By Jim Garamone, American Forces Press ServiceJuly 14, 2010
WASHINGTON (July 12, 2010) -- Eight more homeland response force units will be established in fiscal year 2012, Defense Department and National Guard Bureau officials said here today.
The units are regional forces that will cross state lines when needed. They are part of a restructuring of the nation's chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosive consequence management enterprise.
Massachusetts (supported by Connecticut and Vermont), New York (supported by New Jersey), Pennsylvania, Georgia, Texas, Missouri, Utah and California each will host a homeland response force unit.
One unit will be based in each of the 10 Federal Emergency Management Agency regions. The units are scheduled to have 570 Guardsmen, and each will have a medical team, a search and extraction team, a decontamination team and very robust command and control capabilities, officials said.
The units are arranged in such a way that they will be able to drive to the site of an event within 12 hours, which represents a dramatic improvement in response time and life-saving capability to the previous construct, Guard officials said.
The units will be key elements of the new Defense Department chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosive consequence management enterprise. The enterprise also will include a defense CBRNE Response Force, two consequence-management command and control elements, 57 weapons of mass destruction civil support teams and 17 CBRNE-enhanced response force packages.
When not deployed for consequence-management operations, unit personnel will focus on planning, training, and exercising at the regional level.
The forces are part of a larger reorganization of the Defense Department's domestic consequence management enterprise recommended in the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review.
This reorganization will ensure DoD has a robust ability to respond rapidly to domestic CBRNE incidents while recognizing the primary role that the governors play in controlling the response to incidents that occur in their states, Guard officials said.
Also, the Department has selected Puerto Rico, Wisconsin, Louisiana, Kentucky, Nevada, Oregon, and Maine (supported by New Hampshire and Rhode Island) to replace existing CERFPs that will evolve into HRFs. On June 3, DoD announced Indiana and Alabama as the hosts for two additional CERFPs to replace the Ohio and Washington CERFPs that will evolve into HRFs in FY11.
CERFPs are composed of existing National Guard units that are trained to respond to a weapons of mass destruction incident. The CERFP capabilities include: locating and extracting victims from a contaminated environment, performing mass patient/casualty decontamination, and providing medical treatment as necessary to stabilize patients for evacuation.