Defense Support to Civil Authorities

Monday August 20, 2007

What is it? Each year, the Army provides support to civil authorities as directed by the Secretary of Defense. Defense Support to Civil Authorities (DSCA) is formally defined in a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) document, the National Response Plan (NRP). DSCA includes activities of all DoD components that provide military support to the 50 States, District of Columbia, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and U.S. territories and possessions. DSCA does not apply to foreign disasters covered by DoD Directive 5100.46.

The focus of DoD support and response is assignment and allocation of DoD resources to support civilian authorities during civil emergencies arising during peace, war, or transition to war. The law restricts use of Title 10 forces to support civil law enforcement. DoD provides Federal military forces, DoD civilians, contract personnel, and DoD agencies and components in response to requests for assistance during domestic incidents. These incidents include terrorist threats or attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies.

What has the Army done? Examples of DSCA support include:
- Hurricane Season Equipment Transfer. Due to unprecedented requirements for DoD support in the last three years, a Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff order was published governing routine provisions of DSCA to the DHS. In preparation for the 2006 hurricane season, HQDA continued coordination with Army Commands, Army Service Component Commands, and Direct Reporting Units to ensure appropriate response readiness in the event of an incident requiring a federal response. HQDA, in coordination with Forces Command, Army Materiel Command, the Army National Guard (ARNG), the U.S. Army Reserve Command, and U.S. Army, Pacific developed an equipping plan which supports the Army's response to a specified DSCA mission and provides assistance during ARNG response to a governor's request for support.
- Southwest Border Mission (Operation Jump Start). The President authorized the Secretary of Defense to provide DoD capabilities, primarily National Guard, to support the DHS/U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). Approximately 5,000 National Guardsmen currently assist the U.S. Border Patrol in this crucial Homeland Defense mission across four southwest border states (California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas). As of 6 December 2006, the National Guard supported apprehension of more than 24,000 illegal aliens.
- Defense Coordinating Officer (DCO) /Defense Coordinating Element (DCE). DCO/Es serve as Department of Defense first responders to a natural or manmade disaster. The Army maintains a permanently assigned DCO/E in each Federal Emergency Management Agency region to plan, coordinate, and integrate DSCA with local, state, tribal, and federal agencies. The DCO/E has a permanent staff of six personnel with planning and operations expertise. The DCO assumes operational or tactical control of all assigned Title X forces and DoD resources in the mission area. During Hurricane Katrina, DCO/DCEs deployed to Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. To continue reading this topic in its entirety, click here.

- This topic was taken directly from the 2007 Army Posture Statement.


- 2007 Strategic Communication Guide - Be Army Strong, and Army Smart. Read the 2007 Army Strategic Communication Guide.


  • New Chinook unveiled at Fort Campbell (ARNews | Story)
  • Top Army leader praises all-volunteer force (AFIS | Story)
  • Army too stretched if Iraq buildup lasts (SFG | Story)
  • Quake relief task force treats 200 patients (AFIS | Story)
  • NORTHCOM supports Hurricane Dean operations (AFIS | Story)


  • Roadside bomb kills Iraqi governor (SS | Story)
  • Petraeus: Iraqis need to demonstrate progress, hope (AFIS | Story)
  • MRAP Vehicles shipped to Middle East (AFIS | Story)
  • Pace explains war dialogue in U.S. to Yokota troops (AFIS | Story)


  • Former commander honors victims of DMZ ax murders (SS | Story)
  • Psychological wounds need same attention as physical (AFIS | Story)
  • Former Gitmo detainees blast U.S. military (SS | Story)
  • APA Rules on interrogation Abuse (WP | Story)
  • Army Reports Brass, Not Bloggers, Breach Security (Wired)(Story)


  • Iran training Shi'ite fighters in Iraq (JP | Story)
  • Officer goes on trial for Abu Ghraib abuse (CNA | Story)
  • Zionists eyeing U.S. Patriot missiles (PTV | Story)
  • Army chiefs fear Iraq exit will be Britain's Saigon moment (TO | Story)


  • 82nd ABN NCOs in the NY Times (BF)
  • Love underground (FM)
  • Want to Help Iraqis? (TMAS)
  • Beauty in the Dirt (AP)

Subscribe to STAND-TO! to learn about the U.S. Army initiatives.


STAND-TO! is an information paper-based web platform that supports the U.S. Army’s strategic communication objectives.

The information papers -- written, approved and submitted by the Army agencies -- provide a broad, objective view of the Army’s current operations, doctrine and programs. The "Today’s Focus" topics highlight Army Staff initiatives and support Army wide strategic-level issues.

All published editions are sent to subscribers via email and archived daily in the STAND-TO! Archives.

STAND-TO! falls under the management of the Online and Social Media Division (OSMD) in the Office of the Chief of Public Affairs (OCPA).

Subscribe to STAND-TO! to learn about the U.S. Army initiatives.