense of how many troops just the initial sort of portion of assistance to the Bahamas, if needed, would require?  Are we talking dozens, hundreds?  Or what's the range?

GEN. O'SHAUGHNESSY:  Yeah, at this point, we -- it would be premature to answer that question because we really just don't know the situation on the ground.  More and more today, I think we'll get fidelity on that.  But as you well know, the storm is still impacting the area. 

And so we'll -- we will stay in close coordination -- and we'll have follow-on sessions, as we develop a -- as the requirements are developed, and that we look at a response plan to those requirements, we will stay in tune with you and provide you updates as that information comes in. 

But at this point it's the whole spectrum from a -- could be a relatively small Department of Defense perspective as to the response, to a very large one, depending on exactly what the need is, exactly what capability USAID has from other places, and what other support the Bahamas will be getting.  So at this point too early to tell, but we are postured to provide the full spectrum of capability and capacity. Over.

MR. HOFFMAN:  Alright, one piece on that is, as you guys know, with the emergency response structures, we fulfill requests from those affected.  So we've got to wait till we get the request, they've got to do the assessments, decide what they need, before we start deploying assets.  If we don't do that, the process gets out of whack. We end up with assets where they're not needed. And so we're there to support.  

Go ahead.

Q:  Yes, sir. Tara Copp with McClatchy.

Since the Bahamas falls under Northern Command's AOR [area of responsibility], I'm just I guess a little confused as to how kind of the chain went from State to USAID to DHS to the Coast Guard assets instead of NORTHCOM, I guess, deploying other ships or other personnel.  If you could help me just understand that.

GEN. O'SHAUGHNESSY:  Sure.  So really, no different than it would happen anywhere else in the world in that close -- the Bahamians are a close and great partner and as part of our AOR, we are in constant coordination with them.  

Prior to the storms arrival, we were in coordination with both the Royal Bahamian Defense Force, as well as the charge d'affaires.  There was no request for assistance, no request for us to bring assets or capability forward at that time.  

Since that time, obviously the storm has turned into much more devastating than -- than predicted.  And as such we -- we will, just like any other natural disaster that happens anywhere in the world, we have the process that's in place.  That process that's in place is through the Department of State.  The Department of State as the lead federal agency then goes to the interagency and sees what assets are postured where and who should ultimately be part of that response team.  

And so this is really playing out exactly as it should from a process standpoint.  Whilst at the same time we want to make sure that we don't let the process slow us up,  we do want to make sure we're -- we do our response in accordance with the processes that are established.  

And as such we're postured -- we are leaning forward and we've done prudent planning, as you would expect, so that when -- when the various requests for assistance come in, we're already postured to be able to respond to them based on our planning and our understanding of the situation as it's developed.

Q:  Just -- just one follow up.  Was there any element of -- because so much of the East Coast is potentially in a threat of this, that NORTHCOM, the Guard, kind of you all were more focused on making sure everything was postured correctly to protect the East Coast.

GEN. O'SHAUGHNESSY:  I would phrase it differently.  I would say just based on the nature of the storm, we have been very agile and very flexible.  We've postured our response capability and capacity to be agile and dynamic, as the storm has been very agile.

And as such -- at each step we started with, again, Puerto Rico where we were postured to be able to provide great support to Puerto Rico if it was needed.  Turns out it -- it -- it wasn't.  And so really we -- we have factored the Bahamas in, as -- as we should, as part of that broader response force.

It has not been hindered by that.  We are able to ask and keep whatever capability and capacity we have requested to date we have gotten from the Department of Defense.  And so there has been no -- we have not had to balance, as you alluded to, a support to our nation relative to the support of the Bahamians.  We're able to do both, over.

Q:  Just to briefly reflect, on the record, that we're talking about saving lives, and it's just unfortunate you're not permitted to even show your faces.  

But Gen. O'Shaughnessy, my question is, you mentioned the possibility of a Marine Corps Amphibious Ready Group and a MEU [Marine Expeditionary Unit].  Are you talking about, sir, the possibility of sending Bataan with Marines embarked?  How many Marines would that be?  Would that be part of what Esper has authorized you for, for 14 days of logistical health and engineering support?  What does it mean to the deployment of -- of Bataan to other missions if they are in Bahamas for up to 14 days?  Is that -- is that you're speaking about when you mention a MEU and a ARG? 

GEN. O'SHAUGHNESSY:  Let me -- let me clarify a little bit there.  So first off, what -- what we're authorized for the first 14 days is -- is literally -- I don't know, probably a smaller scale than an ARG/MEU.  But if the requirements exceed that, then that's when we go back and -- and get actual permission and -- and authority to use the full Department of Defense capability capacity.  So it's not restricting us from doing so right now; it just hasn't been asked for.  

But specifically to your question.  I -- I consider the ARG/MEU as just one of the tools in our toolkit.  We have a lot of tools in our toolkit, all the way from, you know, from the air, from the Navy, from the Marines, from the Army that we can apply.  And we look at the entire spectrum of capability.  

It just happens that the Bataan ARG/MEU is in fact one that is postured just off the North Carolina coast right now, because it was doing some maneuvers and preparation for readiness.  

And as such, it is actually loaded out in a manner that is actually fairly conducive to operations in support of a natural disaster that could be off our own East Coast depending -- and -- this -- as this hurricane continues to be unpredictable, where it would be in our toolkit for a response to the Carolinas, for example, if it was needed there.  Or it could be used all the way down to support the Bahamas.  But again, we don't that that requirement is there, and we don't know that this is the tool that we would take within our toolkit.  

My point is, it’s part of the full spectrum of capability that would be available, and it does have about over 2,000 personnel.  It is well suited with MV-22 Ospreys. It has the CH-53s, the MH-60s.  And so it's well -- it is well suited for that, but it's not necessarily the right tool for the job yet.  We don't know that yet.  It's just -- it's in the realm of the possible, depending on the exact nature of the response needed, and what the Department of Defense is tasked to do or asked to do from -- in coordination with the Department of State.  

Hopefully that -- that clarifies that, but again, it is not -- we are not planning on using it yet.  We're just saying it is in the realm of the possible, depending on what the requirements are as we get further fidelity of the situation in the Bahamas. Over.  

Q:  (Inaudible) are their other ships with (inaudible)?

GEN. O'SHAUGHNESSY:  There are.  It -- it -- there's -- there's -- the Oakland's also with the Bataan.  The New York is actually split off at the moment, but -- but could be brought together if need be.  All these again, are considerations.  You know, we could split it; we could use it as an entirety of ARG/MEU. 

Again, these are way premature to be going down specificity of what we would be using and how we would be using it.  So I will commit to, you know, keeping the Pentagon press corps informed of our actions as they go.  We're -- we're truly just -- we're not -- we're -- we're -- we are in the planning stage, and we have all sorts of plans, from a very simple response to a very robust response, that allow us, that once the requests come in and we better understand it, then we can respond quickly.  

And, again, we're committed -- I am personally committed to work with the Pentagon press corps to ensure our transparency, as the fidelity comes in, into what we'll actually commit to this very challenging response. Over. 

MR. HOFFMAN:  OK.  

Lara?

Q:  Hi.  Lara Seligman with Foreign Policy.  

Just wondering how much you estimate that this -- these operations are going to cost, and how much of that is coming from the DOD's budget, and do you have sufficient funding to pay for this while we're still paying for a recovery from Tyndall and other hurricane damage? 

MR. HOFFMAN:  So I'll take the first swipe at that.  I would just say, at this point, as we're still getting assessments from what's taking place and what requirements are going to be asked of the department, we're not going to have any estimate on what the cost is going to be.  But we're prepared.  

And also, part of the relief, the funds will come from FEMA, that has funds provided for this, recovery efforts.  I can't speak to their funding right now.  That would be a great question for FEMA.  But we're confident that we have the capability to respond, and we're funded in a way that we can respond. 

Q:  (inaudible) what piece of this -- how much of this is DOD's responsibility?  How much of this does come from DOD's budget? 

MR. HOFFMAN:  I don't have that answer.  I can ask Gen. O'Shaughnessy if you feel comfortable answering that?  Or we can get back to her?

GEN. O'SHAUGHNESSY:  Yeah, and it's hard for me to hear the exact question, if it's applying to the CONUS operation or to the Bahamas. 

MR. HOFFMAN:  The question was, do we feel we have -- or what would be an estimate of the amount of funding that would be necessary, and how much of that would be DOD versus FEMA versus other sources? 

GEN. O'SHAUGHNESSY:  Yeah, it’s -- it's premature at this point.  And I will say, you know, one of the things that we learned from past hurricanes, both for effectiveness and efficiency and ultimately some factoring costs, is the way that we source the units, is we’ve tried to source the units that will be in response, that are -- allow us to actually minimize the cost while maintaining the ability to respond. 

And so for example, most of the units that we've selected, with a couple exceptions, to support this effort to date, have been in the local proximity, outside of the storm's exact impacts, so we're not putting an installation to have to source a mission while at the same time, covering down and preparing for the hurricane, but close enough that we don't actually have to do a lot of movement ahead of time, which is when you incur the costs, the initial costs of the operation. 

And so I think we've really balanced that quite well.  And so the costs to date have been minimal.  But realize, you know, we don't know where the storm is going to go with certainty yet, and so it's premature to talk about the total cost yet.  

But the cost to date, I can tell you, from the active duty prepositioning, has been relatively minimal, whilst at the same time, allowing us to be postured to respond robustly. And so cost is not the driving factor.  You know, our ability to respond and save lives is the driving factor.  But, certainly, we've learned from past occurrences, of the value of not having to move a force while still having it postured in order to effectively respond. Over. 

GEN. LENGYEL:  I could just add that the National Guard being used here initially, all that cost, initially, is borne by the states themselves.  And then Stafford Act declaration, then there's generally a cost share.  Generally its 75 percent federal, and 25 percent state.  

But it'll be a while before they figure out exactly what the total cost of this thing is.  But initially, from the National Guard perspective, and -- the preponderance of those forces come from those individual states, and that's why they stagger them so carefully, because it's rather expensive to bring them on duty, as it goes, but that's a good question. 

MR. HOFFMAN:  And just to reiterate one of General O'Shaughnessy's points, the direction that the department, FEMA and everybody's received, from the president on down, is to lean forward, to move out to save lives.  And then we'll deal with the accounting on the back end, so. 

Tony? 

Q:  Yeah, Gen. Lengyel, can you give a sense of the size and scope of the hurricane hunter effort thus far, in terms of the number of sorties?  I mean, is it an exponential increase over past ones? 

And then for Gen. O'Shaughnessy, have there been any orders yet to move military aircraft from Florida and North Carolina, just out of the region?  Or is that still to be determined? 

GEN. LENGYEL:  From my end, the hurricane hunters are actually not National Guard, those are Air Force Reserves.  And I think I wouldn't know exactly how many sorties they've flown, but we can get that information for you. 

Q:  (inaudible)

GEN. O'SHAUGHNESSY:  Yeah, and from the force movement relative to the hurricane, there's a couple aspects of this.  First is, the individual services work the hurricane response.  And what they do, with whether it be the ship sailing, the aircraft departing and that has been ongoing, as the -- and it's a moving target, as the – as the storm prediction has -- has changed. 

And so we're in close coordination with them.  And I use the example of U.S. Fleet Forces Command under Admiral Chris Grady.  As he looks at the East Coast and sortieing out some portion of the force, mooring up on their heavy -- using heavy lines to – to -- to keep the force within – within the harbors and ports, that combination thereof is driven, ultimately, by the services. 

We stay tuned with them, though, so we understand the capability capacity.  And for example, if a ship sails out that's going to do hurricane avoidance, we might ask the ship to position itself in a – in a manner that could then respond to the hurricane in a -- as it passes through. 

And so it's a well-coordinated effort.  But in the end, the services make the decision on the exact location of whether they're going to hurevac [hurricane evacuate] aircraft, whether they're going to sortie out ships.  And then we do -- we are in response, in tune with them to understand what that means from a response. 

There are some aspects, though.  For example, we're still very focused on homeland defense.  And so clearly, we have some impact to our ability to defend the homeland by what force is available.  

And so for example, yeah, we have aircraft that are on alert on a normal basis from Florida.  As those aircraft have either been hangered in or hurevaced out, which is a combination of both, that we've seen, we pick up that responsibility from – from other places. 

So for example, Homestead in Jacksonville had – had -- had to go down for the hurricane, we pick up that responsibility in other places. Over. 

Q:  So about 80 percent of the National Guardsmen have been activated are in Florida, versus in the Carolinas or in Georgia.  Now that it kind of looks like the storm might be shifting a little bit away from Florida, and maybe impacting South Carolina more, are there plans to rebalance any of those personnel to respond? 

GEN. LENGYEL:  So, yeah, I'll take that.  Yeah, each individual state makes their own determination of how many National Guard soldiers and airmen they want to bring on duty. 

Florida is re-evaluating as we speak, it posture and its required force on duty as we go.  And when they decide they no longer need them for Florida, they actually make them available, to share to other states. 

So as this storm moves north, over to South Carolina and North Carolina, we'll, in succession, I believe, add more forces to their National Guard structures that are in place.  

And the capacity is large.  These are all big -- very big Guard states, in excess of 10,000 guardsmen a state.  And the surrounding area in the southern U.S. is immense.  And so the capacity to provide guardsmen to share in this -- make -- mitigation in this disaster, is a lot of soldiers, a lot of airmen. 

MR. HOFFMAN:  OK.  We're going to do a couple more questions, and then we've got some meetings that we're keeping people from.  

So, go over here? 

Q:  Sir, just to go along on that, there are agreements among the states too.  If there's not a capability in one state, they can borrow it from someplace else?  There's -- is that -- how does that work?  

GEN. LENGYEL:  So it -- absolutely.  The emergency management assistant compacts that they -- the preparation for this hurricane started last spring.  OK.  There was a meeting and people decided what -- what kind of capabilities they may need to share or -- or otherwise.

We have forces in North Carolina, for instance, that are about to deploy, and they're not available to use in the states.  So they make prearranged agreements with other states such that when a hurricane comes, they've already got an agreement with Indiana, for instance, to share trucks or helicopters or -- or aviation assets. 

So those are already in place.  It's really a very efficient system.  We try to do it, as Gen. O'Shaughnessy talked, in proximity to -- to minimize costs because it's a contract between two states, and -- and those are funds are borne by those states.  So it's -- that's what they do every year they have that same conference.

MR. HOFFMAN:  Carla; this is the last one.

Q:  Thank you guys for doing this.  I just have a couple clarifications, so if you want to ask another one.  Clarification for you, General.  You mentioned five states that the Army Corps of Engineers were in.  I don't want to assume what states those are, but I'm assuming Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and ..

MAJ. GEN. SPELLMON:  And Virginia.  Yeah.

Q:  And then for Gen. O'Shaughnessy, when you said that there were about 2,500 active duty personnel standing by, does that include the Marines, the MEU, that you were discussing with Barbara, or no?

GEN. O'SHAUGHNESSY:  No, the -- when I said the -- the 2,500-plus active duty that are on -- these are ones that are principally focused on responding to the hurricane.  Over and above that, you have the full arsenal of the Department of Defense capability capacity and that's where the ARG/MEU comes in.

And that we've certain done prudent planning, but we're not counting those in the force that is postured to respond.  So clearly our numbers would -- would exponentially go up if you included all the capability capacity that we could bring to bear, if the requirement is there.

What -- what I was referring to was those that are -- that are actively and principally focused on this as a response as their primary focus at this time and under our command and control already is NORTHCOM. Over.

MR. HOFFMAN:  Carla said we could have one more question.

Q:  Paul Sonne from the Washington Post.  

I was wondering if what happened at Tyndall has affected the way you guys are preparing DOD installations at all; whether instead of keeping planes in hangars,  you're hurevacing more planes, or how that situation has changed the way you're preparing DOD installations that might be affected by the storm.

MR. HOFFMAN:  Gen. O'Shaughnessy, you want to try to take that one first and then ...

GEN. O'SHAUGHNESSY:  Well, I say, clearly there's been lessons learned from Tyndall, as an example, based on the catastrophic nature of that storm.  And -- and as such I think the -- ultimately under the services’ direction, they are taking due – due diligence and caution to preserve their capability and capacity.

And as much as possible, they do fly out, for example, the aircraft as many as possible and maintain minimum footprint that's going to be in the path of -- of the storm.  

We've also learned, for example with our command and control, Tyndall is a key element of the NORTHCOM and NORAD's command and control structure.

And having the good coop -- the ability to -- to go to alternate sites and locations becomes even more critically important as we learned from -- from the storm.  And so I think, clearly there's been lessons learned applied from that event.  There's been a -- probably more conservatism in -- in the sense of sorting out both aircraft and ships to be safe.

But at the same time, trying to maintain our ability to maintain our readiness at the same -- at the same time.  

So overall, it's a service responsibility.  We're in tune with it.  But I think, at large, we've incorporated the lessons learned from Tyndall as an example.  Over.

MR. HOFFMAN:  All right.  Everybody, thank you very much. If you have any follow-up questions please reach out to the press desk or any of the P.A. teams from the organizations.  

(UNKNOWN):  See you, sir.

(UNKNOWN):  Thanks.  Good luck.