By Sgt. 1st Class Mark BellSeptember 12, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Army Reserve Soldiers had a unique opportunity to collaborate with Tennessee's National Guard, in support of local and state agencies during a tabletop Defense Support of Civil Authorities training exercise Sept. 5.
The Army Reserve's 290th Military Police Brigade hosted the daylong event that included individuals from local law enforcement, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, local power companies as each explained their capabilities and limitations in an emergency situation.
The Army Reserve is now available to support state and local authorities for domestic emergency and disaster relief efforts at home. Section 12304a of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) provided new authority for the Service Reserve Components to assist our citizens and communities in the U.S. during domestic emergencies.
"This is the beginning of something great here in Nashville," said Army Reserve Ambassador John Dyess, who commended the brigade leadership and staff for reaching out to key regional partners. "When I first heard about this collaboration, I had to make the trip to see the Army Reserve writing a new chapter in their history books."
In 2012, Congress provided the Department of Defense with the new Reserve Component access authority, which cleared the way for Army Reserve to assist Americans during a domestic emergency when governors through the Federal Emergency Management Agency request federal assistance.
"The same life-saving and life-sustaining capabilities so essential to missions abroad make the Army Reserve an optimum force for preserving property, mitigating damage and saving lives here at home," said Lt. Gen. Jeffery Talley, the 32nd Chief of Army Reserve and Commanding General of U.S. Army Reserve Command, in a statement before the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Defense on April 30, 2014.
Talley said that the key capabilities in high demand during a major disaster, such as an earthquake or hurricane, were prominent in the Army Reserve, and that DSCA response missions could benefit from the Army Reserve's unique capabilities and core competencies.
Leading the discussions from the middle of the room was the brigade's senior officer and command sergeant major.
"The Army Reserve and the 290th MP Brigade in this area have a lot of capabilities to assist local agencies and authorities," said Col. Malcolm McMullen, the 290th MP Brigade commander. "We need to make sure everyone understands what our capability is and also our limitations, so there are no expectations that we can't meet in case of a disaster."
Like members of the Tennessee Army and Air Guard, McMullen said Army Reserve Soldiers have a presence in the communities and care about taking care of their neighbors in the aftermath of a disaster.
"I hope we can continue to work together and build enhanced processes so we can be better prepared if called upon to assist our hometowns in the area," McMullen said after the training exercise. "Everyone is sharing their capabilities. We know what everyone can bring to the table during a disaster."
As the different staff worked through various scenarios, McMullen and the Davidson Country Sheriff's Department discussed ways Reserve Soldiers could assist local law enforcement.
"This is why I am glad we all came together," he said. "We are getting a better understanding of your potential needs and you understand our capabilities as a military police brigade."
McMullen said the same vital military capabilities essential to Army and Joint Force global operations stand ready to support domestic emergency and disaster relief effort.
"As a Reserve force, we can integrate our vital military capabilities with the Guard, state governors and federal agencies, as well as provide specialized capabilities to other federal forces and agencies in a time of need," he said. "If requested, the Army Reserve can provide disaster relief and emergency management at the community-level."
"The Army Reserve is a very proud organization, and now we can lend our resources to assist local and state agencies," said Dyess, who drove from Knoxville, Tennessee to participate in the training. "Military Police are thinking outside of the box, and the leadership here understands the importance of partnering with the community."