United States Army North Defense Coordinating Officers

Wednesday October 17, 2007

Who are they? United States Army North has 10 Defense Coordinating Officers who serve as Department of Defense representatives on the ground during natural or manmade disasters to coordinate use of military resources when requested by federal and state authorities. These officers and a small Defense Coordinating Element are collocated with each of the FEMA regional headquarters and strive to become experts on state and federal response plans. They also interface with military installations within their regions that may be designated as Base Support Installations during a contingency.

What has the Army done? Army North has deployed Defense Coordinating Elements for various missions to support civil agencies for disaster response - most recently the I-35 bridge collapse in Minneapolis, Minn., and Hurricane Dean. The officers and elements undergo periodic validations to remain prepared. In addition, they participate with federal and state partners in consequence management conferences and exercises to strengthen relationships with federal and state partners and improve response plans.

What efforts does the Army plan to continue in the future? As part of its long-term strategy, Army North is working to mature a regionally oriented network of Defense Coordinating Units. The units would include Army Reserve emergency preparedness liaison officers who are experts on service component capabilities. Army North as the Army component of U.S. Northern Command will continue to play an important role in consequence management when requested by civilian agencies leading the response.

Why is this important to the Army? Formalizing the DCU concept will consolidate DOD's first responders to disasters into sustained and integrated units. In addition, the interagency experience gained by all DCE members is extremely valuable in the development of strategic leadership.


- 2007 Strategic Communication Guide - Read the 2007 Army Strategic Communication Guide for key messages and updates.
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"Right now, the Narwan (region) does not have any more Shi'a extremist footholds. They're struggling so bad, it's just incredible. They put a new guy in command and we take him out and ... [then] we're going after the next guy they put in command. Right now they're asking who wants to be command of the Shi'a extremists in Narwan and no one wants to take the job." -Col. Wayne W. Grigsby Jr., commander of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Oct. 16.


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