USARNORTH: Homeland Defense and Civil Support

Thursday March 1, 2007

What is it? As part of Army Transformation, the Department the Army created U.S. Army North as the Army Service Component Command of U.S. Northern Command, the unified combatant command responsible for homeland defense and civil support. When directed, Army North can organize as a joint task force, command and control multiple joint task forces, or expand into a joint force land component command to command forces during homeland defense or civil support missions. Army North traces its lineage to Fifth United States Army and achieved full operational capability in October 2006. The command, led by Lt. Gen. Thomas Turner, is headquartered at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

What has the Army done? Army North maintains readiness for both homeland defense and civil support missions through robust planning, realistic training, and established relationships with critical civilian and military partners. Ten Army North Defense Coordinating Officers (DCO) work day-to-day with federal, state and local crisis managers in the Federal Emergency Management Agency regions to coordinate and integrate support to civil authorities. When activated during a crisis, the DCOs are the Department of Defense representative on the ground.

The command has leveraged state-of-the-art communications and command-and-control vehicles. The systems enable a variety of secure and nonsecure satellite communications and ensure interoperability by allowing responders at all levels to talk to each other regardless of the frequencies or type of equipment they use.

What efforts does the Army plan to continue in the future? Army North's Civil Support Readiness Directorate serves as the command's resident expert on training Reserve Component Chemical, Biological, Radiological/Nuclear, and High Yield Explosive response units. The directorate also is responsible for Training and Readiness Oversight of the National Guard Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Teams.

Army North also conducts the three-phase strategic-level Defense Support of Civil Authorities course, which is attended by military and civilian consequence managers across the United States. Army North also has the responsibility to plan and execute Theater Security Cooperation activities with the armies of Mexico and Canada. The overarching goal is to develop an enhanced partnership that will lead to a higher level of security for all citizens living in North America.

Why is this important to the Army? Army North provides a flexible and responsive Army command designed to respond across a spectrum of homeland defense or civil support operations.

For more information about this topic, visit www.arnorth.army.mil and www.usarnorth.org.

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