By Alex McVeighMay 3, 2010
Leaders from Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region welcomed commanders and staff from 14 installations for the first ever Joint Installation Commanders Conference. Representatives from United States Northern Command, U.S. Army North joined Department of Defense partner agencies such as the FBI and Federal Emergency Management Agency, to discuss logistics issues in case of a disaster in the NCR.
The leaders discussed their experiences in dealing with national security special events, such as a presidential inauguration and the 2010 Nuclear Summit which happened earlier this month. Issues such as distribution of resources, commanding National Guard troops, chain of command and many others were discussed, with the idea of getting the region's leadership on the same page.
"We want to make sure we fully understand should there be a crisis in the National Capital Region, what the roles and responsibilities are," said Arnie Claudio, the interagency coordinator for JFHQ-NCR. "There are 166 bases that could be called for support, so this is a good chance to have an exchange with leaders." Maj. Gen. Karl R. Horst, commanding general, JFHQ-NCR and Military District of Washington, was at the center of the briefing, discussing strategies and processes that would take place in the event of an emergency. Since an emergency would require a lot of interagency cooperation, the organizers thought it best to brief everyone on the various capabilities of their organizations. "We're here to share our mission, show what we can do, what our capabilities are," said Lt. Col. Litonya Wilson, plans and operations chief for USARNORTH's G-4.
USARNORTH is the service component to NORTHCOM that conducts homeland defense, civil service and theater security operations. "We set this up to establish relationships and face-to-face contacts, to know what kind of support can be provided to our federal partners, and what kind of support will be asked for," said Bob Cheshire, director of Logistics and Engineering for JFHQ-NCR. "I think it's been very enlightening for the installation commanders to see the scope of what will be asked of them." As the conference concluded, it seemed each person left with a greater understanding of their role in case of an incident.
That was Horst's goal for the conference, and he left a parting message to his commanders to remain vigilant. "It's not a question of if, it's a matter of when, and when will we be able to respond'" Horst said. "In 2010, we are more prepared than ever. We learned from 9/11. We learned from natural disasters. And if something should happen, it will truly be a joint agency and interdependent mission."