As Hurricane Dorian sat offshore from Florida's southeast coast, the Defense Department had already deployed some assets to the area.
Air Force Gen. Terrence J. O'Shaughnessy, commander of U.S. Northern Command, provided an update for a Pentagon news conference this afternoon via video-teleconference.
More than 5,000 National Guard troops and 2,700 active duty personnel are either deployed or are positioned to respond within 24 hours in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other partners, he said.
DOD has provided 14 incident support bases to FEMA and DOD is using 20 bases to support its own military response and support to FEMA, he said. Some of those incident support bases are at the same location, he noted, so all told, 26 bases are supporting the response. All of these bases are staging areas for personnel, supplies and equipment that can be brought quickly to bear as needed.
More than 40 helicopter crews have deployed to Fort Rucker, Alabama, the general said. A search and rescue center is set up at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, which has C-130 aircraft and helicopters standing by for possible rescue operations.
Multiple naval assets are available, from small ships to an amphibious readiness group with an embarked Marine expeditionary unit that's positioned to respond, O'Shaughnessy said, and more than 80 high-water vehicles are ready with operators from Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
DOD has also been in close coordination with the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance and the United Kingdom, all of which are involved or responding to the devastation in the Bahamas, which Dorian already has impacted, O'Shaughnessy said. Maritime and air support — as well as engineering, health and logistics support — could be made available for the Bahamas for up to 14 days if requested, he added, noting that the U.S. Coast Guard already is conducting search and rescue operations in and around the Bahamas.
The chief of the National Guard Bureau, Air Force Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, said National Guard troops in Florida, Georgia, South and North Carolina and Virginia are prepared for rescue and recovery operations and that agreements are in place between the states to share activated personnel.