PONCE,PR- Soldiers assigned to the 246th Mortuary Affairs Company, U.S. Army Reserve-Puerto Rico, effectively supported local and federal authorities at Las Americas harbor, March 18, while participating in Operation Borinqueneer Response , an exercise that simulates the aftermath of an earthquake in the U.S. territory.The troops are operating the Mobile Integrated Remains Collection System, which can process 20 remains per day and store 16 bodies.It is important to highlight that that soldiers from the 246th and 311th Mortuary Affairs Companies were mobilized within 72 hours after the 911 attacks, to conduct mortuary operations at the Pentagon, which showcases the high level of readiness of these U.S. Army Reserve-Puerto Rico units.The participation of the U.S. Army Reserve-Puerto Rico during Operation Borinqueneer Response is possible due to a change in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA), which provides new mobilization authority for Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) in response to domestic complex catastrophes.Section 515 of the NDAA 2012 adds a new para?graph under Title 10, U.S.C. 12304 to grant ac-cess to the Title 10 Reserve, including the Army Reserve, for disaster response missions.Nevertheless, the change in the law does not make the Army Reserve a first responder. National Guard forces responding under state active duty or Title 32 are the only military forces considered "first responders". However, when a Governor requests Federal assistance, Army Reserve forces may be part of the Federal response.As clearly demonstrated with the support provided to operation Borinquenere Response, the Army Reserve, which in Puerto Rico represents the largest federal U.S. Army command, has both the ability to seamlessly integrate vital military capabilities essential for disaster relief with the National Guard, State Governors, and federal agencies, and the flexibility to provide specialized capabilities to other federal forces and agencies.With ten centers around Puerto Rico, to include the Virgin Islands, the U.S. Army Reserve-Puerto Rico has thousands of Citizen Soldiers with highly technical, specialized and professional skills in logistics, transportation, training, engineering, information technology, communication networking and law enforcement, among others, which can be critical during a local emergency.