By Mr. Paul Boyce (FORSCOM)July 12, 2007
The Department of the Army announced today, July 12, the completion of the provision of nearly 2,600 pieces of equipment requested by seven states and three territories in hurricane-prone areas of the United States in anticipation of possible needs this storm season. The last items to be delivered - eight flat bed trailers - arrived in Puerto Rico last week. States requested and received a variety of equipment, from transportation to communications gear. Much of this equipment will remain permanently with these states.
"Efforts by all components of the Army (Active, Guard and Reserve) have been truly noteworthy. These measures will ensure adequate levels of essential hurricane- response equipment are available and pre-positioned to significantly mitigate risk and increase the National Guard's hurricane response capability and preparedness. As a result of this effort by the Army team, I am confident we are all better prepared for the upcoming hurricane season," said Lt. General Steve Blum, Chief of the National Guard Bureau.
These measures, combined with cooperative arrangements among the states with federal departments, bolster the preparedness of the states and territories that face the highest hurricane threat. The transfer of equipment is an essential piece of a comprehensive and cooperative plan among the states, territories, and departments of the federal government, civilian and military.
Well before the start of the current hurricane season, National Guard Adjutants General met with the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army General Richard Cody via video teleconference to discuss response capabilities and their needs. The Adjutants Generals of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Hawaii reported they would need additional equipment in order to respond without outside assistance to a hurricane with a strength of category three or below. The territories of Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands also requested assistance.
To fulfill these requirements, the Army diverted new equipment and newly repaired equipment to the National Guard, while transferring the remainder of their identified equipment requirements from active-component units. For example, the Mississippi Army National Guard received 158 new trailers of those they requested, and the Louisiana Army National Guard received 192 new trucks, as well as new trailers, fuel distribution systems and satellite communications systems. None of the transfers or diversions will affect the combat readiness of units scheduled to deploy in support of the Global War against Terror. The states and territories have full purview over most of the equipment provided and are not required to request federal assistance to access it. Attached is a list by state and territory of the equipment delivered by the Army.
"The Army National Guard has a long history of providing life-saving support to communities across America for both predictable and no-notice domestic emergencies," said Lt. Gen. Clyde A. Vaughn, Director, Army National Guard. "The transfer of this equipment is essential to these seven states and three territories to enable them to better prepare and support civil authorities in the event of a hurricane."
Army Reserve units in neighboring states - including engineer, medical, transportation and aviation - are prepared to mobilize if necessary, in order to augment National Guard capabilities. In the event of a major hurricane, these Army Reserve units will report to the U.S. Northern Command's Defense Coordinating Officer for the affected region. The DCO is responsible for coordinating military support to civil authorities in a particular Federal Emergency Management Agency region. The Stafford Act and the National Response Plan give FEMA the lead in responding to any disaster. U.S. Northern Command is charged to coordinate military assistance to civil authorities as requested.
"Defending the homeland is a top priority for the Army Reserve," said Lt. Gen. Jack Stultz, Chief of the Army Reserve and Commander, U.S. Army Reserve Command. "The Army Reserve's ability to position capabilities, without regard to state borders, and provide neighborhood-based support directly to our communities, states, and federal agencies ensures our commitment to our homeland endures, even as we continue to support operations throughout the world."
The rerouting to National Guard units of new equipment originally scheduled to be delivered to active units is representative of the emphasis the Army places on the relationship between the components. Successfully meeting the needs of the states and territories who made requests for equipment is the result of unprecedented teamwork between the Army Reserve, Army National Guard and the Headquarters, Department of the Army.
"This year, we're much better prepared than we were last year," said Brig. Gen. Dave Halverson, the Army's Director of Operations, Readiness and Mobilization. "This is an indicator of how the Army has been working to improve its response." Brig. Gen. Halverson is responsible for monitoring, assessing and coordinating the Army's support to the force under Title 10 of the United States Code, as well as planning and executing the Army's support to U.S. civilian authorities. Under his direction, the Army Operations Center at the Pentagon is in full support of the National Guard and the respective states and territories in the event of a hurricane or significant storm.
The Army Reserve and Army National Guard - vital components of the nation's war fighting force - continue on the path to transparency with the active Army, embodying the concept of "one team, one fight." The extraordinary teamwork required to make this year's hurricane preparation a success proves this concept is working.
Media with more questions may call Army Public Affairs, Maj. Thomas McCuin, at 703-614-2459.
2007 Hurricane Season Equipment Requirements
The following 2,573 items were requested this year, a 75 percent reduction from the request for last year's hurricane season. The equipment requested and provided this year includes:
-- 2,164 trucks and trailers
-- 126 generators
-- 103 pieces of water purification and storage equipment
-- 70 pieces of engineer equipment-floodlights, augers, scoop loaders, dozers, boats, and graders
-- 70 pieces of logistics equipment-fuel storage, food service, and forklifts
-- 23 maintenance test sets and support items
-- 16 global positioning systems
-- 1 radio