Defense Support to Civil Authorities - Hurricane Katrina Response
What is it? The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requested Department of Defense support to conduct search and rescue operations, infrastructure support and help to provide stability to the region and hope to the many displaced persons as part of a government-wide response to Hurricane Katrina.
What did the Army do? The Army conducted one of the largest peacetime deployments of personnel and equipment within the United States in support of Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. The total Army commitment to this effort was nearly 51,000 Soldiers, civilians, and contractors (7,319 active component; 42,203 National Guard; 324 Army Reserve; more than 3,500 Army Corps of Engineers personnel (Soldiers, Army Civilians, and contractors). Additionally, the Army provided 233 helicopters and 50 fixed wing aircraft from all components. The following commands provided support as indicated:
- The Army Medical Command (MEDCOM):
- Professional fillers for units deploying in support (more than 135)
- Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine liaison officers (4),
- Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) Technicians from the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (2),
- Chaplains (5)
- Medical Logistics Augmentees (14)
- Individual professional specialist augmentees (40)
- U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM):
- One Medical Evacuation Detachment (3 helicopters) that evacuated 889 patients;
- Preventive Medicine Teams (2) consisting of an Environmental Science Officer; an Environmental Engineer; and Preventive Medicine Specialists;
- 84-bed Combat Support Hospital (CSH)
- 120-bed minimal care detachment;
- Dental detachment (1)
- Blood detachment from Fort Sam Houston (1)
- Veterinary Teams (2) a 20 Soldier
- Forward Surgical Team sent forward into New Orleans
- Medical Logistics Company (1)
- A total of 2,340 patients were treated by FORSCOM medical assets.
- FORSCOM also established Task Force Care at Fort Polk, Louisiana to facilitate distribution of accurate and timely information, supplies, and housing to Soldiers that were displaced by the hurricane.
- Mental health servicess were offered to the affected Soldiers and their families and medicine and medical supplies were distributed to Task Force Katrina as well.
- Army Corps of Engineers: (continued the mission through 2006)
- Provided over $4 billion of support, providing water, temporary housing, temporary power, debris removal, temporary repair to damaged roofs , restoring navigable waterways and restoring levee protection.
- Restored critical public services, delivered 103 million liters of water and 232 million lbs of ice, installed 918 generators, completed 2,447 housing inspections, conducted structural evaluation of 120,000 buildings, cleared and disposed of 58 million cubic yards of debris.
- To date, more than 8,000 personnel have been deployed in support of the Hurricane Katrina mission.
- Army Reserve: In addition to Soldiers and equipment, provided Mississippi Reserve Centers in Greenwood to shelter displaced persons; in Laurel to shelter relief workers; and in Vicksburg to serve as classrooms.
- Installation Management Agency (IMA): Provided Fort Gillem, Georgia for a FEMA mobilization center.
- Army Materiel Command (AMC): Provided Red River Army Depot as a staging area for trailers for temporary housing.
- Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), AMC and IMA: Provided chaplain support.
- Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command: Provided senior leadership to Northern Command's Deployment and Distribution Operations Center and coordinated the flow of materials, food, water and other supplies into the devastated areas with Defense Logistics Agency, FEMA and U.S. Transportation Command.
- TRADOC, the Military District of Washington and the Army Criminal Investigation Division Command: Provided law enforcement support.
What efforts does the Army plan to continue in the future? The Army will continue to provide support to hurricane disaster relief as requested by FEMA and in accordance with applicable law when directed by the Secretary of Defense.
Why is this important to the Army? This operation displayed the Army’s resolve to respond to emergencies and support Americans affected by natural disasters and creates a very positive image in the eyes of the American public. It also demonstrates the Army’s capability to provide domestic support while maintaining global commitments and fighting the Global War on Terror.