2014 Green Book: Building security in the homeland

By Lt. Gen. Perry L. Wiggins, Commanding General, U.S. Army North/ Fifth U.S. ArmySeptember 30, 2014

This year's Quadrennial Defense Review cites three pillars to the Department's defense strategy -- Protect the Homeland, Building Security Globally, and Project Power and Win Decisively. The 2014 Army Strategic Planning Guidance sees three supporting missions to guide the Army's force-sizing construct: Conduct Counterterrorism and Irregular Warfare, Deter and Defeat Aggression, and Defend the Homeland and Provide Defense Support of Civil Authorities. U.S. Army North (Fifth Army), the Army Service Component Command to U.S. Northern Command, with an area of responsibility stretching from the Arctic to the southern border of Mexico, is the premiere Army command in the homeland focused on Homeland Defense, Defense Support of Civil Authorities, and Building Security with the armies of Canada, Mexico and the Bahamas.

The Soldiers and Civilians of U.S. Army North serve throughout the Continental United States, where they work alongside federal, state, local, and tribal governments, as well as with our multinational partners, to help protect our fellow Americans from natural and man-made disasters as well as defending the homeland in depth while building a stronger North American Security.

Protect the Homeland / Homeland Defense:

The homeland is no longer a sanctuary and we must anticipate the increased likelihood of an attack on U.S. soil. Extremists come in many forms and are still plotting to attack our Homeland. Such attacks may involve Chemical, Biological, Radiological, or Nuclear (CBRN) Weapons of Mass Destruction.

The Total Army provides the preponderance of forces for the Department of Defense's Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Response Enterprise (CRE). Army National Guard air and missile defense units protect our nation's capital and provide manning for ground-based midcourse defense systems deployed in Alaska and Colorado that will deter and defeat missile attacks on our nation.

Today's greatest threat to North American Security is posed by transnational criminal organizations (TCOs). TCOs, as the name implies, recognize and respect no boundaries. Over the past few decades, this has become clearer as the drug trade balance of power, previously centered in South America, has shifted to eight prominent Mexican TCOs who dominate drug trade and other illicit activities. It is in the mutual interest of the United States, Canada and Mexico to unite to develop a regional capacity to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat these threats posed by TCOs and other non-state actors. Shared challenges call for shared solutions and commitment. U.S. Army North leads the way in working with our partners to achieve mutually reinforcing and interdependent planning and operations to confront our threats and protect our citizens and our ways of life.

Building Security in North America:

U.S. Army North continues to mature a very longstanding relationship with the Mexican Army that dates back over 40 years by taking the experiences we (the U.S. Army) learned from 13-plus years of persistent conflict and helping them to translate those lessons learned as they lead their nation's fight against transnational criminals. In just the past four years, we have seen exponential growth in our engagements with the Mexican Army that have led to significant results. A stronger, more capable Mexican Army has recently taken down several of the key leaders of the drug cartels.

Our goal for FY14-15 is to shift from specific mobile training and subject matter expert exchanges to small element tactical training/exercise engagements, either at the Mexican National Training Center or here in the United States. Long term we want to see a transition where SEDENA has institutional capacities, we have developed land operational/tactical interoperability and interdependence, they see us as their long-term partner of choice, and the focused end is a cooperative Defense of North America.

With Canada our long term goal is to maintain the interoperability that has matured in the past 13 years, especially as both our Nations see dramatic reductions in scope and scale of our armies. U.S. Army North oversees the Total Army integration and synchronization with our Canadian counterparts with the intent to ensure we are maximizing every training and exercise opportunity between our two armies for the betterment of the Total Army. This year marks the first year a Regionally Aligned Force will participate in Canada's premiere culminating validation event - Maple Resolve. Our goal for FY14-15, however, is to exchange Battalion level training opportunities. In addition, we continue reciprocal unit programs at the Brigade Combat Team level with two Canadian brigades and U.S. Army brigades out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Fort Drum.

With the recent Army allocation of a Regionally Aligned Force (RAF), we see even more potential and opportunities to expand our productive relationships with Mexico and Canada. The RAF Soldiers have executed numerous Mobile Training and Subject Matter Expertise Exchanges as fully embedded partners with their Mexican and Canadian counterparts and will make an even greater impact in the future as they draw upon their regional knowledge and expertise.

Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA):

The Total Army supports civil authorities on a daily basis for a variety of complex missions. Soldiers from the active and reserve components are engaged in the homeland, in capacities ranging from personnel serving as Defense Coordinating Officers in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to U.S. U.S. Army North leading and coordinating Army missions in support of civil authorities. The Army stands ready to conduct a no-notice response, particularly for a complex catastrophe that may require the employment of a significant Federal Army force.

Critical to all DSCA events is ensuring we are not "Late to Need". Effective this year, Army has assigned critical Theater Enablers that will greatly assist U.S. Army North in its efforts to "Set the Theater" to rapidly bring in Federal Forces into the incident area as they are requested and then sustain those forces while ensuring they can effectively communicate. We are also working very closely with our Interagency and state partners as we integrate our planning and preparations in Regional Plans that focus on those potential Complex Catastrophic events like the major earthquake scenarios (Cascadia Subduction Zone, New Madrid Seismic Zone, or Southern California), multiple Category 5 hurricanes, pandemics that reach the level of the 1918 influenza, and, the worst case scenario, the employment of a Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD) in the homeland. All this planning starts at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Regional level where the ten DoD Defense Coordinating Elements, assigned to U.S. Army North, are the key integrators who, with the U.S. Army North staff, ensure the DoD and Army requirements are identified and fully integrated as part of a Whole of Government response.

In addition to Homeland Defense, DSCA, and Building Security, U.S. Army North maintains the responsibility for the training proficiency of the entire DoD CBRN Response Enterprise (CRE). It is comprised of members from the Joint Force and the Total Army and includes 57 Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Teams (CST), 17 CBRN Enhanced Response Force Packages (CERFP), 10 Homeland Response Forces (HRF), the Defense CBRN Response Force (DCRF), and two Command and Control CBRN Response Elements (C2CRE A and B).

The CST, CERFP, and HRF respond in a Title 32 status to incidents in support of the Governor of the affected State or Region while the DCRF and C2CREs respond in a Federal Title 10 status in support of a lead federal agency. Each of these organizations is capable of providing some level of command and control, CBRN reconnaissance/ assessment, decontamination of personnel, technical search and rescue, and medical triage as well as providing some life-saving enabling and life-sustaining capabilities. In total there are more than 18,000 service members and civilians dedicated to the CRE.

The DCRF and C2CREs participate in a confirmation exercise every year titled VIBRANT RESPONSE in 2013 the exercise occurred over a 19-day period at Camp Atterbury and Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Indiana and was the largest confirmation exercise conducted to date. Soldiers, DA Civilians, and emergency response workers from over 25 states and territories participated in more than 200 training events in 11 training areas during the exercise. In 2014, VIBRANT RESPONSE will be more realistic than ever, and will include expanded commitment and participation from federal and state agencies, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Department of Energy (DOE), the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (INDHS), the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the National Technical Nuclear Forensics Center (NTNF). As in previous iterations, VIBRANT RESPONSE will incorporate a robust Command Post Exercise (CPX) concentrating on command and control.


U.S. Army North is the operational Army Command dedicated to the Homeland. Through our continuous homeland defense operations coupled with our efforts to build North American security we are creating a defense of the Homeland in depth that denies, deters and defeats our common threats. Our homeland is a very complex theater and all missions are high-stakes, high-publicity, and no-fail -- U.S. Army North will not be late to need.