• Marine Col. John Yurcuk, with Defense Coordinating Element Region VII, and Lt. Col. Charles Jackson, deputy defense coordinating officer, DCE VII, review a review a mission assignment request during Vibrant Response 13, at Camp Atterbury, Ind. DCE-VII is based out of Kansas City, Mo. Vibrant Response 13 is a major incident exercise conducted by U.S. Northern Command and led by U.S. Army North.  More than 9,000 service members and civilians are taking part in the exercise from July 25 to Aug. 13, 2012, at Camp Atterbury and 10 other training areas and airfields in southern Indiana and northern Kentucky.

    Mission assignment

    Marine Col. John Yurcuk, with Defense Coordinating Element Region VII, and Lt. Col. Charles Jackson, deputy defense coordinating officer, DCE VII, review a review a mission assignment request during Vibrant Response 13, at Camp Atterbury, Ind. DCE-VII...

  • Lt. Col. Charles Jackson, deputy defense coordinating officer, Defense Coordinating Element VII, along with and Air Force Col. John Hoff, defense coordinating element team chief #2, review a mission assignment request for air and ground ambulatory services during exercise Vibrant Response 13, at Camp Atterbury, Ind. DCE-VII is based out of Kansas City, Mo. Vibrant Response 13 is a major incident exercise conducted by U.S. Northern Command and led by U.S. Army North.  More than 9,000 service members and civilians are taking part in the exercise from July 25 to Aug. 13, 2012, at Camp Atterbury and 10 other training areas and airfields in southern Indiana and northern Kentucky.

    Response

    Lt. Col. Charles Jackson, deputy defense coordinating officer, Defense Coordinating Element VII, along with and Air Force Col. John Hoff, defense coordinating element team chief #2, review a mission assignment request for air and ground ambulatory...

  • CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. - Two operations noncommisioned officers update a common operational picture for Army North's Defense Coordinating Element Region VII during Vibrant Response 13. DCE-VII is based out of Kansas City, Mo. Vibrant Response 13 is a major incident exercise conducted by U.S. Northern Command and led by U.S. Army North.  More than 9,000 service members and civilians are taking part in the exercise from July 25 to Aug. 13, 2012, at Camp Atterbury and 10 other training areas and airfields in southern Indiana and northern Kentucky.

    COP

    CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. - Two operations noncommisioned officers update a common operational picture for Army North's Defense Coordinating Element Region VII during Vibrant Response 13. DCE-VII is based out of Kansas City, Mo. Vibrant Response 13 is a...

CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. (Aug. 7, 2012) -- The unthinkable happened: A (simulated) 3,000 lb. radiological dispersal devise exploded at a train station in a major Midwestern city. Within hours, reports indicated two additional radiological devises, as well as a possible nuclear device, also detonated within the city.

Within minutes of the incident, the Federal Emergency Management Agency began the process of responding to the crisis; and soon after, an Army North defense coordinating element, or DCE, kicked into high gear as it prepared to help coordinate for Department of Defense assistance.

"Once an incident has happened, FEMA writes a mission assignment and sends it to the defense coordinating officer," said Lt. Col. Charles Jackson, deputy defense coordinating officer for U.S. Army North's Defense Coordinating Element Region VII out of Kansas City, Mo. "The DCO will alert Army North of the help request, and then the defense coordinating element will be activated.

"Once they have arrived on the scene, they will monitor situational awareness and determine if there are any military immediate responders on the scene. We are always the support element when we respond to situations in the United States," said Jackson.

Defense coordinating elements serve as the Department of Defense's first responders to a natural or man-made disaster. The DCEs are permanently assigned to all ten FEMA regions and serve as the DOD's point of contact to the primary federal agencies responding to an event.

"We are the bridge between the state and federal government in coordinating resources to provide assistance to the American public," said Sgt. 1st Class James Venable, emergency preparedness liaison officer for Defense Coordinating Element VII.

After a disaster, the state government(s) turns to FEMA to request help in providing resources to those affected. If FEMA cannot provide the needed resources directly, it sends a mission assignment to the assigned DCE requesting help.

Timeliness is paramount once called upon. The process is a quick one and the mission is vital -- to aid their fellow Americans when called upon.

"When we get a mission assignment from FEMA, the first thing we do is determine if it meets regulatory criteria," said Jackson. If it does, the DCE works to get the mission assigned.

Mission assignments fall under three categories: lifesaving, life-sustaining and all others. Once the mission assignment is approved, it is sent to a joint task force to be carried out.

To ensure the DCE is effective in times of national emergency, it is certified annually. DCE VII currently at Camp Atterbury, Ind., and is undergoing certification as part of Vibrant Response 13.

As part of the exercise, as soon as the members of DCE VII arrived on the scene, they quickly worked on gaining situational awareness and to kickoff the process of approving mission assignments that would ultimately go to Joint Task Force -- Guardian, a command and control response element composed of National Guard members.

"One of the most difficult things in the initial hours after an incident is determining real information and separating it from inaccurate information," said Jackson. "That is why it is important that we remain in contact with the responders on the ground."

The training done at Army North's Vibrant Response is realistic and beneficial to his team, said Col. Edward Manning, defense coordinating officer, DCE Region VII.

"This training is important because it prepares us to understand what is required in a real-world incident," said Manning.

Page last updated Wed August 8th, 2012 at 07:26