FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas - National Guard commanders from 15 states participated in a Contingency Dual Status Commanders' Conference at U.S. Army North Dec. 7. Dual Status commanders can direct both federal active-duty forces and state National Guard forces in response to domestic incidents.
The conference was one of the facets of a larger, five-day series of conferences for commanders nominated for a new, combined federal-state position; the other conferences were conducted at U.S. Northern Command, U.S. Air Force North and Washington, D.C.
During the one-day conference at Army North, nominees heard from briefers on a variety of topics, including a command brief, Army North's role in Defense Support of Civil Authorities operations, and overviews of the Contingency Command Post, the defense coordinating elements, the Combined Operations and Intelligence Center and Army North's emergency response vehicles.
"I found the ARNORTH visit a tremendous opportunity to meet key leaders and
hear their insights on DSCA operations," said Col. Michael Navrkal, commander, 92nd Troop Command, Nebraska Army National Guard, and CDSC nominee. "The briefings helped me understand the capabilities resident within ARNORTH."
The dual-status concept, formulated by the Secretary of Defense in January 2009 and distributed in a concept paper by USNORTHCOM in August 2010, directs the creation of a leadership position where the commander can direct federal forces and state forces to better coordinate responses to domestic incidents.
"A dual-status commander holds a federal hat (Title 10) in one hand and a non-federal hat (Title 32) in the other, but can wear only one hat at a time," said Gary Mills, operations training coordinator, Army North. "When in federal status, the CDSC takes orders from the President or those officers the President and the Secretary of Defense have authorized to act on their behalf, and may issue orders to Title 10 (federal) forces under his command."
"When in a non-federal status, the commander takes orders from the governor through the adjutant general and may issue orders only to National Guard Soldiers serving in a Title 32 or state active-duty status."
The Dec. 7 conference at Army North, attended by Guard leaders from Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin, was the second of its kind. The first conference, Sept. 10, introduced nominated dual-status commanders from California, Texas and Florida to Army North.
For now, the position applies to DSCA operations but does not apply to civil disturbance operations or chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive operations. The dual-status concept will have some ramifications for Army North.
"The concept is still being developed, and there may be some changes for ARNORTH based on staff support provided to augment the contingency dual status commander," said Herb Brown, deliberate plans, Army North. "How this will work is still be coordinated by USNORTHCOM, ARNORTH and the states as the concept develops. It does not change the ARNORTH requirement to be prepared to respond as an Army Service Component Command or as a Joint Force Land Component Command to support and command and control a DSCA response if directed by NORTHCOM. It does not change the ARNORTH command and control relationships with Joint Task Force - Civil Support or the CCPs.
There might be some changes made to the CCP, said Col. John Foster, chief of staff, CCP 1.
"We will conduct mission and task analysis to determine what size and shape of CCP staff elements would best support the requirements for any given CDSC situation and state," said Foster. "It is unlikely that most CDSC cases would require a full CCP roster, nor would it always be necessary for the CCP commander to deploy, so our analysis would center on what capabilities we would need to send for functions such as ground operations, logistics and movement control, aviation operations and others."
The CCP might add some positions but would not change the way it does business, he added.
"We may also have to expand our medical services staff capability, and our engineer staff may grow in order to partner with state forces," said Foster. "The CDSC concept will not alter the manner by which we process and execute Title 10 DoD support to civil authorities, nor does it affect the analysis we would give for forces or subordinate unit capabilities to bring to the operation."
The contingency dual-status commander concept is intended to foster greater cooperation among federal and state assets during a disaster, explained Brown.
"It is too early to lay out specific advantages and disadvantages, but the intent of the CDSC concept is to increase unity of effort in responding to the needs of a state governor as requested through the Department of Homeland Security during a disaster or other civil emergency," said Brown. "It does not transfer any responsibility from the federal government to the states. With a contingency dual-status commander, there is still a clear chain of command to both the governor for the state response and to the President of the United States for the federal response."